Lemon Balm Oil vs Lemon Balm Tincture

After watching, and hearing from clients about the Dr. Oz segment on “Middle Age Cures”, I feel I have to write more on the subject. Dr. Oz is correct in only one way, lemon balm is used for anxiety or stress, it would be taken orally, but only as a tea or a tincture. A tincture is what they were actually giving the woman on the show. I know they showed the bottle marked “Lemon Balm Oil”, but this was totally, and irresponsibly wrong.

Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) is used by herbalists as a herbal nervine. A nervine is an herb that works on helping the nervous system combat stress and nervous exhaustion. Lemon balm makes a wonderful nerve tonic. Lemon balm is calming, and soothes the nerves. It is considered a sedative herb. One, however, does not take it in oil form. There are many herbal nervines that can be used.

Lemon balm makes a slightly lemony tea flavor tea. You many drink 3-5 cups a day to combat anxiety. Any more than that would be overdoing it. More does not equal better or faster results.
As a tincture, lemon balm is concentrated into alcohol. The herb soaks in vodka, brandy, or grain alcohol for 4-6 weeks to absorb the medicinal value of the herb. It is then strained and bottled into a dark glass jar. A tincture has a shelf life of about 5 years.
On the Dr. Oz segment, he put too many droppers into her glass. The dosage for lemon balm tincture (and most other tinctures) would be 1-2 droppers 3-4 times a day. It is normally suggested by an herbalist to put into warm water, or a tea. This helps the alcohol to evaporate. Lemon balm, can also be taken as a glycerite, if you are sensitve to alcohol. A glycerite is made using vegetable glycerin, or sometimes honey. The dosage would be the same. While lemon balm can be mixed with other herbs, it should be used alone at first to see the results. If it is to be mixed, it should be mixed by someone with herbal knowledge. Mixing too many sedative herbs can harm you.

Lemon balm oil is meant to treat skin inflammations such as bites, scratches, and minor wounds. It is also widely used for herpes, herpes cold sores and shingles. Lemon balm oil contains eugenol, which kills bacteria and has been shown to calm muscles and numb tissues. It also contains tannins that contribute to its antiviral effects, as well as terpenes that add to its soothing effects on the skin. It is made using a carrier oil such as sweet almond or apricot. It steeps in the oil for 8 weeks. It is then strained. It is also made into a ointment and salve for use on the skin. It is never to be taken orally.

Please remember, herbs are potent medicine, and must be used with respect. More, does not equal better results. You can overdose on herbs the same way you can with prescription drugs. It is best to find a clinical herbalist, or other health care professional with extensive knowledge in herbs before taking any herbal regimen.
Lemon balm, and other sedative herbs should not be taken if you are taking prescription sedatives. The two combined will make you very ill.
People who have thyroid issues and are on medication, should not take lemon balm. It interacts with the absorbtion of the mediciation.

These are two very important factors that should have been mentioned on the show!

Is Dr. Oz from Oz?

Lemon Balm Oil orders have gone up this week. We sell quite a bit of lemon balm, but normally not this much in one week. I know why now. Dr. Oz had a segment on television called Dr Oz Middle Age Cures. During the segment, he mentions using lemon balm oil to reduce stress. What they were actually using on the show was lemon balm tincture, not lemon balm oil.
Lemon Balm Oil is used topically for skin conditions. Lemon balm tincture is used for stress, but you can’t start putting droppers full of it into your mouth willy nilly like they did on the show nor squirt dropper fulls into your glass of water. What are these people thinking?
Herbs are potent medicine not toys. Yes, lemon balm is used for stress and anxiety. Lemon balm is a sedative herb. All you need is lemon balm herb and a cup of hot water to drink it as a medicinal tea. You don't have to use it as a tincture.
You don’t want to mix it with other sedative herbs like valerian as Terri Trespico stated. Valerian is nature’s Valium. It isn’t necessary to mix Valerian with other sedative herbs. When you start mixing herbs, you have to know what you are doing. Too many sedative herbs can harm you. Not mentioned on the show are side effects nor interaction with other drugs. Remember that herbal medicine is medicine. Just like prescription drugs, you shouldn’t mix them without consulting someone who understands interactions.
For example, if you are taking medication for thyroid issues, you shouldn’t even touch lemon balm much less injest it. Know what you are doing before taking any medicine including herbs.
You can read more about lemon balm herb here: Lemon Balm Herbal Information.
Who is this Terri Trespicio, and why is she giving out that kind of advice? According to her bio, she does not have a background in herbal medicine. She has a degree in fine arts and creative writing and works for Martha Stewart. There is no mention of any training to discuss herbalism or treatments using herbs.
Our concern is that people set themselves up as experts, who don't have the proper training to do so. They throw out advice with no mention that individuals should do their homework before taking herbs as medicine. It is unprofessional to have such a light hearted approach to herbal medicine. It’s irresponsible to play around with herbs in the manner they did on this show.

