However, one exceptional herb, Lemon balm, scientifically described as Melissa officinalis, offers many benefits and has numerous uses.
Lemon balm is a part of the mint family. The plant to for attracting bees. It does not grow very tall and has small yellow flowers that bloom in spring and summer months. The leaves can be yellowish green to dark green, depending on the soil type and climate. Rubbing these leaves on hands exudes a tart and sweet aroma.
If you haven’t yet discovered lemon balm, let me introduce you to your new favorite herb. There are so many wonderful uses for lemon balm!
Especially if you have trouble sleeping, you will likely find this wonderful yet gentle herb immensely helpful. But there are plenty of other uses for lemon balm and reasons to love it besides its power as a sleepytime tea. Use lemon balm in the garden, for cleaning, and as a tasty addition to numerous recipes.
I love lemon balm so much that I’m letting it take over huge portions of my not-very-big yard. Seriously, you can never have enough of this terrific plant. Even if you don’t garden, consider getting dried lemon balm to add to your arsenal of herbal soothers. I’ve found it an incredibly effective and cheap means to better sleep.
Storing And Using Lemon Balm
Ideally, lemon balm leaves can be stored in the refrigerator for a few days. Dried leaves of the plant can also be preserved in airtight containers.
In the market, you can find Lemon balm leaves in various forms. Dried leaves can be purchased in jars. You can also purchase Lemon balm tea, capsule, and essential oil.
The good thing about lemon balm is that nearly all of its parts can be used for healing various conditions and ailments in humans. The leaves, stems, and flowers are all beneficial. Even in the ancient Roman civilization, it was used for medical treatments.
Effective In Treating Cold Sores:
Lemon balm has proven antiviral properties. A number of studies have indicated that the herb can be used to heal cold sores that are caused by Herpes. Using lemon balm based cream on sores brings positive results. Some other studies showed that lemon balm can treat a primary HSV-1 infection. This cream also helps in coping with oral and genital herpes, the latter caused by HSV-2. The lemon balm that has 1% lemon extract can considerably bring down the healing time.
Helps In Coping With Dementia And Related Ailments:
Researchers have shown that using lemon balm can be helpful in treating dementia and memory loss related ailments. A study carried out by the Northumbria University researchers in 2003 found out that candidates who took lemon balm achieve better marks in memory tests. It is also said to reduce agitation caused by Alzheimer’s disease in those who use the balm.
Helps Cope With Insomnia And Anxiety:
Owing to growing stress and incessant multi-tasking that people are subjected to nowadays, sleeping problems and anxiety have become common. A number of studies indicate that using lemon balm can be useful for coping with these two problems.
When the herb is used in conjunction with other herbs like chamomile and valerian, the effect is better. A clinical trial carried out by the University of Michigan researchers found the herb to be effective in treating insomnia. The nice thing is its sedative effect, which does not get intensified by drinking.
Acts As An Antioxidant:
Unknowingly you get exposed to harmful free radicals every day. These can be damaging to your health. To battle the effects of free radicals, you need antioxidants. Lemon balm contains oodles of antioxidants.
Counters Damages Caused By Radiation Exposure:
For treating cancer and some other disorders, exposure to radiation becomes necessary. However, people subjected to radiation exposure have to cope with several side effects afterward. Studies have indicated that using lemon balm can reduce the impact of exposure to radiation. One case study revealed that people who used lemon balm suffered less from plasma DNA damage.
Improves Digestive Health And Battles Gastrointestinal Disorders:
Drinking lemon balm tea and its infusion can help improve the condition of your digestive health. It has been used since ages to heal gastrointestinal distress, including various stomach problems and indigestion. The herb is also useful in alleviating symptoms of bloating. The essential oils present in the herb help soothe the gastrointestinal tract. This herb is also combined with peppermint and other herbs to effectively treat dyspepsia, which, in layman terms, is nothing but heartburn!
Lemon balm is also used in the preparation of a commercial drug called Iberogast, which is used extensively to treat acute gastrointestinal conditions such as flatulence, colic and an upset stomach.
Helps Alleviate Muscle Pain, Aches:
Lemon balm can be effective in reducing the muscle pain and aches that accompany flu. Its antispasmodic action helps reduce muscular spasms. Using Lemon balm leads to sweating when you have a fever, which brings some relief. With sweat, toxins in the body also get discarded. One of its components, eugenol, helps in pain reduction.
Boosts Immunity Levels:
Using lemon balm can boost your immunity levels. It has components like caffeic and rosmarinic acids, and these have antibacterial and antiviral properties. Lemon balm effectively thwarts the onset of infection in healthy cells.
Works Wonders For Skin Health:
Lemon balm is useful for keeping the skin in top condition, both for women and men. It is ideal to treat skin inflammation. It has strong natural astringents, and hence, using the herb can benefit those with oily and acne-prone skin. Helps in cleansing clogged skin pores, which actually pave a way to acne and skin rashes.
Treats Mouth Infection:
To treat instances of oral infections and results like bleeding gums and bad breath, you can resort to using lemon balm. Mixing a few drops of Lemon balm essential oil to a mouthwash and then use it to gargle will kill the bacteria and freshen up the insides of your mouth.
It Helps Tensed Nerves Relax:
You may get tensed owing to a number of reasons, personal and professional. The mild sedative nature of lemon balm can be your solution. Using lemon balm tincture or infusion in such times works wonders. You may use it to release tension after returning from work.
Things That You Need To Be Cautious About:
While you can use lemon balm for a lot of medicinal and other needs, a few aspects need to be analyzed beforehand.
- Drug Interactions:
Using lemon balm in combination with specific medications and sedatives is not advisable. Since it already has sedative properties, using it with OTC sedative drugs can have adverse consequences. While it remains disputable whether it interacts with antiretroviral agents or not, it is better that HIV patients undergoing such therapy, refrain from using the herb.
- Not Ideal For Glaucoma Patients:
Studies have found that lemon balm essential oil can cause increased pressure in the eyes. While the study was carried out on animals, it is better than people with glaucoma avoid using the herb. Patients suffering from glaucoma may have interference with their existing medications if they ingest the lemon balm leaves.
- Not Suitable For People Scheduled For Surgery:
People who are likely to undergo surgery, or are in the recuperation period, should not use lemon balm in any form. In those phases, general sedatives are used and an addition of lemon balm can prolong sleep.
- Allergic Reactions:
While most people like a lemon balm as food or a tea, there are a few who are allergic to the herb. Side effects can include nausea, dizziness, and vomiting. However, these can occur when someone has taken a large amount of lemon balm orally.
Lemon balm plant has myriad health benefits, so try this herb today! However, be sure not to ingest large doses of the herb. Always consult a medical practitioner before you self-medicate!