Species— M. officinalis
WHAT IS LEMON BALM?
Lemon balm is a perennial herbaceous plant which belongs to mint family, called Lamiaceae. The scientific name of this plant and herb is Melissa officinalis. It is also called balm, common balm, balm mint, garden balm, lemon mint or sweet balm. [Trusted Source 1]
It is native to south—central Europe, Iran, Central Asia and the Mediterranean Basin, but now naturalized in the America and elsewhere. Lemon balm plant grows to a maximum height of about 70 to 150 cm. The leaves are yellow or dark green in color and have a mild lemon fragrance similar to mint. During the summer season, small white flowers full of nectar appear. Lemon balm leaves are very beneficial and this plant is used as a herb in the Western medicine. It contains antioxidants such as flavonoids, tannins, citronellol and eugenol.
Apart from this, many important minerals are also found in lemon balm including copper, manganese, zinc etc.
There are a wide range benefits of lemon balm. Some of the main advantages may include —
1. Relieving Cold Sore:
Sometimes there are red rashes on the skin around the lips. It also causes itching and mild swelling, which is called cold sore.
Cold sores caused by the herpes virus can also turn into mouth sores if not cured in time. [Trusted Source 2]
You can use lemon balm to get rid of it. It has antiviral properties, which help in relieving the cold sore caused by the herpes virus. [Trusted Source 3]
2. In Insomnia and Anxiety:
Stress, depression, anxiety and nervousness are the reasons why many people do not sleep at night. Lemon balm is also considered beneficial in treating insomnia and anxiety problem. For this, boil its leaves in water and drink it. Lemon balm has anti-stress and anxiolytic (a medication that inhibits anxiety) activity, which promotes good sleep by reducing stress. [Trusted Source 4] [Trusted Source 3]
3. Rich in Antioxidants:
Lemon balm has phenolic content and antioxidant properties. These help to overcome health problems caused by free radicals in your body. [Trusted Source 3]
4. Protects From Radiation Damage:
Radiation is used in cancer therapy and some other diseases and health problems which can cause many health problems. In such a situation, if you want to protect yourself from radiation therapy or any other type of radiation damage, then you can use lemon balm.
Actually, it helps to prevent damage to DNA caused by radiation. It also reduces oxidative stress. [Trusted Source 3]
5. Boosts Immunity:
Lemon balm can also help to increase your immunity level. Actually, it has anti-bacterial, antifungal and anti-parasitic properties. Therefore, it protects you from all diseases caused by bacteria.
Also, its anti-microbial property prevents germs from growing. [Trusted Source 3] [Trusted Source 5].
If your immune system is weak then your body may be vulnerable to viruses such as colds, flu and infection. Lemon balm also increases the production of white blood cells in your body.
6. Prevents Mouth Infection:
As we have told you in the article above, lemon balm has antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties. The properties of the lemon balm are capable of fighting many types of viruses and bacteria, so it can also be used to relieve oral infections. [Trusted Source 3]
You can rinse with lemon balm to fight bacteria that grow in the mouth. [Trusted Source 6]
If you are suffering from pain or swelling in the gums due to mouth infection, then the anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties present in it can give you relief. You can also apply a paste on the infection area.
7. Reduces Stress:
We have told you in the upper part of the article that lemon balm has anti-stress and anxiolytic properties. These properties present in lemon balm help to protect you from stress . Actually, the anxiolytic property acts like a drug that helps to relax your tense and tired nerves. [Trusted Source 4]
8. Promotes Weight Loss:
Nowadays many people are troubled by the problem of increasing weight. If you also fall in this category, you can use lemon balm tea. Lemon balm contains flavonoids, which help to control weight. [Trusted Source 7] [Trusted Source 8]
9. In Diabetes:
Lemon balm works as an anti-diabetic. Its extract helps to improve the lipid profile and reduce the glymic index i.e. glucose level. [Trusted Source 8]
In addition, lemon balm oil has also been found to be helpful in lowering blood glucose levels in patients with type-2 diabetes. [Trusted Source 9]
10. Helpful In Thyroid Problem:
Nowadays thyroid problems in women are increasing rapidly. According to statistics, 12 percent of the world’s population has a problem of thyroid at some time in their lifetime. This problem can be avoided by using lemon balm. Juices extracted from lemon balm are used to control overactive thyroid. There is an imbalance of thyroxine hormone when there is a thyroid problem, which leads to many problems.
