Lemon balm – the smell alone can bring a smile to your face, reminiscent of summer and joy. This plant from the mint family has been studied for its effects on anything from insomnia to cancer.
Gentle, delicious, yet extremely versatile in its benefits, lemon balm has a lot to offer:
Anxiety & Insomnia relief
Traditionally, lemon balm has been used to help relieve anxiety, stress and insomnia. Its mild sedative effect is a well-known feature, but it also goes beyond that.
For example, lemon balm improves hyperactivity, concentration problems and impulsiveness in elementary school children and enhances mood and cognitive performance in adults. It is one of the top herbs for decreasing stress, anxiety and hyperactivity while increasing focus and calmness.
A natural sleep aid, it also seems to help reduce symptoms of insomnia and sleep disorder, including during menopause when such symptoms are very commonplace.
The difference between Lemon Balm being an effective anti-anxiety herb and a sleep aid is the dosage. Brew a slightly stronger cup of tea if you are looking to relax and fall asleep easily, or combine it with Valerian tea, as these two are natural companions that will help you to get a deep and restful night’s sleep.
Soothing the stomach is another popular use of lemon balm extract, so if you regularly suffer from indigestion, excess flatulence, constipation, acid reflux disease, cramping or bloating, having a relaxing cup of this tea every day can optimize your digestion and ensure proper nutrient uptake.
Lemon Balm is what’s known as a ‘carminative herb‘, meaning it can relieve stagnant digestion, ease abdominal cramping, and promote the overall digestive process. The essential oils in Lemon Balm contain chemicals known as “terpenes” that relax muscles and relieve symptoms such as excess gas.
Lemon Balm contains both “choloretics” and “colagogues”, which may also help with liver and gall bladder problems.
Anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant
Inflammatory conditions come in many varieties, ranging anywhere from arthritis and joint disorders to indigestion, allergic reactions and headaches. Lemon balm has a number of proven anti-inflammatory compounds that can quickly reduce or eliminate these conditions when used regularly.
Lemon balm can help to fight free radical damage in ways that may prove to be remarkable in natural medicine, especially knowing that inflammatory issues are the root cause of many life threating illnesses.
Lemon balm has been researched for its effects on cancer prevention, and perhaps most notably in this particular benefit of lemon balm is its potential impact against a specific kind of cancer known as glioblastoma multiforme.
This fast-spreading cancer usually begins in the brain and has no known effective treatments. However, a study found that lemon balm caused cell death in these cancer cells and stopped the expression of a protein responsible for the drug resistance cancers develop to traditional treatment methods, such as chemotherapy.
Other studies have found lemon balm products to have the same effects on other cancer cell lines, like breast, colorectal and liver cancer, as well as leukemia cells.
Another important benefit was found – a study that looked at supplementing the diet of medical professionals consistently exposed to low levels of radiation with lemon balm showed that it may be an effective way to protect them against unhealthy levels of oxidative stress.
The “rosmarinic acid”, an important part of lemon balm benefits, has neuroprotective effects helping to protect the cells of the brain thereby potentially slowing down the aging of this all-important organ.
Lemon Balm also contains powerful antioxidants such as “eugenol” which intercept free radicals before they can attack brain cells.
For people suffering from or at risk for Alzheimer’s disease, lemon balm extract or tea can help to improve cognitive function and sharpen memory.
This extract is one of the oldest and most trusted remedies for painful menstrual cramps. Also, a warm cup of this delicious drink can soothe the discomfort of painful periods, and relieve the anxiety or mood swings that often accompany menstruation.
Thyroid conditions affect approximately 100 million people around the world., and one of the two common thyroid conditions, hyperthyroidism, can benefit from the healing properties of lemon balm.
Extract of lemon balm is one of the natural treatments that health practitioners prefer to use when attempting to regulate overactive thyroid. It has an especially good effect on Grave’s disease.
The sedative nature of this herbal extract also helps to suppress blood pressure, making it an ideal relaxing brew for people who suffer from hypertension.
This can help lower chances of developing atherosclerosis, as well as experiencing heart attacks and strokes. If you are already taking blood pressure medication, be sure to speak to your doctor before adding lemon balm tea to your diet, as there could be negative interactions.
Diabetes is a serious problem in Western health. Lemon balm can offer a natural way to help prevent and cure diabetes, without any negative side effects.
Researchers have tested both lemon balm essential oil and tea and their effect on high blood sugar. Both produce similar results by reducing blood sugar levels and reducing oxidative stress related to diabetes.
There are antibacterial and antiseptic properties of this herb that make it an effective weapon against a variety of colds, flu and infections. Aside from the antioxidant effects, this herb can also help promote the production of white blood cells and eliminate mucus and phlegm, which is where many pathogens like to hide and thrive.
Lemon balm specifically shows a high level of antibacterial activity against candida. This is a common yeast infection that causes a number of symptoms including exhaustion, brain fog, digestive problems, and a weakened immune system.
Lemon balm uses also extend to topical application, due in part to their antiviral qualities. Specifically, when applied directly to the skin, it is a useful herbal remedy to help treat the herpes virus.
Lemon balm, being a part of the mint family, has a very strong smell that the bugs (luckily) don’t like and so can be used as a natural repellent. To keep away those nasty biters, put some extract on the exposed skin, or use it to make a home-made repellent!