Lemon balm has a calming action, is diuretic, carminative and antispasmodic, useful in case of cramps and stomach ache. And from today we know that lemon balm is also an ally in cases of anxiety, depression and insomnia. This emerges in fact from two recent scientific studies, both published by two groups of Iranian scientists, the first in the journal Phytotherapy research (Ghazizadeh et al, Phytother res, 2021), the second in the journal RBGO (Shirazi et al, RBGO, 2021).
Lemon balm against anxiety and depression
The first research is a review, aimed at analyzing the results of previous studies and understanding the effectiveness of lemon balm on anxious and depressive states. Well, what has emerged is that lemon balm is able to improve the symptoms of anxiety and depression, especially in the acute phase. Plus, lemon balm works without major side effects.
Lemon balm against sleep disorders
The second study focused on the ability of lemon balm to treat sleep disorders, particularly in postmenopausal women. For this purpose, 60 women were recruited, all postmenopausal and with sleep disturbances caused by continuous nocturnal awakenings. The volunteers were divided into three groups. The first group was asked to take capsules containing 500 mg of lemon balm every day for two months. The second group took a drug for the treatment of anxiety, citalopram, and the third group a placebo. The women then had to fill out a questionnaire to record any changes in the quality of sleep as the experiment progressed. What emerged after two months of treatment was that significantly greater improvements were observed in the group that took lemon balm compared to the group that took citalopram and the group that took placebo. These benefits have also been reflected in improvements in the quality of life during the day. The explanation for what has been reported is that lemon balm has an anxiolytic action and increases the levels of GABA in the brain. GABA is a neurotransmitter with the function of inhibiting the central nervous system, bringing calm and relaxation. In addition, lemon balm has no side effects, just as reported in the study in question.
Lemon balm in capsules or herbal tea
You can find lemon balm in the form of capsules in herbalist's shops and pharmacies. For intake, refer to the instructions on the package. Alternatively, you can also use lemon balm herbal tea, a spoonful in a cup of boiling water, leave to infuse for about ten minutes, then filter.