Lemon Balm: Uses, Benefits, and More (2023)

Lemon Balm: Uses, Benefits, and More (1)Share on Pinterest

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What is it?

Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) is a lemon-scented herb that comes from the same family as mint. The herb is native to Europe, North Africa, and West Asia, but it’s grown around the world.

Lemon balm has traditionally been used to improve mood and cognitive function, but the potential benefits don’t stop there. Read on to learn more about this plant’s possible healing powers.

Lemon balm is said to soothe symptoms of stress, help you to relax, and boost your mood.

A 2004 study found that taking lemon balm eased the negative mood effects of laboratory-induced psychological stress. Participants who took lemon balm self-reported an increased sense of calmness and reduced feelings of alertness.

Although this was a double-blind, placebo-controlled study, it had a small sample size of 18 people. Further research is needed to elaborate on these findings.

How to use: Take 300 milligrams (mg) of lemon balm in capsule form twice a day. You can take a single dose of 600 mg in acute episodes of stress.

2. It can help reduce anxiety

(Video) 10 Benefits Of Lemon Balm

Lemon balm may also be used to help reduce symptoms of anxiety, such as nervousness and excitability.

Research published in 2014 examined the mood and cognitive effects of foods containing lemon balm. The supplement was mixed into a beverage and into yogurt along with either natural or artificial sweeteners. Participants in both groups reported positive effects on various aspects of mood, including reduced levels of anxiety.

Although this is promising, more research is needed to truly determine its efficacy.

How to use: Take 300 to 600 mg of lemon balm three times per day. You can take a higher dose in acute episodes of anxiety.

The same 2014 study also looked at the effects of lemon balm in improving cognitive function.

Participants were asked to do cognitive tasks involving memory, mathematics, and concentration. The results of these computerized tasks suggest that participants who ingested lemon balm performed better than those who didn’t.

Although these participants did experience an increase in levels of alertness and performance, it’s still possible for fatigue to set in over time. Combining lemon balm with food also affects its absorption rate, which may have had an impact on its efficacy. Additional research is needed.

How to use: Take 300 to 600 mg of lemon balm three times a day.

Combining lemon balm with valerian may help relieve restlessness and sleep disorders such as insomnia.

Researchers in one 2006 study found that children who took a combined dose experienced a 70 to 80 percent improvement in symptoms. Both the researchers and parents regarded lemon balm as being a good or very good treatment. Still, more research is needed to validate these findings.

How to use: Drink a cup of tea brewed with valerian and lemon balm before bed. You can find loose-leaf or bagged options at your local grocery store or online.

(Video) Lemon Balm Benefits and Side Effects + Relaxing Lemon Balm Tea Recipes

You can even apply lemon balm topically at the first sign of a cold sore.

Participants in a 1999 study applied either a lemon balm or placebo cream on the affected area four times per day for five days. The researchers found that the participants who used the lemon balm cream experienced fewer symptoms and healed faster than those who didn’t.

The researchers also suggested that using lemon balm cream may help prolong the intervals between cold sore outbreaks. Further studies are needed to expand on these findings.

How to use: Apply a lemon balm cream to the affected area several times per day. Be sure to patch test the cream on the inside of your forearm before applying it to the cold sore. If you don’t experience any irritation or inflammation within 24 hours, it should be safe to use.

If you experience frequent abdominal pain and discomfort, lemon balm may have a positive effect on your digestion.

A small study from 2010 assessed the effects of a cold dessert containing lemon balm on functional dyspepsia. Participants ate a sorbet, with or without the herb, after a meal. Although both types of desserts lessened the symptoms and their intensity, the dessert containing lemon balm intensified this effect. More research is needed.

How to use: Add 1 teaspoon (tsp) of lemon balm powder to a bowl of ice cream or smoothie and enjoy.

Given its potential impact on your digestive system, lemon balm may also help relieve feelings of nausea.

(Video) Lemon Balm Benefits and Uses (Mellissa Officinalis)

A 2005 review assessing the results of several studies on lemon balm found the herb to be useful in treating gastrointestinal symptoms such as this. Although this is a promising development, it’s important to recognize the study limitations.

Many of the studies looked at lemon balm used in conjunction with other herbs. Further research is needed to determine the efficacy of lemon balm when used alone.

How to use: Drink a cup of lemon balm tea at the first sign of nausea. You can find loose-leaf or bagged options at your local grocery store or online.

There’s also research to suggest that lemon balm can be used to relieve menstrual cramps and premenstrual syndrome (PMS).

