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Lemon balm, a perennial herb from the mint family, has been used for centuries in traditional medicine and is steadily gaining recognition in the research. As interest in natural remedies surges, more and more people are turning to lemon balm supplementation for its many health benefits. From soothing anxiety and sleep disorders to boosting cognitive function, lemon balm showcases an impressive therapeutic portfolio. In this article, we will delve into the science-backed advantages of lemon balm supplementation, helping you to understand its potential role in enhancing your overall health and well-being.
What Is Lemon Balm?
Lemon balm, scientifically known as Melissa officinalis, is a fragrant herb belonging to the mint family, Lamiaceae. It is native to Europe, North Africa, and West Asia, but it is now widely grown in gardens around the world. Lemon balm has green, oval-shaped leaves with a slightly wrinkled texture, and it produces small, white or pale yellow flowers during the summer months.
The name “lemon balm” comes from the lemony scent that the leaves give off when they are crushed or rubbed. This pleasant aroma makes lemon balm a popular ingredient in perfumes, soaps, and other cosmetic products.
Lemon balm is also valued for its many health benefits and culinary uses. The leaves can be used fresh or dried to make a soothing herbal tea that can help reduce stress, anxiety, and promote sleep. Lemon balm is also known for its antiviral properties, which can be helpful in treating cold sores and other viral infections.
In the kitchen, lemon balm leaves can be used to add a refreshing lemon flavor to a variety of dishes, such as salads, soups, and sauces. It can also be used to make flavored butters or as a garnish for desserts and beverages.
Overall, lemon balm is a versatile and aromatic herb with a variety of uses in both health and culinary applications.
What Are The Health Benefits of Lemon Balm?
- Reduces stress and anxiety: Lemon balm tea or supplements may help to lower stress and anxiety levels, promoting relaxation and a sense of calm. [PMC4245564]
- Improves sleep: Drinking lemon balm tea or taking supplements before bedtime may help to improve sleep quality and make it easier to fall asleep. [PMC6521387]
- Antiviral properties: Lemon balm has been found to be effective against certain viruses, like the herpes simplex virus, which causes cold sores. [PMC9841880]
- Supports digestion: Consuming lemon balm may help to soothe an upset stomach, reduce bloating, and alleviate symptoms of indigestion. [PMC6653806]
- Boosts cognitive function: Some studies suggest that lemon balm can improve memory and focus, making it potentially helpful for those with mild cognitive impairment or attention difficulties.
- Alzheimer’s Disease: Our results suggest that 500 mg per day Melissa officinalis may help prevent the worsening of Alzheimer’s-related neuropsychiatric symptoms. [PMC7596544]
- Eases headaches: The relaxing properties of Melissa officinalis (lemon balm) may help to relieve tension headaches and migraines by calming the nerves. [PMC5871149]
- Dysmenorrhea: A study found that taking capsules of the herb Melissa officinalis can help reduce the severity of menstrual cramps more effectively than a placebo, potentially due to the herb’s muscle-relaxing effects. [PMC5963658]
- Antioxidant benefits: Lemon balm contains compounds that help to protect the body from damage caused by harmful molecules called free radicals. [PMC8998931]
These are just a few of the potential health benefits of lemon balm. Here’s an image from one of the research papers above that gives a more technical insight into the effects of this herb.
The Different Forms of Lemon Balm
Here is a list of different forms of lemon balm along with the benefits and drawbacks of each:
- Fresh leaves:
- Benefits: Retain a strong, natural lemon scent and flavor; can be used in cooking or to make fresh tea; add a beautiful aroma to gardens.
- Drawbacks: Can be harder to find in stores; perishable, so they need to be used or preserved shortly after harvesting.
- Dried leaves:
- Benefits: Easy to store and have a longer shelf life; can be used to make tea or as a seasoning in cooking; widely available in health food stores and online.
- Drawbacks: May lose some of their fragrance and flavor over time; not as visually appealing as fresh leaves.
- Tea bags:
- Benefits: Convenient and easy to use; widely available in grocery stores; great for enjoying the health benefits of lemon balm.
- Drawbacks: May contain lower-quality leaves or be blended with other herbs, affecting the flavor and potency; less eco-friendly due to packaging.
- Essential oil:
- Benefits: Highly concentrated lemon balm fragrance; can be used for aromatherapy, in DIY cleaning products, or as a perfume; a little goes a long way.
- Drawbacks: Not suitable for consumption; can be expensive; must be diluted before use on the skin to avoid irritation.
- Extracts or tinctures:
- Benefits: Convenient way to add lemon balm benefits to recipes or drinks; can be used for medicinal purposes.
- Drawbacks: May contain alcohol or other additives; not as natural as fresh or dried leaves; can be expensive.
