LATIN NAME: Melissa officinalis
COMMON NAMES: Balm, baum, lemon balm, melissa.
PARTS USED: Leaves
LEMON BALM USE
Key actions: Mild sedative, carminative, spasmolytic, diaphoretic, antagonist, thyroid stimulating hormone, antiviral (when applied topically).
In clinic: Herbalists use this herb to treat depression, painful menstruation (dysmenorrhea), flatulent dyspepsia (indigestion) and fever.
- When used as a medicine, melissa is a nerve tonic, anti-viral and antidepressant with clinical evidence that it improves mood and cognitive function. It also reduces sensitivity to pain (Hasanein & Riahi, 2014).
- A specific for cold sores, shingles and stress. It has been proven in clinical trials to be highly active against the entire herpes simplex family (which includes both cold sores, shingles and genital herpes) and can be taken either as a tea or a tincture to reduce outbreaks and reoccurence. It can also be added to creams and ointments for topical treatment. (Astani, Navid & Schnitzler, 2014)
- It is moderately stimulant, diaphoretic, and antispasmodic but gentle enough for children and the elderly.
- Herbalists also use lemon balm to treat Graves disease (a form of hyperthyroidism) as lemon balm reduces the binding action of thyroid stimulating hormone in the body. (Santini et al, 2003)
- A warm infusion, drank freely, helps to produce sweating, or as a diaphoretic in fevers. It is also very useful in painful menstruation, and also to assist during periods in women. When given in fevers, it may be rendered more agreeable by the addition of lemon juice. The infusion may be taken at pleasure.
- Balm contains a bitter extractive substance, a little tannin, gum, and a peculiar volatile oil. A pound of the plant yields about four grains of the oil, which is of a yellowish or reddish-yellow color, very liquid, and possessing the fragrance of the plant in a high degree.
LEMON BALM APPLICATIONS
Infusion: 1 teaspoon of herb (2 to 4 g) to a cup of cold water. Pour boiling water over the herb and leave to infuse for 5 to 10 minutes. Flavour with lemon, ginger or honey if desired. Drink 3 times a day unless otherwise told by a medical herbalist.
Tincture: Take 2 to 6 ml (1:5 tincture), 3 times a day or as directed by a practitioner.
Fluid extract: 1:1 Take 2 to 4 ml, 3 times a day or as directed by a practitioner.
Dried Herb: Maximum of 12 g per day may be taken as a powder or capsules.
Specific: It is not recommended to be used beyond food consumption if you are taking thyroid medication.
General: We recommend that you consult with a qualified healthcare practitioner before using herbal products, particularly if you are pregnant, nursing, or on any medications.