Lemon Balm

What is 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.

What is Lemon Balm Used For?

Lemon balm is often used alone or in combination with other synergistic herbs. The supportive role of lemon balm in the body is mainly due to its active constituents, particularly for its 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. Much of this research stems from an understanding of historical use of this herb.

Research and traditional use also support using lemon balm in a supportive role for the immune system. Research demonstrates that lemon balm supports the immune system by initiating a healthy immune response and promoting health of the cell wall. While human studies are limited, in vitro studies do show promise for this herb in helping to promote a healthy immune system.

Uses and Benefits of Lemon Balm


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.

Active Constituents of Lemon Balm

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

Parts Used

  • Leaf and leaf oil.

Important Precautions

Should be used with caution with sedative medication but is not an absolute contraindiaction.

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.

*This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
Ecologically Harvested is a term that describes all herbs sold by Gaia Herbs that are not Certified Organic. Ecologically Harvested herbs include herbs that are harvested in their natural habitat, (i.e., wild harvested) according to specific guidelines for harvesting these herbs (i.e., away from roads and industry, as well as guidelines to avoid overharvesting). Our term, Ecologically Harvested, also includes herbs that are grown in managed woodland areas, fields designated for specific herbs, and herbs that are grown by indigenous growers, such as Kava Kava. All Ecologically Harvested herbs pass pesticide and heavy metal testing as well as microbial testing, prior to release.