Lemon balm is a fantastic choice for productivity, especially during times of high stress. You may have found that your thoughts distract you from necessary tasks and that anxiety makes it difficult to concentrate.
Lemon balm supplements can provide a sense of focused relaxation to help you work with lower anxiety levels.
Unfortunately, as we know, stress can also contribute to nausea, indigestion, and poor sleep Lemon balm can help with all of these symptoms.
More on these benefits later, but first, we should look at what the plant is and how it works.
- What is Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis)?
- How Does Lemon Balm Work?
- What Are The Health Benefits of Lemon Balm?
- How To Take Lemon Balm
- What Are The Side Effects of Lemon Balm?
What is Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis)?
Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) is an herb native to the Mediterranean that has been used in medicine for hundreds, possibly thousands, of years.
In the 14th century, Melissa officinalis was made into an alcoholic tonic by Carmelite nuns. Tea made from lemon balm has also been used for confusion and wellness and improves memory, and reduces fever, among other uses.
Lemon balm is part of the mint family, and the name refers to the lemon scent that emits from the leaves of the herb and it is still used for its relaxing and nootropic properties.
Now is grown throughout the world and produced in many forms. In addition, it is also used for culinary purposes to make tea, marinate meat, or flavor jams and jellies.
How Does Lemon Balm Work?
Lemon balm works in several ways. First, it affects levels of acetylcholine (ACh) in the brain and inhibits acetylcholinesterase. This helps to boost cognitive function and performance. The plant also contains two other beneficial compounds: eugenol and rosmarinic acid.
Eugenol is a powerful antioxidant that protects brain cells from damage by free radicals. This promotes nootropic effects and neuroprotective properties of Melissa officinalis.
Eugenol is also partially responsible for the anxiolytic and mood regulatory effects by working on the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid, GABA.
Lemon balm contains a compound known as rosmarinic acid. Rosmarinic acid up-regulates brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and boosts dopamine synthesis. This helps with the nootropic effects and contributes to improved mood regulation.
The combined effects of these components also improve blood flow in the brain. This can help with proper functioning abilities and improve cognition, relaxation, and other beneficial features.
These properties make lemon balm one of the most healthy natural supplements on the market for stress, sleep, and focus.
What Are The Health Benefits of Lemon Balm?
Lemon balm is primarily used for relaxation and sleep, but it also has some other uses.
It can help with focus and concentration, and the nootropic components may also help prevent excessive cognitive impairment. It is also used for nausea, cramps, and other gastrointestinal problems.
Finally, it can even alleviate cold sores and other common forms of pain. Let’s check out each of the health effects of lemon balm.
Helps to Relieve Stress
Lemon balm may help relieve stress and provide relaxation, as stress can cause racing thoughts and fears. It can calm down those thoughts and give a sense of relief. Many people like to relax with a cup of lemon balm tea after a stressful day.
Lemon balm can help to ease the symptoms of high-stress situations on the body and mind. Not only that, but it can increase your resistance to stress by reducing the amount of cortisol that the body produces.
Stress can cause several physical and mental health problems that lemon balm can help to prevent by treating the underlying cause.
Research shows that using lemon balm not only helps to ease symptoms associated with stress and provides a sense of calmness, but it can also help to improve mood (1).
This boost in mood may help to alleviate negative emotions associated with stress. In addition, this effect may be strong enough to help ward off some symptoms of depression.
Lemon balm is commonly used to treat symptoms of anxiety. It can help to relax restlessness and calm the mind. When we have anxiety, our body and mind become overactive and excited.
Research suggests that lemon balm may help give a mood boost that helps someone recover from a panic attack. Not only that, but it acts quickly to provide relief and a sense of relaxation that is necessary to overcome severe tension.
The swift action on the nervous system is why lemon balm is effective anxiolytic when compared with slower-acting supplements.
In addition, because of the herb’s nootropic effects, it does not intoxicate or substantially reduce alertness. This allows you to remain focused. Also, the anxiety-fighting components of lemon balm may be increased with valerian root.
Therefore, we recommend valerian and lemon balm to overcome anxiety disorders quickly, effectively, and safely.
Boosts Cognitive Function
There is also research that examines the results of lemon balm on cognition. One study found that participants had improved concentration and memory after they consumed the herbs. This is the reason that people use this plant as a natural nootropic.
Lemon balm is often used for cognitive purposes because it can increase alertness and improve performance. Using Melissa officinalis can help with productivity and help you battle mental fatigue, significantly when stress contributes to the inability to work or complete tasks.
Lemon balm may also help reduce the likelihood of developing symptoms of cognitive decline and support improved brain health.
The mechanism of action behind this is probably related to the nootropic improvement.
While the study on these results is limited, the treatment for reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia is promising (3).
Promotes Sleep Quality
The relaxation that lemon balm provides can also help you get a restful night of sleep. At least one study shows that the increase in sleep quality could be significant.
The effect feels mild and will not cause drowsiness during the day, but it still delivers a mind sedative effect that can help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep for longer (4).
This natural herb may even help to overcome insomnia and other sleep disorders. It can help calm the racing thoughts that keep you awake and help you fall back asleep if you wake up.
The effectiveness will typically last through most of the night to help you wake up feeling rested and alert.
