I have never found it growing wild. The best place to look for it outside of cultivation is near old homesteads like those in Oak Creek Canyon.
Energy & Tastes:
A delightful lemon-y taste.
The energetic view of sour varies by herbal tradition. Ayurveda considers this taste warming which is true for vinegar. However, many sour herbs in the Western tradition are definitely cooling. Lemon Balm is a classic mildly cooling sour.
It relaxing effect is beneficial for Vata.
Its cooling effect is beneficial for Pitta.
Its energetics are mild enough that it can be easily balanced when combined with other herbs so Kaphas can use it also.
Preferred Method of Preparation:
Its pleasant taste lends itself well to infusions and is commonly used this way. The one drawback is the dried leaves lose their aroma and flavor quickly – within a few months – even if it is dried and stored properly.
My favorite method is a fresh plant tincture.
Mild nervine sedative
Anti-viral – The research that supports this action comes from using the highly concentrated essential oil. Melissa produces very small quantities of essential oil so the final product is quite expensive. In practice, it is not commonly used for viral infections among community herbalists.
A mild nervine sedative and good for daytime use. It takes the edge off nervous stimulation rather than being sedating.
A useful nervine for the cardiovascular system. A good secondary herb in a heart formula.
A carminative but also a nervine carminative so it is often used for nervous indigestion.
Its nervine quality also extends to the mood and mind. Melissa has an uplifting quality to it that helps to brighten melancholy and calm an overactive mind.
A pleasant tasting diaphoretic which can be a welcome change from the many bitter herbs used for this purpose. Most people, even children who are agitated with a fever, will like the taste of this herb as hot tea.
Its cooling energy makes it a great addition to summer tea blends.
Use with Tulsi, St John’s Wort, Rose or Lavender for uplifting a heavy mood
Use with Motherwort, Linden, Rose or Hawthorn to support heart health during stressful times
Use with Catnip and Skullcap for a daytime nervine
Use with Peppermint and Elderflower in a hot infusion for fever
Can be used with many aromatic carminatives and a good addition to digestive bitter formulas
Use with Peppermint, Fennel and/or Rose for a summer tea blend
Safety Issues & Contraindications:
Lemon Balm is considered a very safe herb.