- Capsules or tablets:
- Benefits: Easy and convenient way to take lemon balm as a supplement for its health benefits; precise dosing.
- Drawbacks: May contain additives or fillers; not suitable for use in cooking or as a tea; not as enjoyable as drinking tea or using fresh leaves.
- Culinary uses:
- Benefits: Adds a fresh, lemony flavor to dishes; can be used in a variety of recipes, such as salads, soups, and sauces.
- Drawbacks: Fresh leaves can be hard to find; flavor might be too strong for some taste preferences.
Each form of lemon balm has its own unique advantages and disadvantages, so it is essential to consider your needs and preferences when deciding which form to use.
Is Lemon Balm Safe?
- Sedatives or medications that cause sleepiness:
- Severity: Moderate
- Examples: Benzodiazepines, barbiturates, some antihistamines
- Reason: Lemon balm may increase drowsiness when taken with these medications, causing excessive sleepiness or reduced alertness.
- Thyroid medications:
- Severity: Moderate
- Examples: Levothyroxine, methimazole
- Reason: Lemon balm may interfere with the function of thyroid medications, possibly making them less effective in regulating thyroid hormone levels.
- Glaucoma medications:
- Severity: Mild
- Examples: Timolol, dorzolamide
- Reason: Lemon balm may increase the amount of fluid in the eyes, which could potentially interfere with the effectiveness of glaucoma medications.
- HIV medications:
- Severity: Unknown
- Examples: Zidovudine, efavirenz
- Reason: There is limited information available on the potential interactions between lemon balm and HIV medications, so it is best to consult with a healthcare professional before combining them.
Supplement Interactions with Lemon Balm.
As with medications, it is important to consult a healthcare professional before combining any herbs or supplements. Here is a list of potential interactions between lemon balm and certain nutritional supplements:
- Valerian root:
- Interaction: Mild
- Reason: Both lemon balm and valerian root have calming properties that may help promote relaxation and sleep. Combining the two could lead to increased drowsiness, which might be beneficial for some people but could cause excessive sleepiness in others.
- Interaction: Mild
- Reason: Lemon balm may enhance the sleep-inducing effects of melatonin, potentially leading to increased drowsiness. This could be helpful for those with sleep issues but might cause excessive sleepiness in others.
- St. John’s wort:
- Interaction: Mild
- Reason: Both lemon balm and St. John’s wort are thought to have mood-boosting properties, but combining them could increase the risk of side effects like drowsiness or changes in mood.
- Other herbs with sedative effects:
- Interaction: Mild to moderate
- Examples: Passionflower, hops, chamomile
- Reason: Combining lemon balm with other herbs that have sedative properties could increase the risk of excessive drowsiness or reduced alertness.
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Lemon Balm by Herb Pharm 58339
We prepare our Lemon Balm Extract from the fresh (undried) leaf of Melissa officinalis plants which are certified organically grown on our own farm. Certified organic cane alcohol & vegetable glycerin. Non-GMO & Gluten-Free. Shake Well Before Using.
Add 1 full squeeze of the dropper bulb to 2 oz. of water or juice, 2 to five 5 per day. Best taken between meals.
Proprietary extract blend:
Lemon Balm leaf (Melissa officinalis)
Potency: Fresh herb /menstruum ratio: 1:1.5
Extraction rate 467 mg of fresh herb per 0.7 ml.
25 Medicinal and Herbal Seeds
It might take some time and patience, but why not grow your own herbs? It turns out that these are easily available online. “Non-GMO seeds sourced from the most sustainable U.S. based suppliers.”
To Sum It Up
Lemon balm is an herb that offers many health benefits, from calming the mind to supporting digestive health. Its diverse uses make it an essential component of a well-rounded wellness routine.
Our exploration into the world of lemon balm has highlighted how this versatile herb can contribute positively to various aspects of health. It’s not just a plant with a refreshing scent; it’s a powerful ally in your journey towards improved well-being.
In today’s digital era, the world of wellness is right at your fingertips. You can effortlessly buy lemon balm online, making it simple to incorporate this beneficial herb into your daily routine. Whether you prefer it as an essential oil, a tea, or a supplement, there’s a form of lemon balm that suits your needs.
This Article is Not a Substitute for Medical Advice
Dietary supplements are not designed to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The Supplement Sciences website seeks to provide comprehensive access to the most relevant supplement information along with convenient online ordering. We do not provide medical advice and cannot guarantee that every product suggested is completely without risk. Since each person is unique in their health history and medication use, it is important to discuss supplements with your personal physician. Specifically, pregnant women and individuals being treated for cancer or liver or kidney problems must consult their physician about every nutritional supplement they plan to take. People taking medications for the treatment of HIV or with a history of organ transplant must not take supplements without consulting with their physician.