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The benefits of Lemon Balm


What is it about this sweet lemon scented perennial herb that benefits our health?

Lemon balm has been used as far back as the middle ages to alleviate anxiety, enhance sleep and encourage digestion. Lemon balm supplements are made from the leaves of the plant. It is a member of the mint family. Essential oils made from lemon balm leaves contain plant chemicals called terpenes, which enhance the herb’s relaxing and antiviral effects. It is a hairy, light green coloured plant and small yellow flowers blossom from it during the months of June until September. A powerful lemon scent emanates from the leaves.

Lemon balm contains substances called tannins, which may be responsible for many of the herb’s antiviral effects. Lemon balm also contains eugenol, which calms muscle spasms, numbs tissues, and kills bacteria. The leaves can be made into a refreshing tea. It comes in capsule form, tinctures, creams and as an essential oil. Ancient Greek bee keepers found that by rubbing lemon balm leaves onto hives, it prevented bees from swarming, and persuaded them to return to their hives. The Greek name for

Lemon Balm is Melissa and Melissa means ‘bee’ in Greek. The Ancient Greek physician and pharmacologist, Dioscorides, discovered that by steeping the leaves in wine it helped to heal snakebites and scorpion stings. The ancient Greek naturalist Pliny used its leaves to help to prevent wounds from bleeding. In aromatherapy, lemon balm oil (Melissa Officinalis) is used for relaxation, insomnia and to ease depression. Lemon balm cream is effective for treating cold sores, wounds and insect bites.

In 1931 the author of A Modern Herbal, Maud Grieve wrote “It is now recognized as a scientific fact that the balsamic oils of aromatic plants make excellent surgical dressings: they give off ozone and thus exercise anti-putrescent effects. Being chemical hydrocarbons, they contain so little oxygen that in wounds dressed with the fixed balsamic herbal oils, the atomic germs of disease are starved out, and the resinous parts of these balsamic oils, as they dry upon the sore or wound, seal it up and effectually exclude all noxious air.”

During the 17th century French Carmelite nuns used to infuse lemon balm leaves into water which they called “miracle water.” They thought this helped to alleviate pain, congestion, melancholy, fever, memory problems and eye sight. The Romans brought Lemon balm to Great Britain. Today it grows in both England and North America. The author of the Declaration of Independence and the third U.S president, Thomas Jefferson grew lemon balm in his garden for both medicinal purposes and for culinary use.

Health benefits of Lemon balm

• Insomnia
• Anxiety
• Hyperthyroidism.
• Cold sores
• Cognitive functioning
• Insect bites
• Insect repellent
• Muscle pain
• Improves appetite
• Digestion problems
• Stomach problems
• Enhances mood


Don’t use lemon balm if you are pregnant, breast feeding, suffering from hypothyroidism or taking sedatives.

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