A 2015 study researched the effect of lemon balm in reducing the intensity of cramps in 100 high school girls. The girls took either a lemon balm essence or a placebo for three consecutive menstrual cycles. The intensity of PMS symptoms was analyzed before and one, two, and three months after the trial. The group who took the lemon balm reported a significant reduction in symptoms. Further research is needed to confirm these findings.

How to use: Take 1200 mg of lemon balm daily for optimal results. This will allow the herb to get into your system long before it’s time for PMS symptoms to appear. Continued use is thought to reduce your symptoms over time.

Lemon balm may also be useful in treating headaches, especially if they’re happening as a result of stress. Its relaxing properties can help you to unwind, release tension, and relax your muscles. It’s also though that ingesting the herb can help to open up and relax tight blood vessels, which can contribute to headaches.

How to use: If you experience recurrent headaches, you may find it beneficial take 300 to 600 mg of lemon balm up to three times per day. This will allow the herb to get into your system well before a headache develops. You can take a higher dose if you feel a headache developing.

10. It may help lessen toothache pain

(Video) Lemon Balm: Benefits and Uses (Melissa)

Lemon balm’s pain-relieving properties may make it an ideal choice for relieving toothache pain. In addition to drawing on its relaxing properties, this home remedy is thought to target inflammation in the body. More research is needed to confirm these findings.

How to use: Use a cotton swab to apply lemon balm oil to the affected area as needed. Be sure to select an oil that has already been diluted by a carrier oil, such as jojoba. If you purchase pure lemon balm oil, you should dilute it. Essential oils should not be applied directly to the skin until they are diluted in a carrier oil.

Lemon balm has the potential to cause the following side effects:

  • headache
  • painful urination
  • increased body temperature
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • stomach pain
  • dizziness
  • wheezing
  • skin irritation
  • allergic reaction

You may be able to minimize side effects, such as stomach upset, by ingesting lemon balm alongside food. You can also reduce your risk for side effects by consuming fewer than 2 grams of lemon balm per day.

Lemon balm should only be used for a short period of time. A general rule of thumb is to take one week off after every three weeks of use. You shouldn’t take lemon balm for longer than four months at a time without a break.

You should talk to your doctor before use if you’re taking:

  • glaucoma medications
  • thyroid medications
  • barbiturates
  • sedatives
  • drugs that affect serotonin

You should also talk to your doctor before use if:

  • you’re pregnant
  • you’re breastfeeding
  • you want to administer lemon balm to an infant or child under the age of 12
  • you have a scheduled surgery

Lemon balm can’t replace any doctor-approved treatment plan that you’re currently following, but it may be an effective complementary treatment. Talk to your doctor about your individual case and the potential benefits and risks involved.

If you’re growing your own lemon balm, or using dried leaves for tea, there is little risk. But if you’re taking capsules, powder, or other commercially prepared supplements or herbs choose a reputable company. Herbs and supplements are not monitored by the Food and Drug Administration and there may be issues with purity, quality, or safety.

If you begin using lemon balm, you may find it beneficial to keep a journal about your experience. You should make a note of any improvements you notice or side effects. It may also be helpful to keep track of what time you take lemon balm, the amount taken, and the way you ingest it.

FAQs

What is the benefits of lemon balm? ›

Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis), a member of the mint family, is considered a calming herb. It was used as far back as the Middle Ages to reduce stress and anxiety, promote sleep, improve appetite, and ease pain and discomfort from indigestion (including gas and bloating, as well as colic).

Does lemon balm reduce inflammation? ›

Lemon balm is also a popular natural treatment for several common skin conditions. As an antibacterial and anti-inflammatory agent, it helps to reduce the swelling and reddening of the skin that is common in conditions including acne, shingles, chicken pox, eczema and psoriasis.

How much lemon balm can you take in a day? ›

Lemon balm supplements are possibly safe when used at a dose of up to 500 mg daily for up to 6 months. Side effects are generally mild and might include increased appetite, nausea, dizziness, and wheezing.

Does lemon balm give you energy? ›

It may boost cognitive function

Although these participants did experience an increase in levels of alertness and performance, it's still possible for fatigue to set in over time. Combining lemon balm with food also affects its absorption rate, which may have had an impact on its efficacy.

Is lemon balm good for your heart? ›

Lemon balm (melissa officinalis) is a perennial herb that's grown all over the world. People have used this plant for centuries as an herbal treatment and natural medicine to treat various ailments. Scientific research has shown it can be effective in protecting the heart and liver from common diseases.

