Lemon balm, scientific name melissa officinalis, is a plant of the Lamiaceae family, the same as mint, oregano, sage and rosemary, to give some examples. With its leaves characterized by a lemon aroma, lemon balm is a wonderful choice for the gardens or the balconies where it can be grown. The lemon balm leaves can be used to prepare infusions and decoctions after a drying process. Alternatively, you can easily buy, even online, dried lemon balm leaves ready to be infused. But let's see the properties that make lemon balm a very popular plant in herbal medicine.
Lemon balm, properties
Lemon balm is antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, it is also very useful in case of stomach pain, poor digestion and abdominal cramps, even those related to heavy and painful periods, since it is digestive, carminative and calms spasms (Miraj et al, Evid Based Complement Alternat Med, 2017). Given the soothing and antispasmodic action, lemon balm is also beneficial in relieving coughs and headaches. In addition to this, lemon balm also performs an important anxiolytic action, restoring calm and counteracting nervousness and anxiety, it helps in case of insomnia and is diuretic and antihypertensive (Joukar et al, Res Cardiovasc Med., 2015). Finally, this plant contributes to lowering cholesterol by reducing its synthesis by the liver (Monaca et al, Evid Based Complement Alternat Med, 2018).
Infusion, decoction and baths
You can take lemon balm in the form of an infusion, it will help you especially in case of anxiety, insomnia, menstrual pain, abdominal cramps and colitis. Bring a cup of water to a boil, remove from the heat and add a tablespoon of dried lemon balm leaves. Let it brew for 10 minutes, filter and drink. Instead, for a stronger calming action, useful in case of exhaustion, or as an analgesic to combat headaches and migraines you can try lemon balm decoction. Bring a cup of water and a tablespoon of dried plant to a boil, simmer for two to three minutes, remove from the heat and let it brew for a few minutes, filter and drink. Alternatively, you can prepare a relaxing, refreshing and regenerating bath by adding a decoction of lemon balm to the bath water, bringing half a liter of water with 2 tablespoons of dried plant to a boil and letting it simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, filter and add to the bath water.
Be careful if you are taking thyroid medications as interactions may occur. Avoid in pregnancy, breastfeeding and if you suffer from glaucoma. Do not exceed with doses and never take lemon balm continuously for more than a month as excessive use could cause the opposite effect to that desired, with an increase in anxiety and nervousness.