Herbs For Natural Skin Care

Chamomile, Calendula, and Comfrey are wonderful herbs to help heal skin.

We have combined them in a wonderful herbal skin healing salve. This blend combines the best skin healing herbal properties to help heal minor burns, cuts, scrapes, bug bites, rashes, boils, and other most skin inflammations.

The blend of organic herbs are steeped in sesame and apricot oil for eight weeks to absorb the medicinal herbal healing properties. After the oil is strained, we add organic beeswax, shea butter, cocoa butter, aloe, and Vitamin E.

3 C's Herbal Healing Salve is the perfect item to have in your natural first aid kit for the whole family.

Herbs and Why We Use Them:

Calendula- (Calendula officinalis) is a natural anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and protects skin cells from free radical damage.

Chamomile- (Chamaemelum nobile) is a natural healing treatment that helps rejuvenate the skin. Very gentle for all skin types. Reduces swelling in skin tissues.

Comfrey (Symphytum officinale)-Comfrey contains allantoin. Allantoin promotes cell proliferation and is particularly valuable for quick wound healing.Echinacea, lavender and chickweed herbs are also used for their healing qualities.

Lavender and Tea Tree essential oil is added for their healing properties as well as a natural preservative.

Be sure to wash and clean wound thoroughly before apply 3 C's Herbal Healing Salve.

Chamomile is from the daisy family. Those who are allergic to daisies should not use this salve

Herbal Creams

Herbal creams are not all created equal. While surfing on the net, you will often come across sites that are selling herbal creams that frankly aren't herbal creams at all. They are just softened ointments. Just because an ointment or a salve is "creamy", does not make it a cream. Technically, these would just be creamy salves.

To be a true herbal cream, there has to be water adde in the mix. No water=no cream. Herbal creams are typically made using infused herbal oils. Beeswax, cocoa butter, and other emulsifying solids are added. Many times aloe is added for it's healing benefits.

Once they are melted as one mix, either water, herbal extracts, or herbal hydrosols or all three are added to the concoction. It is a tricky science to get the oils and water to mix into a cream. It takes time, and patience.

Other additives to a natural cream would be 100% pure essential oils. Essential oils are the life essence of the plant. It is was gives the plant it's scent. Most essential oils are steam distilled.

The difference between a cream and an ointment, is not only in how it is made, but how it will be used. What are you using this for?

A cream is allows your skin to heal while still "breathing. Herbal creams helps the skin retain it's own moisture. It also adds moisture and heals skin. One would use an herbal cream for minor burns, acne, blemishes, or rashes that need to heal, but also need some air.

An ointment or salve is made to act as a barrier to keep moisture in, and toxins out. As in diaper rash ointments. Herbal ointments are made specifically for outside moisture protection. Keeps the moisture out, while skin heals.

When shopping for herbal creams, make sure water, or herbal infusions are part of the ingredients. Otherwise, you are truly not getting an herbal cream.

Herbs to Lower Cholesterol

There are several different herbs and supplements you can add to your diet, and most are easy to incorporate into the diet each day.

Garlic. You either love it or hate it. Using garlic daily is great for your overall health. Garlic has been shown to lower LDL levels while helping to increase good HDL levels. In some cases studies done, garlic will reduce cholesterol and triglycerides by up to 15%. Garlic prevents oxidation of LDL and limits the build of arterial plaque. Garlic is known for lowering blood pressure and reducing cholesterol ( it also helps keep mosquitoes at bay).

