All about lemon balm
Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) is a lemon-scented herb that comes from the same family as mint. This herb naturally contains various active compounds such as rosmarinic acid, flavonoids, and triterpenes. Native to south-central Europe, the Mediterranean Basin, Iran, and Central Asia, lemon balm was used in ancient Greece and Rome topically for the treatment of wounds.
In the 17th Century the English Herbalist Culpeper claimed it could improve mood and stimulate clear thinking. Clinical trials have highlighted that lemon balm extracts standardised to rosmarinic acid have demonstrated clear benefits in regards to memory and cognitive performance.
Natural uses for lemon balm include chopping and putting into salads, added to hot water and honey to make a natural tea, used in skin balm as a natural mosquito repellent and even used as a hair rinse and scalp clarifier!
The top 8 health benefits of lemon balm are:
Lemon Balm is Mood enhancing
Research has shown that a dose of 600mg per day resulted in reduced negative mood effects and increase self-ratings of calmness.
Lemon Balm and Stress Management -
In a recent study lemon balm extract was given at a dose of 300mg twice daily to a group of stressed people with mild-to-moderate anxiety and sleep disturbances. This study found that lemon balm reduced anxiety by 18%, reduced anxiety-associated symptoms by 15% and lowered insomnia by 42%.
Lemon Balm is Anti-Viral -
The administration of lemon balm mint extract cream using dried extract from Melissa officinalis L. leaves, during an acute recurrence of herpes labialis significantly reduced the intensity of symptoms associated with this virus3. In vitro studies, lemon balm extract demonstrated the ability to reversibly block virus entry into the cell.
Lemon Balm Combats Free Radicals -
Results of biological investigations showed that rosmarinic acid (in lemon balm), depending on the concentration, reduced the amount of intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) in human keratinocyte cells and enhanced cell viability under oxidative stress.
Lemon Balm Aids Sleep
In people suffering from stress related sleep problems, lemon balm has been shown to improve sleep when taken at a dose of 300 mg twice daily for approximately two weeks.
Lemon Balm Improves Concentration
A study investigating 300mg of lemon balm extract supplementation on stress and cognitive function found that 300mg significantly improved maths performance alertness and immediate recall compared to baseline.
Lemon Balms connection with Ageing Brain Health
Lemon balm extract has been studied in people with mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease. After four months of treatment lemon balm was found to produce a significantly better outcome on cognitive function (Alzheimer’s disease assessment scale) than placebo and helped to reduce feelings of agitation.
Bolsters Memory - Lemon balm extract impacts on receptor binding properties, which in turn, have shown benefit for improved cognitive effects such as alertness and memory.
Benefits of a Lemon Balm Supplement
Whilst lemon balm is great to add to teas, smoothies and chopped in salads, a lemon balm supplement can often be found as a standardised extract. For example, an extract can be in a ratio of 5:1, meaning the supplement is 5 times stronger than the herb itself.
So Lemon Balm had a huge diversity in terms of its potential health benefits. This little gem of mothers nature can certainly have a big impact on people's lives for the better both physically and mentally.