Lemon balm prevents the thyroid from growing . It acts like thyroid inhibitors in the body. [Trusted Source 10]
According to a research conducted in the laboratory, dry extract of lemon balm balances the thyroid hormone. In addition, it also prevents thyroid hormones from becoming over—stimulated. Keep in mind that it can also affect thyroid—related medications. Therefore, in thyroid condition, take it only by asking the doctor. [Trusted Source 11]
11. In Headaches:
Lemon balm leaves have pain and inflammation properties, so its leaves are very beneficial in headache. To use it, extract the juice of lemon balm leaves and apply it on the head, or if you want, you can make lemon balm oil and massage it on the head. To make lemon balm oil, heat the leaves of lemon Balm in an essential oil on a low flame for about 10 minutes and then apply it at home after it get cool.
Lemon balm is believed to help cure headaches. For this reason, it is used in many types of aromatherapy. Actually, it has analgesic and anxiolytic properties, which help in curing headache. Also, if your mood is bad, lemon balm helps to improve it. You can cure your headache by drying its oil or by using its decoction. [Trusted Source 12]
12. Used As A Herbal Tea:
Due to the antioxidant and other essential properties present in it, you can use it like a herbal tea. In some countries tea made from the leaves of lemon balm is used as an alternative medicine to treat migraine, insomnia and stomach diseases. Also, lemon balm tea is also consumed to strengthen the heart and improve memory power. [Trusted Source 13]
13. For Beautiful Skin:
Lemon or garden balm helps to preserve your skin’s elasticity. Also, it has been considered helpful in reducing the damage done to the skin due to the sun’s ultraviolet rays. [Trusted Source 14]
Rosamarinic acid, salvinolic acid, caffeic acid and luteolin glucuronide present in it make it beneficial for the skin. You can also use it as a skin toner. [Trusted Source 11] [Trusted Source 15]
14. Used in Food:
Lemon balm can also be used in food. Both fresh and dry leaves of lemon balm can be used in food. It is used for flavor in burgers and patties. In addition, it is also used to add antioxidant properties to meats. [Trusted Source 16]
- Lemon balm plant is used to attract bees to make honey
- It is also grown and sold as an ornamental plant
- The essential oil is used as a perfume ingredient
- Its plant has other culinary and medicinal uses
- it is also used in some toothpastes
LEMON BALM NUTRITIONAL VALUE:
Lemon balm contains both vitamin C and thiamine (vitamin-B). Per 100 ml of lemon balm solution contains about 254 mg of vitamin C. At the same time, when its leaves are dried and stored, the amount of vitamin C drops by 50%. On freezing it, 25% vitamin C was found to be low in it. Talking about the amount of thiamine, 76.4 micrograms of vitamin B or thiamine is found in 100 ml solution. [Trusted Source 11]
HOW TO USE LEMON BALM?
- You can use it as a paste
- It can be used to make lip balm
- You can grind its leaves and use it as a face pack
- You can drink it like a herbal tea
SIDE EFFECTS OF LEMON BALM:
Lemon balm has its benefits, but due to its excessive consumption, it also has some disadvantages [Trusted Source 17][Trusted Source 3] —
- It has hypoglycemic properties which is beneficial in case of high blood pressure. At the same time, if it is taken excessively, it reduces the level of glucose in the body so much that you start feeling dull
- It is considered unsafe in pregnancy
- Its use during breastfeeding is not considered safe
- It has also been considered unsafe for pediatric patients
- It is advised not to be taken with thyroid medication
You can use lemon balm for health benefits by including it in food or as a tea substitute. After reading the benefits given in this article, if you feel that the solution to your health problem is hidden in lemon balm, then you can try this herb. During the use of lemon balm, make sure that you do not consume it in large quantities. If you have any kind of allergy to herbs, then get the medical advice.