Melissa officinalis

Lemon Balm

Melissa officinalis

Lemon Balm

Lemon balm is a lemon scented member of the mint family and is native to Southern Europe. With its mild lemon scent and flavor, Lemon balm has historically been valued as a culinary, cosmetic and medicinal herb. Fresh lemon balm leaves are often used to top drinks and garnish salads and main dishes while the dried leaves have been frequently used for teas. Throughout history as a medicinal herb, lemon balm has been used as a mild sedative and as a digestive aid to relieve gas, and is also well known for its use with fevers and to increase perspiration.

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Traditional Health Benefits of Lemon Balm

Brain & Cognitive Support, Digestive Support, Immune Support, Stress Support, Sleep Support

What is Lemon Balm Used for?

Lemon balm is often used alone or in combination with other synergistic herbs, and plays a role in optimizing immune health, digestive health and providing a sense of balance for the nervous system. In the digestive system, lemon balm has historically been used to calm occasional discomfort associated with indigestion, gas and bloating. While still in the early stages, several human research studies show promise with use of lemon balm to promote a sense of calm in body, particularly when it is stressed. While human studies are limited, in vitro studies show promise for this herb in helping to promote a healthy immune system by initiating a healthy immune response and promoting health of the cell wall. Lemon balm has also been traditionally used to support cognitive function, and recent human clinical research has discovered that lemon balm may indeed promote calm and focus in healthy subjects*.

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Active Constituents of Lemon Balm

Citronellal, geraniol, citral, flavonoids, polyphenolic compounds (including rosmarinic acid), monoterpene glycosides and aldehydes.

Parts Used

Leaf and leaf oil.

Additional Resources

Awad R, et al. Phytother Res. 2009 Aug;23(8):1075-81. Blumenthal M. The Complete German Commission E Monograph; American Botanical Council, Austin, TX; 1998:124. Kennedy DO et al. Phytother Res. 2006 Feb;20(2):96-102. Kennedy DO, Scholey AB, Tildesley NT, et al. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2002 Jul;72(4):953-64. Kennedy DO et al. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2003 Oct;28(10):1871-81. Kucera LS et al. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 1965 Jul 30;130(1):474-82. Mazzanti G, Battinelli L, Pompeo C, et al. Nat Prod Res. 2008;22(16):1433-40. Müller SF, Klement S. Phytomedicine. 2006 Jun;13(6):383-7. Nolkemper S, Reichling J, Stintzing FC, et al. Planta Med. 2006 Dec;72(15):1378-82. Schnitzler P, Schuhmacher A, Astani A, Reichling J. Phytomedicine. 2008 Sep;15(9):734-40. Photo by Georges Jansoone. Kennedy D, Wake G, Savelev S, et al. Modulation of mood and cognitive performance following acute administration of single doses of Melissa officinalis (lemon balm) with human CNS nicotinic and muscarinic receptor-binding properties. Neuropsychopharmacology (2003) 28, 1871-1881.

Important Precautions

If you have a medical condition or take pharmaceutical drugs, or if you are pregnant, please consult your doctor prior to use.

Disclaimer

This information in our Herbal Reference Guide is intended only as a general reference for further exploration, and is not a replacement for professional health advice. This content does not provide dosage information, format recommendations, toxicity levels, or possible interactions with prescription drugs. Accordingly, this information should be used only under the direct supervision of a qualified health practitioner such as a naturopathic physician.

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