As with the effect on tension, the improvements to sleep will also be better when you combine Valerian root and Lemon balm.
They both help relax the body and help you get the best sleep you have experienced in years. As a sleep aid, we recommend you drink tea about an hour before bed.
Helps Relieve Indigestion and Nausea
Lemon balm is used to help with gastrointestinal problems like indigestion and nausea and may support overall gut health.
One smaller study found that it can help improve digestion to help with these kinds of bothersome ailments, and other research has found similar results (5).
These health benefits may be strong enough to help with acid reflux and irritable bowel syndrome. This is because some of the chemical compounds in Lemon balm serve the digestive system and can have beneficial features that reduce gas and spasms.
These properties may also offer uses for premenstrual syndrome symptoms, including cramps. One study found that it reduced the severity of cramps and bloating in high school girls (6).
In addition to helping with physical PMS symptoms, it could also help lessen the irritability that is one of the most common PMS symptoms.
Treats Cold Sores
Lemon balm effectively inhibits common viruses, including those associated with the common cold and the hepatitis B virus.
In addition, herpes simplex virus type 1 is associated with cold sores, and research suggests that it may be an effective treatment for these types of infections.
These results and the effect on viruses may be significant enough to help with genital herpes as well (7).
While more research is needed, the effect of this type of virus may point to the use of lemon balm to help support the immune system. However, these uses may be the most beneficial when combined with other treatments.
These features are most effective when a topical lemon balm cream is applied as soon as you notice the cold sores. Then, reapply several times throughout the day.
We recommend that you test the cream on the inside of your arm for inflammation or irritation before using it on a cold sore.
Reduces Minor Pain
Lemon balm can also be used to treat minor aches and pains. For example, research shows it can help with headaches and reduce pain.
This is especially true for headaches that begin with tension and stress. It will also work best if you use it as soon as the headache appears before it develops further.
Additionally, it can also be used for other minor pain, and there is research that supports the use for toothaches. This is because the antioxidant components may help to alleviate inflammation in the body.
The reduction in pain may not be significant, but it could be safer and offer increased effectiveness when used in combination with traditional pain medicine. For toothaches and related purposes, you can use lemon balm topically or orally.
How To Take Lemon Balm
Supplements are available in several forms, including capsules, tablets, powder, tincture, and essential oil. Therefore, there are different dosages to be aware of as well.
Oral capsules and tablets are available in different doses from 250 mg to 500 mg. For relieving anxiousness and restlessness, we recommend between 300 and 600 mg per day. For acute symptoms, it is safe to take a single dose of 600 mg.
The amount for sleep or insomnia is similar, or you can drink a cup of tea brewed from the herbs or fresh Lemon balm leaves.
You can try brewing tea out of the herbs or adding a single teaspoon of powder to ice cream or a smoothie for an upset stomach. You can also try this method for headache relief because it will have a faster onset.
Otherwise, 300 to 500 mg should be sufficient to treat a headache.
For toothaches and cold sores, try applying 1% lemon balm cream to the affected area 3 to 4 times each day until the symptoms subside. For improved efficacy, apply the cream at the first sign of a cold sore.
If you have lemon balm essence or essential oil, it is only intended for external use and should not be taken by mouth. This is true of food-grade essential oils as well.
What Are The Side Effects of Lemon Balm?
Lemon balm is considered to be safe for short-term use at a reasonable dosage. However, there are some side effects to be aware of.
Common side effects include headache, bloating and gastro discomfort, gas, vomiting, dizziness, upset stomach, and agitation.
If you develop any of these adverse reactions, seek advice from a medical doctor. Also, the risk of these reactions increases with dosage, and it is best to start with a lower dose to reduce the likelihood of risks.
Long-term use can also cause unwanted symptoms and side effects. For example, high doses can negatively impact thyroid function.
Therefore, you should not use lemon balm extract for more than 4 to 6 weeks. Also, some people develop contact dermatitis when using a topical lemon balm extract. This causes skin irritation, redness, and rashes. You should also avoid applying it to open wounds.
Severe adverse reactions are rare, but you should be careful taking supplements containing lemon balm if you are scheduled for surgery or if you are pregnant or nursing.
Furthermore, you should avoid products containing lemon balm before seeking the advice of a doctor if you take prescription medications to prevent drug interactions.
This is especially true if you take blood thinners, sedatives, thyroid medications, glaucoma medications, and chemotherapy drugs.
Products containing lemon balm can serve several purposes for better health. Lemon balm is effective for reducing anxiety, and mild sedation can help to promote better, more restful sleep.
These products are also effective as a natural painkiller and anti-inflammatory.
One aspect of the herb that makes it even more remarkable is the ability to offer nootropic effects. This can allow you to concentrate and focus without feeling tension.
A single dose can help to ease racing thoughts and excitability while keeping you alert. The unique formulation offers a wide range of both physical and mental health healing components.
- Is Lemon Balm Antiviral?
Lemon balm is antiviral and can ward off viruses associated with the common cold, including coronaviruses and rhinoviruses. It is also effective in combating hepatitis B.
- Is Lemon balm bad for the liver?
Some research suggests that lemon balm may be bad for the liver, but other studies show the opposite effect. However, we recommend avoiding it if you suffer from hepatotoxicity unless you get advice from a medical doctor.