STRESS is the number one ailment of modern Western society.
But rather than turning to caffeine or alcohol, there are plenty of fantastic herbal remedies that have been around for centuries to choose from.
Many of the most effective stress busters can be found right here in Andalucia, including lemon balm (Melissa officinalis), also known as bee balm and referred to as the ‘elixir of life’ by Paracelsus, a 15th century physician.
Cultivated for over 2,000 years, lemon balm grows in scrubby, partially shaded areas across the region and is often a garden escapee that self-seeds with relish.
This particular herb can be used in several different ways.
As an infusion – place fresh or dried leaves in a cup, pour over boiling water, cover and leave for 10 minutes, strain and drink.
As a tincture – place fresh lemon balm leaves in a glass jar and cover with
vodka (I know it sounds wrong!), leave for two weeks out of the sunlight,shaking occasionally, then strain into a sterilised colour glass jar, label and date.
Taking 10-20 drops three times a day is great for treating tension headaches, depression and anxiety.
Tension headaches are one of the most common kinds of headache, caused by the tightening of neck and shoulder muscles.
Try soaking a cloth in a tea made by steeping four to five sprigs of fresh rosemary in a large mug of boiling water.
Strain the water, drink half and use the rest for your compress.
Place the compress on the neck or shoulder and the dilating effect of the rosemary should ease the tension.
A popular tea found in all Spanish supermarkets is tila (lime blossom) – the flowers are harvested in summer and crushed for use in relaxing teas, which can also help reduce blood pressure.
Always consult a medical practitioner if you have a serious condition or if symptoms persist Contact [email protected]