Is lemon balm good for brain? ›

Clinical trials have highlighted that lemon balm extracts standardised to rosmarinic acid have demonstrated clear benefits in regards to memory and cognitive performance.

Is lemon balm good for your liver? ›

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) ranges in severity from hepatic steatosis to cirrhosis. Lemon balm and its major constituent, rosmarinic acid (RA), effectively improve the liver injury and obesity; however, their therapeutic effects on nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) are unknown.

Does lemon balm raise blood pressure? ›

Lemon balm may lower your blood pressure and therefore should be used with caution if you are taking medications with similar properties. It can also lower your blood sugar levels and people with diabetes should use lemon balm with care.

Is lemon balm good for wrinkles? ›

They help reduce fine lines and wrinkles to give you smoother and suppler skin while also improving your complexion. Lemon balm is also rich in tannins which give it astringent and antiviral properties.

How quickly does lemon balm work? ›

It may take up to one month to see your desired results but lemon balm is strong herbal ally that will support you as often as you take advantage of its benefits.

Can you take lemon balm at night? ›

Lemon balm has been studied in patients suffering from mild-to-moderate anxiety disorders and sleep disturbances. In a pilot trial, in which it was administered via standardized extracts, lemon balm was shown to reduce anxiety (a primary barrier to quality sleep) by 18% and lower insomnia by 42%.

Does lemon balm lower heart rate? ›

Results: The extract (50, 100, and 200 mg/kg) significantly reduced the heart rate (264 ± 5, 259 ± 5 and 281 ± 3 versus 377 ± 13 in control group, p < 0.01).

Is lemon balm good for viruses? ›

Lemon balm, with its antiviral properties, appears to speed the healing of cold sores and reduce symptoms when applied topically as a cream. has antiviral properties. A cream containing an extract of lemon balm has been shown in double-blind trials to speed the healing of cold sores.

Does lemon balm lower cholesterol? ›

The results of this 2-month study indicate that consumption of lemon balm leaf powder significantly lowered LDL and the liver enzyme AST compared to a placebo treatment. Such outcomes suggest that lemon balm supplementation is both safe and effective for patients with mild hyperlipidemia.

Is lemon balm good for hormones? ›

Research suggests daily use of lemon balm could help alleviate menstrual cramps and PMS symptoms. In a separate study, women experiencing sexual dysfunction who supplemented with lemon balm reported significant improvements in desire and satisfaction.

Is lemon balm good for lungs? ›

The essential oil made from lemon balm is high in compounds called triterpenes, which are rapidly absorbed through the lungs and have a calming effect on the body through aroma therapy. Essential oil created from the leaves can also eaten and used as an antioxidant (Marangui et al., 2004).

Does lemon balm have vitamins? ›

Lemon balm leaves have low cholesterol or fat content. They are known to have enormous amount of antioxidants. Flavonoids and phytochemicals like phenolic acids, rosmarinic acid, caffeic acid, and terpenes boost the antioxidant power. Along with all these elements, it includes higher level of Thiamin and Vitamin C.

Is lemon balm good for depression? ›

Based on meta-analysis results, lemon balm significantly improved mean anxiety and depression scores compared with the placebo (SMD: -0.98; 95% CI: -1.63 to -0.33; p = 0.003), (SMD: -0.47; 95% CI: -0.73 to -0.21; p = 0.0005) respectively, without serious side effects.

Is lemon balm good for nerve pain? ›

Herbs that are in the “nervine” category can be very nourishing and soothing to the nerve tissue. Among the best are Chinese skullcap, lemon balm, wood betony, St. John's wort, chamomile, prickly ash and milky oats.

Is lemon balm good for dementia? ›

Lemon balm, a well-known vegetable and medicinal plant from Lamiaceae, has been traditionally used to cure dementia and amnesia (86). Ethanol extract of lemon balm exhibited AChE inhibitory activity (87) with a potency of 1.72±0.16 μg equivalents of physostigmine/mg of the extract.

What does balm help with? ›

This product is used to treat minor aches and pains of the muscles/joints (such as arthritis, backache, sprains). Menthol and methyl salicylate are known as counterirritants. They work by causing the skin to feel cool and then warm.

How much lemon balm should you take? ›

Dosing. Crude lemon balm herb is typically dosed at 1.5 to 4.5 g/day. Doses of 600 to 1,600 mg extract have been studied in trials. A standardized preparation of lemon balm (80 mg) and valerian extract (160 mg) has been given 2 or 3 times/day as a sleep aid, and has also been studied in children.

