5 Reasons Why Lemon Balm Deserves a Spot in Your Medicine Cabinet
Lemon balm, or Melissa officinalis is a perennial herb, and citrusy member of the mint family that is commonly planted to help attract bees. Beyond its use in the garden, in the world of natural remedies, this herb is considered a powerhouse used for centuries for its myriad medicinal properties. Traditionally, lemon balm has been valued for its wide range of health benefits, and recent research further supports this herb’s remarkable medicinal properties. From helping to support the immune system, sleep and reduce stress, to relieving gastrointestinal discomfort and boosting cognitive function, lemon balm is a versatile herb worthy of a place in every medicine cabinet.
Below are 5 reasons why you should consider incorporating lemon balm into your health and wellness routine:
- Support Rejuvenating Sleep
If restful, rejuvenating sleep is something you find yourself lacking, lemon balm might be the natural and effective bedtime solution you’ve been searching for. Studies suggest that this herb may help improve sleep quality and ease insomnia by encouraging relaxation. This is achieved through the action of rosmarinic acid, a component of lemon balm that promotes increased levels of GABA, a neurotransmitter that helps us to fall and stay asleep.1 Incorporating a nightly ritual of lemon balm tea can create a calming prelude to bedtime, promoting a more restorative and rejuvenating sleep experience.
- Relieve Stress
Another well valued use of lemon balm is its remarkable ability to induce calm and help eliminate stress. As with its role in sleep, rosmarinic acid in conjunction with other associated polyphenol components found in lemon balm, interacts with receptors in the brain to help promote tranquility by elevating mood, relieving tension, and reducing levels of stress hormones.2 Whether in the form of a warm cup of lemon balm tea, aromatherapy or through supplementation, lemon balm can become a soothing ritual to help alleviate anxiety and stress amidst life’s chaos.
- Immune Support
Lemon balm is packed with immune-support properties and antimicrobial compounds that make it an effective natural remedy for a variety of bacterial, fungal, and viral infections like Strep throat, colds, flus, and cold sores.3,4,5 Research also demonstrates how lemon balm helps modulate the immune system by stimulating the production of certain immune cells which subsequently bolster the body's ability to fight off infections.6 Regular consumption of lemon balm tea or incorporating it into your supplement routine can help strengthen your immune system to better fight off pathogenic invaders.
- Promote Detoxification
For those looking to cleanse their bodies naturally, lemon balm is an excellent option. This herb is packed with powerful antioxidants, that help neutralize damaging accumulations in the body, making it a potent detoxifier. These antioxidants reduce cellular stress and support the body's natural detoxification pathways. Additionally, lemon balm has been found to have mild diuretic properties, promoting the elimination of toxins through urine. Studies show that regular consumption of lemon balm can promote liver detoxification, enhancing its ability to effectively process and eliminate harmful substances from the body.7,8
- Ease Gastrointestinal Discomfort
Lemon balm has long been relied upon for its use in improving appetite and alleviating gastrointestinal discomfort, such as stomachache, IBS, GERD, indigestion, and bloating. Its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antispasmodic properties make it a potential solution in relieving gastrointestinal issues. Its soothing properties as noted above, also make it effective at reducing symptoms of nausea and vomiting. In addition to capsule supplementation, adding lemon balm to yogurts, desserts, and smoothies is an excellent way of targeting this potent GI remedy to the site of discomfort to induce relief more effectively.
Ways to Incorporate Lemon Balm into Your Routine:
- Tea: Steep fresh or dried lemon balm leaves in hot water for an aromatic tea. Enjoy a cup in the morning or before bed to reap its detoxifying, immune boosting, and calming benefits.
- Capsules: Encapsulated, herbal formulations like Dr. Zelenko’s Z-Shield allow for a convenient means to effectively incorporate lemon balm into your health and wellness regimen.
- Tinctures/Extracts: Available in liquid form, lemon balm extracts and tinctures can be taken directly or added to water or beverages to help dilute or enhance flavor.
- Infused Water: Add a citrus punch to your water by adding fresh lemon balm leaves to cold water and steeping for at least 8 hours for a medicinal and naturally flavorful treat.
- Cooking: Sprinkle chopped lemon balm leaves onto salads, roast with chicken, use in a pesto, or add them to soups, this herb adds a burst of citrusy flavor accompanied by potent health benefits.
Lemon balm's myriad medicinal benefits make it a valuable addition to a natural approach to health. Whether taken as a supplement, enjoyed as a soothing tea, or integrated into meals, this citrusy herbal gem offers a natural and refreshing way to support your body's well-being. From stress reduction and improved sleep to detoxification enhancement, immune support, and digestive harmony, consider enriching your overall healthcare routine by making space for lemon balm in your medicine cabinet.
Medical Disclaimer: The content in this article should not be taken as medical advice or used as a direct recommendation for any treatment or medication. Always consult with a properly licensed healthcare provider before making any changes to your current health and wellness routine.
- Klement, S., & Muller, S. F. (2006, June). A combination of valerian and lemon balm is effective in the treatment of restlessness and dyssomnia in children. Phytomedicine: International Journal of Phytotherapy and Phytopharmacology, 13(6): 383-387. Retrieved from: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.phymed.2006.01.013
- Cases, J., & et al. (2011). Pilot trial of Melissa officinalis L. leaf extract in the treatment of volunteers suffering from mild-to-moderate anxiety disorders and sleep disturbances. Mediterranean Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism, 4(3): 211-218. Retrieved from: https://doi.org/10.1007%2Fs12349-010-0045-4
- Bryla, M., & et al. (2022, May). In Vitro Effects of Lemon Balm Extracts in Reducing the Growth and Mycotoxins Biosynthesis of Fusarium culmorum and F. proliferatum. Toxins, 14(5): 355. Retrieved from: https://doi.org/10.3390%2Ftoxins14050355
- Lemon balm. (n.d.). Mount Sinai. Retrieved from: https://www.mountsinai.org/health-library/herb/lemon-balm
- Behshood, P., & et al. (2023, January 12). Antiviral Potential of Melissa officinalis L.: A Literature Review. Nutrition and Metabolic Insights, 16. Retrieved from: https://doi.org/10.1177%2F11786388221146683
- Anuszewska, E., & Drozd, J. (2003, November). The effect of the Melissa officinalis extract on immune response in mice. Acta Poloniae Pharmaceutica, 60(6): 467-470. Retrieved from: https://www.ptfarm.pl/pub/File/Acta_Poloniae/2003/6/467.pdf
- Kiani, S., Kopaei, R., & Miraj, S. (2017, July). Melissa officinalis L: A Review Study With an Antioxidant Prospective. Journal of Evidence-Based Complementary & Alternative Medicine, 22(3): 385-394. Retrieved from: https://doi.org/10.1177%2F2156587216663433
- Abdollahi, M., & et al. (2011, April). Effects of Melisa officinalis L. on oxidative status and DNA damage in subjects exposed to long-term low-dose ionizing radiation. Toxicology and Industrial Health, 27(3): 205-212. Retrieved from: https://doi.org/10.1177/0748233710383889