Fenugreek inhibits cholesterol absorption and decreases its manufacture by the liver. Fenugreek also helps to lower elevated triglycerides and control blood sugar levels in pre-diabetes stage. It also may help reduce cholesterol. We’ve all heard about the benefits of green teas antioxidant power, but green tea is also known to reduce cholesterol and increase the excretion of lipids. Green tea also inhibits the enzyme that promotes blood vessel constriction. Its antioxidant effects help prevent aerial damage & regulate blood sugar levels.

One of my favorites is Rooibos Tea (Aspalathus linearis). It is a medicinal herb indigenous to South Africa and is widely used for its restorative and anti-oxidant properties. Rooibos can help to control blood sugar levels, lower blood pressure and enhance immune functioning. It is an extremely nutritious herb, containing Vitamin C, Alphahydroxy Acid, potassium, copper, magnesium, calcium, iron, zinc, manganese and fluoride.

Another one of my favorite teas is olive leaf (Oleae europaea). Olive leaf was considered a panacea in ancient times, and is being rediscovered today for all its nourishing properties. In particular, olive leaf is showing itself to be very effective in supporting our body's natural defense systems (immune & circulatory) and promoting healthy cholesterol levels. Olive leaf lowers blood pressure in persons afflicted with hypertension (primarily due to its Oleoeuropein content). Oleoeuropein increases blood circulation to the heart. Olive Leaf inhibits the oxidation of LDL Cholesterol. Physicians have noted that olive leaf (extract) helps to suppress the replication of the HIV virus implicated in AIDS. Due to the oleoeuropein content olive leaf can actually help in alleviating Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, and sinusitis. Some physicians have reported total cure from sinusitis symptoms after olive leaf therapy. Adding olive oil to your diet can help as well. Olive oil is one of the mono-saturated fats and studies have shown that it lowers blood cholesterol. Extra virgin olive oil is suggested to be better than other varieties.

If you like spicy foods, adding turmeric or curcumin can be beneficial. Curcumin is an extract from the spice turmeric. Turmeric is a very strong antioxidant that provides antiviral, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, and cholesterol-lowering effects. In addition, it was been widely used for patients suffering from Hepatitis C. Turmeric has been shown to have multiple health benefits. It works well on chicken, fish, and even sprinkled on salads. I must say it is an acquired taste.

Herbs For Health

Herbs have been used for thousands of years for many purposes. Medicinally, spiritually, aromatically (aromatherapy), beauty, herbs and plants have deep roots in history.
From the earliest time, medicinal plants have been crucial to sustaining the health and well being of mankind. Linseed (linum usitatissimum), a.k.a. Flaxseed, provided food, fuel, balm for the skin and fiber to make fabric. It was also used to treat bronchitis, congestion, boils, and a number of digestive problems.
It is generally known that our ancestors had a wide range of medicinal herbs at their disposal, and they likewise possessed a great understanding of the plants healing powers. Tried and true local plants were picked for a wide range of common health problems.
In Europe, a 1st century A.D. physician, Dioscorides, wrote the first European herbal, De Materia Medica. The text, listing about 600 herbs was to have an astonishing influence on Western medicine. It was the first to have included pictures of the herbs.
Today, 25% or more of all medicine comes from a plant, or herb that has been chemically adulterated. They rely on plants, rather than the laboratory.
Modern medicine, or biomedicine as it is sometimes called, does sustain life where other types of treatment have little to offer. Plastic or laser surgery, or life support machinery would be an example.
Yet, despite the dramatic advances of conventional medicine, herbal medicine has much to offer. We tend to forget that herbs have been healing and relied upon for years to treat a wide range of illnesses. From minor cuts, scrapes, colds, flu, to life threatening diseases such as tuberculosis, herbs have had a place in treating successfully.
Herbal remedies are once again coming into prominence. Concern over side effects is a common reason for people shifting away from conventional to herbal medicine. They are looking for a natural, gentle form of treatment

Herbal Medicine

Alternative healing is becoming more popular every year as people look towards more natural approaches to health and living.

However, herbs were used many thousands of years before medicine, as we know it today came into existence. The properties they were used for 5000 years ago are as valid today as they were then.

Herbal medicine is of course natural to your body, and has far fewer side effects. They also have far fewer interactions with other herbs, medications and supplements then most doctors and others would have you believe.
When used properly, herbal medicine can cure and treat everything from anxiety to whooping cough.

