Lemon balm (also known as Melissa Officinalis) is in the mint family. The leaves are the part of the plant that are used for herbal medicine. The term Balm is from the derivative of balsam and it refers to the nice smell of the plant when the leaves are crushed in the hand.
Lemon balm is rich in terpenoids (volatile oil – responsible for the aromatic effect of plants) and flavonoids (plant pigment – anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-viral) and has rosmaric acid, which is a powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant. Rosmaric acid is in the following plants, which is why you will see them combined in herbal compounds:
Lemon balm is known historically as the joyful plant that helps in nervousness and also dyspepsia. It can also be used as an antiviral both internally and externally, such as on a herpes simplex (cold sore or fever blister).
Lemon Balm takes effect when taken in 45 minutes. It is commonly used to treat situational anxiety, such as a trip to the dental office or a school play.
Several studies have been done in benign heart palpations, and after consuming lemon balm at a therapeutic dose for 2 weeks, there was a decrease in palpations and insomnia.
Also done on studies with Alzheimer’s patients who deal with agitation, after taking lemon balm for 4 months, they had a lot less agitation and even at some dosages an increase in memory speed.
Lemon Balm has also shown to be well tolerated by children, even at very early ages, and it is used for nervousness, trouble going to sleep, insomnia, and ADHD.
How I like to use it in my family is in the evening to wind down. We will do it in tincture form directly into the mouth before brushing our teeth, and it can help the excitement of the day to melt away. Here are the dosages for different ages:
2-4 years old 10-20 drops
5-8 years old 20-30 drops
9-12 years old 30-40 drops
After 12 years old they are given more adult dosages of 80 drops.
When brewing tea made out of lemon balm, the oils are volatile and you need to keep it covered while it steeps to maintain the anti-viral properties at its maximum strength.
Use 1 tablespoon fresh per cup of water to brew your tea.
Remember, ancient herbs are still some of the best medicines, whether as a stand alone or an adjunct therapy with your pharmaceuticals. To know what herb is best for you, speak to an herbalist today or someone in our office!