In modern times, lemon balm has become popular as a calming and soothing herb, mainly for the potential to help support symptoms of minor sleeplessness and nervous stomach disorders in adults and children. It is said to help stimulate appetite. Extracts of the herb have demonstrated activity and are an ingredient of ointments and creams for topical use.
Preparation and Dosage: A cup of lemon balm tea (1.5 - 4.5 g of dried leaf) may be taken several times a day. Various products are available, mainly for oral use. Lemon balm is often used as a minor ingredient and then it is unlikely to have any therapeutic effect.
Active Ingredients: The product should contain at least 0.05% of essential oil (a complex mixture monoterpenoids and sesquiterpenoids). The main ingredient is citronellal (about 30-40%), together with 10-30% citral. Citral actually comprises two compounds, citral a (geranial) and citral b (neral) in a ratio of 4:3. Major sesquiterpenoids include germacrene D and beta-ancaryophyllene. The drug contains about 4% rosmarinic acid (also known as labiate tannin), phenolic acids, triterpenes, monoterpene glycosides and flavonoids.
Health Effects: The essential oil has spasmolytic and sedative properties and is known for its disinfectant activities. This is plausible with regard to the biochemical properties of lipophilic monoterpenes with aldehyde groups. Water extracts containing rosmarinic acid have disinfectant effects. They also exhibit antihormonal and antithyreotropic effects.
Notes: The herb has a long history of health use in Europe, associated with bees and honey, hence the name Melissa (mel is the Latin for honey).
Status: Pharm.; Comm. E+; ESCOP 2; WHO 2.
The Ancients called Balm Melisphyion, which means honey leaf. Virgil recommended making it available to bees hence the epithet apiastrum. The slight stimulating action it has on the nervous system has earned it a reputation hardly credited today as a cephalic, cordial, stomachic, carminative. It is, however, regarded as slightly stimulating and anti-spasmodic. It can be useful in nervous complaints, hysteria, cardialgia, spasms, vertigo, in all cases of general atony.
In a tea-like infusion it can be used to help support flatulence, lack of appetite and indigestion. The Arabs used it extensively as a cordial. A distilled water is made from it. It is the basis of compound Melissa water, or compound alcoholate of Melissa; Carmelite's water, often used to good effect in inhalations; internally, in a dose of one teaspoonful to one glass of sweetened water, in cases of fainting, flatulence and weakness.
The fragrant and pretty lemon balm, a form of mint, is one of the good guys of the herb garden and pantry. Modern herbalists use the plant's green leaves medicinally, as the ancient Romans did. Native to the eastern Mediterranean, lemon balm is cultivated widely and known under a variety of names, including melissa, sweet balm, and sweet mary.
Potential Health Benefits
Lemon balm lives up to its name; it's a balm for a nervous stomach and a approach for sleep disorders.
Lemon balm leaves contain terpenes, which are tranquilizing agents, plus bitter principles and flavonoids according to Commission E. In addition to its sedative effects, lemon balm reduces flatulence. The herb's lemon smell comes from citronella, which is also present in lemons and lemongrass. Animal studies have shown disinfectant, and disinfectant effects. These results haven't been obtained in humans, however, where controlled studies of lemon balm are few in number.
How to Use the Herb
Fresh leaves and dry extracts make a refreshing tea. Use 1.5-4.5 grams of dried leaves. Or pour boiling water over a sprig of fresh leaves and steep for several minutes for a lovely, lemon-scented tea.
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Take 1 capsule, 3 times daily, with meals.
Do not use if you are currently on thyroid or hormones medication.
No significant adverse effects from lemon balm have been reported. Unlike sedative drugs, lemon balm is safe even while driving or operating machinery. Lemon balm's sedating effects are not intensified by alcohol.
No known drug interactions, side effects, or contraindications.
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End of More Photographs - Lemon Balm Leaf - 450 mg
* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Products are intended to support general well being and are not intended to treat, diagnose, mitigate, prevent, or cure any condition or disease. If conditions persist, please seek advice from your medical doctor. Information provided at ZooScape.com relies partly on Traditional Uses. The essence of the current American rule on Traditional Uses is, as stated by FTC, "Claims based on historical or traditional use should be substantiated by confirming scientific evidence, or should be presented in such a way that consumers understand that the sole basis for the claim is a history of use of the product for a particular purpose."