It was once said that God gives us in nature exactly what we need to heal ourselves. It is up to us to use this knowledge wisely.

Herbs may be natural, but that does not mean they are not powerful medicine. They should be treated with care and respect the way you would any drug. Furthermore with herbs, more does not necessarily mean better. Herbs can take longer to act on an illness, but that does not mean they are not working. By taking more, it can endanger your health instead of repairing it.


I was doing research the other day for a new product that is in developement, and came across Boswellia. I had read about it in school while studying herbs, but never really paid much attention to it. I wish I had. I thought I would share what I have found.
Boswellia (Boswellia serrata) is an ancient herb and has been used for thousands of years to treat inflammation. It is also known as Indian Frankincense.
Boswellia is native to Africa, China, and the Middle East.
The herbal healing extract is derived from the sappy resin of the Boswellia tree.
During the 1970’s, scientists in discovered that Boswellia produces similar therapeutic effects to those of the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) family. NSAID’s are ibuprofen (Advil) and aspirin.
NSAIDs work by inhibiting the cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) enzymes. Unfortunately, medications that inhibit COX-2 often inhibit COX-1, which is needed to maintain a healthy stomach lining and common side effects include gastrointestinal bleeding.
Boswellia totally differs from the NSAIDs in the way it works. Boswellia works by blocking the pro-inflammatory enzyme 5-lipoxygenase other wise known as 5-LOX. 5-LOX, is the first enzyme released in the biological process leading to the chemical action of the immune system cytokines known as leukotrienes. Leukotrienes are harmful inflammatory substances thought to directly influence the disease process in a number of different disorders, including rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, and asthma. By blocking these pro-inflammatory chemicals Boswellia reduces symptoms of inflammation and helps taper the autoimmune mechanism. Boswellia has been shown to reduce inflammation in osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, asthma and cancer.
The active ingredients of boswellia is the boswellic acids. They decrease the activity of another pro-inflammatory enzyme known as human leukocyte elastase (HLE). HLE and leukotriene levels are increased in many inflammatory diseases and allergic reactions.
Researchers have found that boswellia helps prevent the deterioration of cartilage and joint tissue. Studies in both humans and dogs show after as little as two weeks of boswellia therapy include reduced pain, stiffness, and lameness.
In patients with rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn's disease, boswellia can help reduce the immune cells that promote inflammation while increasing the number of immune cells that inhibit inflammation (anti-inflammatory cells). In studies of patients with inflammatory bowel disease, ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease boswellia reduced gastrointestinal inflammation and tissue damage.

Essential Oil Safety...Chapter Six

The following is a list of Essential Oils that Cloverleaf Farm does not use.

Oil and Reason:
Rue -Risk of toxicity
Tansy -Risk of Toxicity
Pennyroyal -Toxicity Risk
Sassafras -Toxicity Risk
Clove (other than Bud) -Toxicity Risk
Sweet Birch -Toxicity Risk/Extreme Environmental Hazard

Some of the above oils are very toxic. If applied to the skin, they can be absorbed into the human system to levels sufficient for poisoning or death depending on how much is used.
Cloverleaf Farm wishes to bring your attention to this information so you may carefully consider your product choices.

Please understand that the warnings in this article are not complete. These warnings are provided for general information only. We write this so you can expand your own personal knowledge of the products you are currently using, or are considering for personal use. Please choose your all natural products carefully, as they are not all created equal. Not all natural products are properly researched.

Essential Oil Safety...Chapter Five

When it comes to animals, special care must be taken when using essential oils. Their ol’ factory system is so much more established than ours, you need not use as much as you would with humans. Of special note, there are some essential oils that should never, ever be used on dogs or cats. Pennyroyal, Tansy, and Rue are extremely toxic to dogs. One drop can kill you dog!

Essential Oil Safety...Chapter Four

There are a number of oils that should not be used, or used very carefully in applications.
Phototoxic essential oils accelerate sun-damage on exposed skin. Care should be taken to use them carefully. A few that are phototoxic include Bergamot (except for Bergapten-Free types), Cumin, Ginger, Lemon, Lime, Lovage, Mandarine, Orange and Verbena.

