Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis): A tonic remedy that raises the spirits and lifts the heart. It has antibacterial, antispasmodic, antiviral, carminative, diaphoretic, digestive, emmenagogue, febrifuge, sedative properties.
An infusion of the leaves is used in the treatment of fevers and colds, indigestion associated with nervous tension, excitability and digestive upsets in children, hyperthyroidism, depression, mild insomnia and headaches.
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). Even before the Middle Ages, lemon balm was steeped in wine to lift the spirits, help heal wounds, and treat venomous insect bites and stings. Today, lemon balm is often combined with other calming, soothing herbs, such as valerian, chamomile, and hops, to help promote relaxation. It is also used in creams to treat cold sores (oral herpes).
Several studies have found that lemon balm combined with other calming herbs (such as valerian, hops, and chamomile) helps reduce anxiety and promote sleep. Few studies have examined lemon balm by itself, except for topical use. For example, in one study of people with minor sleep problems, those who took an herbal combination of valerian and lemon balm reported sleeping much better than those who took placebo. But it's not clear from this and other studies whether it is lemon balm or valerian (or the combination) that were responsible for the result.
The same is true of several studies for anxiety, which used a combination of herbs to reduce symptoms.
In another double-blind, placebo-controlled study, 18 healthy volunteers received two separate single doses of a standardized lemon balm extract (300 mg and 600 mg) or placebo for 7 days. The 600 mg dose of lemon balm increased mood and significantly increased calmness and alertness.
Lemon Balm contains eugenol which kills bacteria and has been shown to calm muscles and numb tissues. It also contains tannins that contribute to its anti-viral effects, as well as terpenes that add to its soothing effects.
The plant also contains polyphenols, in particular these combat the herpes simplex virus which produces cold sores. The essential oil is used in aromatherapy. Its keyword is 'Female aspects'. It is used to relax and rejuvenate, especially in cases of depression and nervous tension.
From the Spanimax List: "15 Top Herbs"
- The Desktop Guide to Complementary and Alternative Medicine: An Evidence-Based Approach; Ernst E.
- Lemon Balm; University of Maryland. Medical Center.
- Flavonoids from lemon balm; Patora J, Klimek B.
- A combination of valerian and lemon balm is effective in the treatment of restlessness and dyssomnia in children; Muller SF, Klement S.
- Aromatherapy - A guide for home use; Westwood. C.
- A modern herbal; Grieve M.
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