Herbs For Hen Health: Lemon Balm

Photo of Kassandra Smith

Kassandra Smith

Senior Editor • Backyard Chicken Coops

Last Updated: 23 July 2014

A part of the mint family, Lemon Balm is a great addition to your herb garden. This easy to grow herb will grow from both seed or cuttings, thriving in sun and part-shade. Because it is shallow rooted it needs some water in hotter temperatures, but does not like constant wet soil. Like mint, Lemon Balm tends to spread if not tended to often enough, becoming a nuisance for nearby plants and herbs, but on a positive note it is very easy to grow!

Lemon balm growing in pestle pot

Good for your Hens

Sometimes the stress of being a chicken can be a little overwhelming for our little feathered friends, so it’s great to have some Lemon Balm on hand to help ease their mind. As well as relieving stress and promoting calm among our chickens, Lemon Balm is full of antibacterial properties, and also a great all natural rodent repellent. To make sure you can harness all of this goodness for your girls, lay some fresh Lemon Balm in their nesting boxes. This will help keep them calm throughout the stressful period that is laying, and your coop will smell lemon fresh!

Good for your Garden

Lemon Balm makes a suitable companion to many other vegetables in your garden, found to be especially beneficial to tomatoes, melons, broccoli, cauliflower and other cabbage family plants. It is popular in many gardens as it attracts bees, helping to pollinate the rest of the garden.

Good for You

Lemon Balm is considered a ‘calming herb’, and has been used for centuries to help reduce stress and anxiety, promote good sleep and relieve exhaustion, and improve symptoms of indigestion. The most popular way to take Lemon Balm is in the form of an infused tea by simply steeping 2-4 tablespoons of the crushed leaf in a cup of boiling water. If tea isn’t really your thing, you can add fresh Lemon Balm leaves in salads, or as a tasty garnish for fish and other dishes.

When working with herbs, there are a few simple rules to follow to keep your hens at the height of their health…

  • Some herbs will spoil very quickly, especially in Summer, so be sure to refresh them every three days to really harness their goodness.
  • Remember! Treats in moderation-don’t overdo it. If you are unsure how much to give to your girls, it is best to check with your local vet.
  • Like with all herbal treatments each works differently based on the individual, and the same goes for chickens too. So keep this in mind and be sure to check for any reactions or particular dislikes.

Sources and further reading