Many essential oils can cause dermatitis or other skin irritations on some individuals. These include Allspice, Aniseed, Basil, Black Pepper, Cajeput, Caraway, Cedarwood (ALL types), Cinnamon, Clove, Eucalyptus, Garlic, Ginger, Lemon, Parsley, Peppermint, Pine Needle, Thyme, and Turmeric. These oils should be diluted to three times the normal dilution. If you are sensitive to these, you should not use products that contain them. Again, always do a patch test.

Certain essential oils can cause sensitization. Sensitization is when the skin becomes easily irritated. If your skin has a tendency to become irritated easily, you should avoid such as basil, bay laurel, benzion, cedarwood, chamomile (both kinds), or citronella. Garlic, geranium, ginger, jasmine, lemon, lemongrass, peppermint, orange, tea tree, thyme, vanilla, and Ylang-Ylang are among others that can sensitize skin.

Essential Oil Safety...Chapter Three

Essential oils are a natural substance taken from plants. An essential oil is the concentrated liquid containing the volatile aroma compounds of the plant. Most oils are steam distilled from the flower or leaf. Essential oils are used in aromatherapy and natural skin care products.

Before using any essential oils, or a product that contains them make sure to do a patch test on a small area of skin before you use the product extensively. No matter what you read, NEVER ingest and essential oils. Be sure to never apply to eyes or other sensitive areas.

Neat Application of an essential oils means to use it undiluted on the skin. There are just a couple of oils in which this is safe to do. Lavender, is the one most commonly used neat. Under certain conditions, you can use Tea Tree, Sandalwood, and Ylang Ylang.

As with any natural substance, just because it is natural does not mean it is always safe to use. There are safety precautions when using essential oils. There are medical conditions, and health related instances where essential oils should not be used.

Those who have epilepsy should not use Camphor, Fennel (Sweet), Hyssop, Sage or Rosemary for any reason. Be sure to check any products you may be using for these ingredients.

Pregnant women should avoid most oils, but they especially should avoid using the following essential oils:: Ajowan, Angelica, Anise (Star), Aniseed, Basil, Bay Laurel, Calamintha (Catmint), Cedarwood (ALL types), Celery Seed, Cinnamon, Citronella, Clary Sage, Clove, Cumin, Cypress, Fennel (Sweet), Hyssop, Jasmine, Juniper, Labdanum, Lovage, Marjoram, Myrrh, Nutmeg, Origanum, Parsley, Peppermint, Rose, Rosemary, Sage, Snakeroot, Spanish Sage, Tarragon and Thyme. Many of them are considered emmenagogues. Emmenagogues are uterine stimulants and can cause a miscarriage.

Those who have high blood pressure, or have a tendency towards high blood pressure should avoid essential oils of rosemary, sage, thyme and hyssop. People who are diabeteic should stay clear of angelica.

Essential Oil Safety...Chapter Two

When using essential oils on babies, or young children, special care must be taken.
Essential oils are natural, but not all are meant for use on children.
A general rule for using essential oils with babies, toddlers and children are to avoid all Potentially Toxic and Irritant Oils completely. This will ensure your childs safety.

The following is a general guideline for essential oil use for children's ages.
Age birth to 6 months- Use NO essential oils on babies skin.
Age 6 months to 1 year: Use only Lavender. Use at three times the normal dilution rate as for an adult.
Age 1 to 6 years: Using twice the normal dilution rate, use only non-toxic, non-irritant oils.
Age 6 to 12 years: Use as for adults, in twice the normal dilution rate.
Age 12 years and over: Use as for adults.

The following essential oils are considered Toxic or Hazardous and should not be used by children:
Ajowan, Anise (Star), Aniseed, Arnica, Basil, Bay Laurel, Bay (West Indian), Bitter Almond, Boldo, Broom, Bucho, Calamintha (Cat Mint), Calamus, Camphor (ALL types), Cascarrilla Bark, Cassia, Cedarwood (ALL types), Chervil, Cinnamon (ALL parts), Clove (ALL parts), Costus, Coriander, Deertongue, Elecampane, Eucalyptus, Fennel (Bitter and Sweet), Hops, Horseradish, Hyssop, Jaborandi, Juniper, Melilotus, Mugwort, Mustard, Nutmeg, Parsley, Pennyroyal, Pepper (Black), Pine (Dwarf), Rue, Sage (Common and Spanish), Santolina, Sassafras, Savine, Savory, Tagetes, Tansy, Tarragon, Thuja, Thyme, Tonka, Tuberose, Tumeric, Turpentine, Valerian, Wintergreen, Wormseed and Wormwood.

