Lemon balm has a beautiful lemon fragrance and many wonderful health benefits. It is one of the most popular herbs for promoting good health. Like many herbs, it has been used for centuries to treat various health conditions. As it has been claimed to cure many conditions, researchers have put Melissa officinalis to the test.
In one study, researchers found that the volatile oils and anti-viral compounds in lemon balm have powerful properties. The anti-viral properties of lemon balm are due to its caffeic, ferulic and rosmarinic compounds. These properties were so powerful that the viruses placed inside the test tube were destroyed in as little as three hours.
Here are some of the healing and health benefits of this wonder herb.
Heals Cold Sores, HSV Infections
A study showed that a topical ointment containing lemon balm was found helpful in treating cold sores and other skin problems caused by herpes simplex virus or HSV. The study showed that lemon balm cream can significantly reduce the swelling and redness of lip sores caused by HSV. This was achieved after using lemon balm cream for just two days.
Protects the Skin
The ferulic and caffeic acids in lemon balm are also capable of penetrating into the sub-cutaneous layers of the skin. This effect provides the skin with protection from the sun’s rays.
Lemon balm is also rich in flavonoids that function as antioxidants. They also act as an astringent while providing antiviral effects.
Calming and Soothing
If what you need is an emotional detox, then lemon balm is a handy herb to use. Its ability to calm the nerves and relieve the symptoms of anxiety and stress have been known and used for thousands of years. It also soothes migraines, neuralgia, headaches, heart palpitations and hysteria.
Lemon balm works well when mixed with herbs such as valerian. Lemon balm mixed with valerian can help provide a restful night’s sleep. Lemon balm has mild sedative effects when given in higher doses, which is helpful for people who are experiencing agitation and sleepless nights.
In aromatherapy, lemon balm extract can also bring about calming effects to overexcited sufferers of dementia.
The nervine properties of lemon balm provide a soothing effect to the nervous system. This is because its active compounds can directly impact the thyroid gland, causing a reduction of excess T3, which is known to cause nervous tension.
Eases Muscle Tension Without Drowsiness
There are studies that show the combination of lemon balm and valerian tincture can be beneficial for helping individuals experience relief from muscle tension without causing the patient to feel too drowsy, which is a ‘side effect’ of some relaxant herbs.
Relaxes the Digestive System
The calming effect of lemon balm can provide benefit to the digestive system as it relaxes the digestive tract, thereby giving relief to an upset stomach, colic, dyspepsia, gas, stomach cramps and indigestion.
Although lemon balm works effectively in stopping spasms, cramps and pains associated with irritable bowel syndrome it does not cause constipation.
The most common use for Leomon Balm is make a refreshing herbal tea. Fresh or dry leaves can be used but do not steep for too long or the tea will become bitter and could cause a headache.
Lemon Balm is a great addition to chicken and fish dishes, chop it up well, incorporate it in butter to make delicious lemony herb butter. Add it to vinegars and oils for extra flavour.
Lemon Balm goes well with all types of other herbs, parsley, dill, mint, chives and basil. Add to boiled peas and new potatoes for a nice summery zest.
If you’d like to grow your own lemon balm and make a cup of tea when needed, you can dry the leaves or use fresh. If dried leaves are used, use 1 tablespoon of leaves and if fresh use 2 tablespoons. Poor the boiling water in and let steep. Once cool enough to drink, you can benefit from its goodness.