Is lemon balm tea good for diabetics? ›

Certain teas contain powerful compounds that may benefit people with diabetes. Research suggests that green tea, turmeric tea, hibiscus tea, cinnamon tea, lemon balm tea, chamomile tea, and black tea may offer impressive antidiabetic effects, making them good choices for people with diabetes.

Can you drink lemon balm tea everyday? ›

While more studies are needed to determine how lemon balm tea may help individuals, it does appear that the tea is safe for most people to consume. A person should consult their doctor if they have an underlying condition, such as a thyroid issue, before regularly consuming lemon balm tea.

Does lemon balm affect blood sugar? ›

Lemon balm might decrease blood sugar. Diabetes medications are also used to lower blood sugar. Taking lemon balm along with diabetes medications might cause your blood sugar to go too low. Monitor your blood sugar closely.

Does lemon balm affect thyroid? ›

In vitro studies have shown that extracts from bugleweed and lemon balm inhibit stimulation of thyroid hormone production by both TSH and Graves' antibodies1.

Does lemon balm tea make you pee? ›

Lemon Balm Tea Side Effects

Unfortunately, yes. Potential issues include headaches, painful urination, increased body temperature, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, dizziness and wheezing.

How do you use lemon balm on your face? ›

It contains very high levels of an essential oil called citronellal, which helps to keep bugs at bay. A quick and easy repellant is to crush a handful of lemon balm leaves in your hand and rub directly all over your skin, avoiding the face.

Is lemon balm good in tea? ›

lemon balm tea benefits

Lemon balm tea is an herbal tea that's been used for centuries as a relaxant and stress reliever. It's traditionally been used to reduce anxiety and promote sleep. Lemon balm has also been used to help treat indigestion and menstrual cramps.

Where can I use lemon balm? ›

Add whole lemon balm leaves to green salads, or chiffonade the leaves and scatter them over a fruit salad for added zesty flavor. Lemon balm also pairs beautifully with poultry—try adding sliced leaves to chicken salad, fish dishes, and even vegetable dishes to serve on the side.

Should lemon balm be refrigerated? ›

Storage Tips: Fresh Lemon Balm leaves should be washed and dried, then stored in a clear plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Lemon Balm can also be stored in an infused oil.

Can you eat raw lemon balm? ›

The whole plant is edible, though its the tender leaves you are after. Lemon balm has a long history of a wide array herbal medicine uses, in particular for soothing, calming and raising the spirit – just one smell of the crushed leaves does all of these for me.

Does lemon balm help with panic attacks? ›

Preliminary research shows lemon balm can reduce some symptoms of anxiety, such as nervousness and excitability. Lemon balm is generally well-tolerated and considered safe for short-term use, but can cause nausea and abdominal pain.

Is lemon balm antibiotic? ›

Among these products, lemon balm (Melissa officinalis, Lamiaceae) is a medicinal plant and used for the treatment of headaches, gastrointestinal disorders, nervousness, and rheumatism. It is an antibacterial and antifungal agent.

What does lemon balm attract? ›

When lemon balm flowers, it brings in bees and butterflies and other beneficial pollinators. (Check out other plants I recommend to attract pollinators here.)

Is Lemon balm tea good for acid reflux? ›

-Many other herbs can help to soothe the gut, including peppermint, chamomile, caraway, milk thistle, and lemon balm. They can be used as teas or as herbal supplements.

What herb dissolves cholesterol? ›

Research from 2010 suggests that hawthorn may be a safe and effective treatment for heart disease. It contains the chemical quercetin, which has been shown to reduce cholesterol. Hawthorn extract is sold primarily in capsules.

What is the best herb to reduce cholesterol? ›

Other herbal products: The results of several studies suggest fenugreek seeds and leaves, artichoke leaf extract, yarrow, and holy basil all may help lower cholesterol.

Does lemon balm interact with medications? ›

Lemon Balm has no known severe, serious, moderate, or mild interactions with other drugs. This document does not contain all possible interactions. Therefore, before using this product, tell your doctor or pharmacist of all the products you use.

Does lemon balm make you happy? ›

Lemon balm leaves are sedative and taking a tincture or capsule of this highly medicinal plant can improve mood by alleviating stress, anxiety, and tension headaches. It is believed that rosmarinic acid found in lemon balm is responsible for activating the GABA receptors in the brain that promote relaxation.

