Officially known as Melissa officinalis, Lemon Balm has been used traditionally for reducing stress and anxiety and improving cognitive skills. Lemon Balm (aka bee balm or garden balm) has been used in Eastern Europe for centuries and particularly in Croatia. It has been cultivated in the Mediterranean are for 2000 years. There is documented history of Lemon Balm use as far back as 50 to 80 B.C.
Because Lemon Balm appears to induce calmness, it has been used as a sleep aid. It has been found to be effective especially for those with anxiety related sleep disturbances and insomnia.
For centuries Lemon Balm has been used to treat a variety of ailments. Applying a preparation of lemon balm extract to cold sores appears to promote healing due to its anti-viral properties. In babies, it has been used to calm colic when combined with fennel and chamomile. When combined with chamomile, licorice, peppermint, angelica and milk thistle it is said to calm an upset stomach.
There is research involving dementia patients who after four months of taking Lemon Balm had reduced agitation that is common in Alzheimer’s patients. It appears to slightly improve the signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s when used over a period of time.
Most women experience anxiety and nervousness when going through menopause. For most this is a new and disturbing effect. Even though it has been used for thousands of years, Lemon Balm has been examined by Western researchers and has been found to be effective for eliminating anxiety and sleep disturbances of menopause.
As always when beginning a new supplement or natural treatment be sure to consult your health care provider. As a precaution do not take Lemon Balm with thyroid medications or sedatives. Do not take if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.