Herbs

Balm or balsam helps with depression

Balm of Gilead for depression

Balm is the member of the mint family. It was used by the Arabs sometimes BC. Then it was called balsam. A Muslim herbalist named Avicenna knew that balsam was good for anxiety and depression. He said this herb was wonderful when used to make the heart merry. As the Arabs ruled much of the known world, balm was taken into many different lands and was used by many peoples.


Later there was a leader of the Roman Empire whose name was Charlemagne or Charles the Great. He was quite poses, including a sedative and a tonic. As he traveled back and forth across the Empire he had a hard time finding his favorite herb, balm. Finally, he made a royal degree that all royal herb gardens would grow a goodly supply of balsam. That way, he or his loyal subjects would always have a good supply of this wonderful balsam herb.
Most of the herbalists for the past 2,000 years have used balm and written about the sweet-smelling mint plant that attracts bees and smells like lemon. This member of the mint family has square hairy stems, pointed leaves that grow in pairs and grow on opposite sides of the stalk. Most mints have a very pleasant fragrance. The mint family has split into many groups of plants in 2,000 years. The plant that grew in Arabia was known as Melissa which, means bee. Honey bees love this plant. It has little white flowers that grow out of the leaf axils. The plant is about two feet high. Melissa, or lemon balm as it has become known, grows mostly in Europe around the Mediterranean although some also grows in North America.
Another balm plant that has the same characteristics as lemon balm but looks a little different is a plant called bee balm. This mint or balm plant grows to a little over three feet high and has a bright red blossom on top of the center stalk.
Old history stories have it that bee balm is supposed to have had its origin in New York State around Manhattan Island. In the 1700s, the pilgrims were introduce to bee balm by the Otsego Indians who drank the tea for pleasure, and for medicinal purposes such as menstrual cramps, aid to digestion or to get rid of worms. They made it into a salve for skin problems and fungal infections. The name Otsego is often called Oswego. This is why the tea is sometimes called Oswego tea. Around the time of the Boston Tea Party, this was the tea the pilgrims used instead of imported English tea or black tea.


Beautiful flowers can also be good medicine. Whenever you see really old pictures of family homes, you most always see a beautiful flower garden around them. Now I’m sure these folks like pretty flowers as well as anyone. However, many of these beautiful flowers were used for purposes other than beauty and good looks. If you live anytime over a hundred year ago and you had a headache, you didn’t just run down to the drug store and get a bottle of aspirin tablets. Instead, you would pick a flower or an herb or two and brew yourself some tea to get rid of your headache or for nervousness or for whatever.


Balm has many uses. It is said to have some antibiotic properties so it is used for coughs and sore throats. It is also used to soothe an upset stomach or for nausea or morning sickness. If taken after a meal, it will relieve gas on the stomach or flatulence. It is used to help menstrual cramps, reduce a fever, act as a sedative, relieve insomnia, is a diuretic tea for the kidneys, and it will help get rid of parasites and worms. A study showed that balm inhibits the division of tumor cells.
Besides all this, balm is a pleasant summer drink. John Hussy drank balm tea each day and lived to be 116 years old.
 

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