If you have friends who use essential oils or enjoy tapping into homeopathic formulas, there’s a good chance you’ve heard of lemon balm before. Lemon balm is a highly popular herb because it is said to have a calming effect, as well as other potential health benefits. If you’re interested in using lemon balm plant, there are plenty of good reasons to try oils, extracts, teas, and supplements made from this leafy green herb.
Lemon balm plant is actually a member of the mint family. If you’ve ever grown mint, you know that it grows and spreads quickly, often overtaking garden beds and planters. Similarly, lemon balm plant is fairly easy to grow, often stretching 2 feet tall -or even higher if the plant isn’t maintained.
If you do a quick internet search for lemon balm today, you’ll find all sorts of information and recipes, including everything from lemon balm tea, to lemon balm cookies and even lemon balm pesto. However, lemon balm’s popularity isn’t a recent phenomenon.
In the Middle Ages, people relied upon lemon balm plant to calm their nerves, provide support from abdominal comfort, promote sleep, and support a healthy appetite. Before that, it was common for people to steep lemon balm in wine to provide other potential benefits, such as a better mood, healthy-looking skin, and more. While some of the historical uses for this plant are not backed up by research, there are several studies that can help us understand a little more about how lemon balm can be helpful.
Uses for Lemon Balm Plant
Typically, lemon balm supplements are made from the leaves of the plant. But what makes those leaves useful? According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, lemon balm essential oil contains a chemical called terpenes, which is known for having a calming effect. Lemon balm also has some anti-viral properties thanks to tannins, another chemical found in the herb. The eugenol found in lemon balm can calm muscle spasms or numb tissue. The properties of lemon balm work together to provide the following potential health benefits:
Support Heart Function
A 2012 study in the Journal of Nutrition found that when lemon balm essential oil (called Melissa oil in the study) is used aromatically, it can have a positive impact on high tryglyceride levels, a contributor to cardiovascular disease. Another study in Pharmaceutical Biology examined the impact of lemon balm on the heart’s resistance to stressful conditions. The animal study found that “the lower dose of the extract, by improving the balance of the redox system and by reducing the heart rate, may increase the heart resistance to injury.”
As we mentioned earlier in this article, lemon balm has been used for centuries to help promote sleep. However, there aren’t many modern research studies to back up this claim. But one study did find that when combined with valerian, lemon balm may support a healthy sleep cycle in women experiencing menopause.
Promotes Calmness and a Healthy Mood
This is another area where studies have examined the effects of lemon balm in combination with other herbs. In a UK study, 18 participants received two separate single doses of lemon balm extract or a placebo for seven days. One dose of lemon balm was 300 mg and the other was 600 mg. Researchers concluded that the 600 mg dose of lemon balm increased mood and significantly increased calmness and alertness.
Lemon balm is a versatile herb that comes in several forms, including tea, capsules, extract, tinctures, oils, and creams. We offer a variety of lemon balm products in several different forms, allowing you to find the best product for your individual health goals. If you already use lemon balm, leave us a comment below to tell us about your experience. We’d love to hear what works for you!