Do you have arthritis, trouble sleeping, anxiety or even a cut that won’t heal? Lemon balm could be the solution. This common herb has wide-ranging health benefits so helpful that it could be your new go-to.
Lemon balm is a member of the mint family and is considered a calming herb. This herb is also known as Melissa officinalis, and it has been used for centuries to reduce anxiety, promote sleep and improve symptoms of indigestion. You may have grown it in your herb garden to attract bees which help pollinate the rest of the garden.
Some abilities of lemon balm include:
- mild diaphoretic
1. Sharpens memory and problem solving
Studies have found improved memory and problem-solving in test subjects after taking lemon balm. On top of that, patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease have seen improvements based on several recent studies. In one, over four months, 42 older adults with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease took a daily dose of lemon balm or a placebo. At the end of the treatment period, those taking lemon balm showed a significantly better outcome on cognitive function.
Another study noted lemon balm suppresses brain chemical acetylcholinesterase which breaks down a brain-signalling chemical which is responsible for memory and thought. In turn this helps stimulate and support memory and mood.
2. Supports the liver
Lemon balm has been proven as effective in protecting the liver from toxins. It also supports the liver’s production of two of the human body’s natural antioxidants!
3. Helps with sleep
Lemon balm’s contains eugenol, a natural oily substance that aids sleep. Aside from being an anti-bacterial agent, eugenol also acts as a numbing agent, and is commonly used by dentists to relieve pain.
It can also help prevent muscle spasms and sleeping problems.
Make your own sleep time tea by placing 3/4 cup lemon balm leaves into a small pot and add enough water to just cover the leaves. Simmer, covered partially, until the liquid is reduced in half. Strain out. While still quite warm, measure out about 1/2 cup of the concentrated tea and stir 1/4 cup raw honey into it.
4. Soothes stomach aches
The volatile oils in lemon balm contain chemicals that relax muscles, particularly in the stomach, thereby relieving cramps, gas, and nausea.
To relieve cramping and gas, make a tea from the leaves and steep. Drink slowly.
5. Treats cold sores
Thanks to its antiviral properties, lemon balm has been found to promote the healing of cold sore.
Use it on your cold sores by combining 2 tbsp of olive oil with 1 tbsp of beeswax along with 8 drops of peppermint essential oil and 8 drops lemon balm/Melissa oil. Heat until combined over a boiling pot.
6. Calms anxiety and stress
Scientists have discovered that taking a combination of lemon balm and valerian helped reduce participants’ anxiety levels during a stress-inducing lab experiment.
The studies have shown improved sleep patterns and reduced stress and anxiety. In one study a lemon balm/valerian combination was found to be as effective as the prescription drug Halcion.
Ways to use lemon balm
- Add 1–2 drops to herbal tea to soothe indigestion or lessen nausea.
- Diffuse at night or rub on forehead, shoulders, or chest to lessen stress.
- Add to moisturiser or a spray bottle with water and spritz on face to rejuvenate skin and refresh the mind.
- Dab a small amount on minor irritations on the lips or skin to soothe the area.
Have you used lemon balm before? What benefits did you see?