Lemon Balm

(Melissa officinalis)

The lemon balm plant originated in southern Europe and is now found throughout the world. The lemony smell and pretty white flowers of the plant have led to its widespread cultivation in gardens. The leaves, stems, and flowers of lemon balm are used medicinally.

Charlemagne once ordered lemon balm planted in every monastery garden because of its beauty. It has been used traditionally by herbalists to treat wind, sleeping difficulties, and heart problems. In addition, topical applications to the temples were sometimes used by herbalists for insomnia or nerve pain.

What it does

This herb contain a lemon smelling volatile oil which consists of terpenes that have sedative and carminative effects. It also contains phenolic acids, bioflavanoids and other constituents that seem responsible for its thyroid regulating properties. It has healing, anti-viral benefits for cold sores and is said to be anti-bacterial, anti-spasmodic, anti-depressnat, anti-histamine and a heart sedative and brain tonic when in shock or stress.

Potential Uses

Anxiety Cold sores Depression
Genital herpes and infections (topically) Nervous Indigestion Panic attacks

Other information

Lemon Balm has also been used to treat colic, heartburn and wind. It may be beneficial for sleep disorders, viral infections, nervousness, migraine, nerve pain and heart problems.

Some preliminary studies suggest that Lemon Balm may protect the thyroid gland from antibodies that cause hyperthyroidism.

It is also thought to suppress the release of thyroid stimulating hormones in the brain.

It is available as a loose herb or herbal tea for internal consumption.


If you take anti-psychotic, tranquilliser or anti-convulsant medication you should not take Lemon Balm, due its sedative action.

Do not use Lemon Balm if you have an underactive thyroid.

If you suffer from glaucoma avoid using more potent, volatile oils at it may raise pressure in the eye.

At the time of writing there were no well known negative drug interactions with Lemon Balm.


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