What part of lemon balm is medicinal? ›

A poultice of the fresh leaf can help relieve pain caused by cramping and nervous headaches. Use lemon balm fresh in cooking as a substitute for lemon thyme, lemons or mint. Drink lemon balm tea 30 minutes before bed to help with insomnia. The tincture of the fresh herb in glycerine is an effective children's medicine.

Can lemon cure hormonal imbalance? ›

Plus, according to Natural Health Magazine, scientist found that just a whiff of lemon can boost your feel-good hormones and reduce stress levels. Drinking water also helps in this area, as dehydration can drain your body's energy and make you feel sluggish.

› ... › Lemon Balm ›

Learn about the uses and potential benefits of Lemon Balm including dosage guidelines, side effects, interactions and safety/efficacy ratings.
Lemon balm has many uses, as it contains soothing, diuretic, and expectorant properties. It is also often recommended to treat digestive problems. Learn about t...
Lemon balm tea, or Melissa tea, is a popular natural remedy in Europe and other nations across the globe. This tea boasts a mild, smooth flavor with hints of le...

What does lemon balm do to the liver? ›

Lemon balm and its major constituent, rosmarinic acid (RA), effectively improve the liver injury and obesity; however, their therapeutic effects on nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) are unknown.

How does lemon balm make you feel? ›

As an herb that has an affinity for the nervous system, lemon balm is a go-to herb for anxiety and depression.

Is lemon balm good for sleep? ›

Lemon balm has been studied in patients suffering from mild-to-moderate anxiety disorders and sleep disturbances. In a pilot trial, in which it was administered via standardized extracts, lemon balm was shown to reduce anxiety (a primary barrier to quality sleep) by 18% and lower insomnia by 42%.

Does lemon balm lower blood pressure? ›

In this study in people with essential hypertension, supplementation with lemon balm extract led to a reduction in systolic and diastolic blood pressure. This Study Summary was published on January 4, 2022.

Does lemon balm lower cholesterol? ›

The results of this 2-month study indicate that consumption of lemon balm leaf powder significantly lowered LDL and the liver enzyme AST compared to a placebo treatment. Such outcomes suggest that lemon balm supplementation is both safe and effective for patients with mild hyperlipidemia.

Is lemon balm good for viruses? ›

Lemon balm, with its antiviral properties, appears to speed the healing of cold sores and reduce symptoms when applied topically as a cream. has antiviral properties. A cream containing an extract of lemon balm has been shown in double-blind trials to speed the healing of cold sores.

How much lemon balm should you take? ›

Dosing. Crude lemon balm herb is typically dosed at 1.5 to 4.5 g/day. Doses of 600 to 1,600 mg extract have been studied in trials. A standardized preparation of lemon balm (80 mg) and valerian extract (160 mg) has been given 2 or 3 times/day as a sleep aid, and has also been studied in children.

Is lemon balm good for hormones? ›

Research suggests daily use of lemon balm could help alleviate menstrual cramps and PMS symptoms. In a separate study, women experiencing sexual dysfunction who supplemented with lemon balm reported significant improvements in desire and satisfaction.

Does lemon balm effect hormones? ›

There is a concern that lemon balm may change thyroid function, reduce thyroid hormone levels, and interfere with thyroid hormone-replacement therapy.

What is the best way to ingest lemon balm? ›

As a general rule of thumb, treat lemon balm as you would any other fresh herb. It works especially well in place of mint, offering bright, fragrant notes. Add whole lemon balm leaves to green salads, or chiffonade the leaves and scatter them over a fruit salad for added zesty flavor.

Can you drink lemon balm tea everyday? ›

While more studies are needed to determine how lemon balm tea may help individuals, it does appear that the tea is safe for most people to consume. A person should consult their doctor if they have an underlying condition, such as a thyroid issue, before regularly consuming lemon balm tea.

Is lemon balm good to drink? ›

Research has shown that when combined with herbs like valerian, lemon balm helps improve sleep. Also, drinking lemon balm tea can help with insomnia. Compounds in lemon balm may relieve gastrointestinal problems, such as bloating and indigestion.

Is lemon balm good for diabetes? ›

Our results represent the anti-glycative properties of lemon balm and its considerable potential against glucose-induced cellular damage, remarkable prospect for treatment of complications such as diabetes, ageing and a broad range of AGE-associated conformational disorders.

Does lemon balm affect thyroid? ›

In vitro studies have shown that extracts from bugleweed and lemon balm inhibit stimulation of thyroid hormone production by both TSH and Graves' antibodies1.

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