Lemon balm is a popular herb with a long history of use in traditional medicine. It’s derived from the mint family, and it has a mild lemony flavor and aroma. Today, lemon balm is widely used to treat a variety of health conditions, including anxiety, insomnia, indigestion, and more. Let’s take a closer look at why lemon balm is such an effective medicinal herb.
1. Reduces Anxiety And Stress
Lemon balm contains compounds that can reduce stress hormones like cortisol in the body. In one study (where participants were exposed to laboratory induced stress), participants who took 600 mg of lemon balm extract daily for 15 days reported less anxiety and improved moods compared to those in the placebo group.
2. Improves Sleep Quality
Studies have found that taking lemon balm extract before bed can improve sleep quality by reducing restlessness and increasing total sleep time.
3. Treats Digestive Issues
People with digestive issues may find relief from taking lemon balm supplements, eating lemon balm containing foods or drinking lemon balm tea. Studies suggest that it can help reduce symptoms associated with IBS such as stomachache, gas, bloating, and nausea.
4. Reduces Inflammation
Lemon balm has natural anti-inflammatory properties that make it an effective remedy for treating inflammation-related conditions like arthritis and eczema. It has also been found to reduce inflammation in the brain which can help protect against neurological diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease.
5. Boosts Immunity
The antioxidants present in lemon balm help boost immunity by protecting cells from damage caused by free radicals while also fighting off viruses and bacteria that cause infection or disease.
It is also used in lemon balm cream to treat cold sores (herpes simplex virus).
6. Relieves Pain
The anti-inflammatory properties of lemon balm make it an effective pain reliever for conditions like headaches and muscle aches when used topically or taken orally as a supplement or tea drinker before bedtime helps calm your mind so you can get the restful sleep you need to stay healthy during cold season!
7. May Help Lower Blood Pressure
Studies have shown that taking lemon balm extract on a regular basis may help lower high blood pressure levels by relaxing blood vessels to improve circulation throughout the body.
8. Prevents Hair Loss
Applying topical oil made from lemon balm leaves onto your scalp could be beneficial for preventing hair loss due to its antioxidant content which helps nourish hair follicles to keep them healthy.
9. Improves Cognitive Function
Taking regular doses of lemon balm has been linked to improved cognitive function such as better memory recall, focus, concentration, problem solving skills, alertness, creativity, decision making skills etc.
Reference the study here: “Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis L.): an evidence-based systematic review by the Natural Standard Research Collaboration.” Journal of Herbal Pharmacotherapy, February 2005.
Lemon Balm FAQs
What is lemon balm?
Lemon balm is a member of the mint family. The leaves are used to make medicine. Lemon balm is used for anxiety, upset stomach, sleeping problems (insomnia), and herpes simplex virus infections of the skin or mouth. It is also used for fever, AIDS-related symptoms, and other conditions. Some people use lemon balm to flavor food.
How do I grow lemon balm?
Lemon balm can be propagated by dividing the plants in spring or autumn, taking care to replant the divisions with plenty of soil around the roots. Seeds can also be sown directly in situ in late spring, though they may take a while to germinate.
How do I store lemon balm?
Lemon balm can be stored fresh by cutting off the stems and placing them in a jar of water in the fridge. They will stay fresh for about a week that way.
Lemon balm can also be frozen. Just cut it off the stems, chop it up into small pieces, and freeze it in a freezer-safe bag or container. It will stay good for up to 6 months that way.
How do I dry lemon balm?
You can dry lemon balm by air drying it, or you can use a food dehydrator.
If you're going to air dry it, cut the lemon balm off the stems and spread it out in a thin layer on a screen or rack. Make sure the leaves are in full contact with the surface so that they can dry evenly. If you're using a food dehydrator, just follow the manufacturer's instructions.
How is lemon balm oil made?
Lemon balm oil are essential oils made by steam distillation of the leaves of Melissa officinalis. The leaves are harvested when the plant is in flower, and the essential oil is extracted by passing steam through the plant material. The oil that is produced is a clear, pale yellow liquid with a characteristic lemon scent.
Lemon balm essential oil has a calming effect on the mind and body, and is useful for relieving stress and anxiety. It also has antibacterial and antiviral properties, making it a useful oil for treating colds and flu.
All in all, lemon balm combined with a healthy lifestyle is an incredibly powerful herbal remedy with many health benefits including reduced anxiety, improved sleep quality, relief from digestive issues, reduced inflammation, boosted immunity, relieved pain, lowered blood pressure levels and prevented hair loss. Lemon balm may also improve cognitive function.
If you're looking for a natural way to improve your health, consider adding some fresh or dried leaves of this herb into your diet or even just drinking some delicious (and healthful) lemon balm drink!