Essential Oil Safety...Chapter One

We have been researching natural bug repellents. We want to formulate a natural bug repellent that is truly safe for all ages...including babies. We had a recipe from our old Bugs B Gone Cream, but it got lost. This is what happens when you move.

Many companies out there are using a combination of herbs and essential oils. While herbs and essential oils can be used for natural bug repellent, some should not be used. Many are unsafe for use by children and babies. Some they are using should not be used at all.

As a clinical herbalist and aromatherapist, it is frustrating when we find a site with a product that is "safe for kids", when it is using a toxic essential oil, or essential oils that should not be used on children. Some essential oils should never be used on kids or adults. These companies should know this. Obviously, they don't.

Here is one company's claim:

"It is GREAT for your skin!! Our formula uses essential oils of lavender, catnip, pennyroyal, eucalyptus, lemongrass, cedar wood, and a little patchouli.

Keeps the biting bugs at bay!!


Mind you, this is not the only company out there doing this. It looks like they are just copying the recipes and not doing the research on the essential ois going into it.

Here is what you should know:

■Pennyroyal oil should not be used in aromatherapy and even in small doses produces acute liver and lung damage. If you are smathering it on to keep the bugs away, you are applying it to your bodies largest organ, your skin.
■Citronella is another essential oil that is most likely to be found in natural bug repellents. This does work well, but is not intended for children under 3.
■Peppermint is another ingredient found in natural bug dope. Peppermint should not be used, (or ingested) by children under 5.
■It is advised that Eucalyptus esssential oil not be used by young children, so why would it be included in an all natural bug repellent that is "safe for kids".

Back Yard Herbs...Part One

Spring is just around the corner, and before you know it, the grass will be green, and the weeds will be upon us. I thought I would take this time to write a series of articles on the "weeds" that are actually beneficial in herbal medicine.
Pineapple Weed (Matricaria discoidea) is a wild relative of Chamomile (Matricaria recutita). It grows in compacted, dry, dusty soil, such as gravel parking-lots, sidewalk cracks, footpaths, trampled sandy beaches and other wastelands. It is also called Disc Mayweed. The weed is an annual herb, mostly found from June into November depending on where you live. It reaches up to about 3-5 inches, but in the right conditions, can reach 10-12 inches in height. The foliage is rather ferny looking.

Pineapple weed has the same herbal medicinal value as it’s herbal cousin. A tea made with the leaves, flowers, and stems, is relaxing for tension and stress. It is also useful for stomach upset.

Just like Chamomile, Pineapple weed can be drank for insomnia. and enjoy as a beverage, or to relieve nervous tension, stomach upset, and insomnia caused by stress.

When crushed,pineapple weed gives off the fresh scent of pineapple. You will notice that, unlike it’s cousin, it does not have white flower petals. The flower is simply the small green nodule at the end of the stem.

You may use pineapple weed fresh, or dry it for later use. All aerial parts are used to make the tea. Be sure to clean and dry thoroughly. To make a tea from the herb, take a large handful of pineapple weed, and put it into a pan. Cover it with about 1 cup water. Cover pot. Simmer, for 20 minutes on very low heat. Strain, and drink hot or chill and have as an ice tea. Add just a pinch of spearmint, for a minty, pineapple flavor.

Luckily, we have it growing here in our walkways, and use it all summer as a wonderfully tasty cold ice tea. We also dry some for year round use.

Cosmetically, pineapple weed can be used in treating skin sores. Make an infusion and gently apply with cotton ball. Pineapple weed can also makes a very effective bug repellent. Crush the entire plant, and rub onto you skin.

So, the next time you are out walking in your yard, look down and see if you can find Chamomile’s wild cousin, and take some inside and have a wonderful tasting tea.

Be sure to pick in an area that is not sprayed with toxic chemicals or pesticides.