Lemon BalmWikipedia: Melissa_officinalis | Teaviews: lemon-balm-tea
Updated: Apr. 11, 2012
About Lemon Balmlemongrass, lemon verbena, and lemon myrtle, but its aroma is usually described as gentler and less intense than these herbs. Of these herbs, it is most closely related to lemon verbena, and not closely related to the others.
Although easy to grow and widely available as plants in nursery centers, it is not as widely available as a dried herb, and is an uncommon ingredient in herbal blends.
Lemon balm can be brewed as a fresh herbal tea, by steeping fresh leaves directly in boiling water, or it can be dried, and the dry leaves steeped.
Growing lemon balm:
Photo courtesy of Datkins, Wikimedia Commons, licensed under CC BY-3.0.
Medicinal uses:Lemon balm is commonly used as a relaxing herb, to reduce anxiety and improve mood. A small double-blind control study examined the effects of various doses of lemon balm, and found that self-reported "calmness" was increased following even the lowest dose, but at the highest dose, alertness was reduced. The extract of lemon balm was also found in one study to improve cognitive function and reduce agitation among people suffering from mild to moderate Alzheimer's.
Lemon balm is also used in aromatherapy. A preliminary study of people with severe dementia suggested that the aroma of lemon balm can reduce agitation in people with dementia.
Lemon balm also shows evidence of antimicrobial effects. The essential oil was found in one study to have radical-scavenging (antioxidant) properties, as well as anti-bacterial and anti-fungal effects against a number of different strains of bacteria and fungi. The essential oil of lemon balm has also been found to have anti-viral effects against the HSV-2 (Herpes) virus, when used at non-toxic levels.
1. Kathy Abascal et. al., Alternative and Complementary Therapies, Vol. 10 No. 6, Dec. 14, 2004.
2. D.O. Kennedy et. al., Modulation of mood and cognitive performance following acute administration of Melissa officinalis (lemon balm), Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior, Vol. 72, No. 4, July 2002, pp. 953–964.
3. S Akhondzadeh et. al., Melissa officinalis extract in the treatment of patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease: a double blind, randomised, placebo controlled trial, Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry, 2003.
4. C.G. Ballard et. al., Aromatherapy as a safe and effective treatment for the management of agitation in severe dementia: the results of a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial with Melissa.(PDF). Journal of clinical Psychiatry, 2002.
5. Neda Mimica-Dukic et. al., Antimicrobial and Antioxidant Activities of Melissa officinalis L. (Lamiaceae) Essential Oil, Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 2004, Vol. 52, No. 9, pp 2485–2489.
6. A. Allahverdiyev et. al., Antiviral activity of the volatile oils of Melissa officinalis L. against Herpes simplex virus type-2, Phytomedicine, Vol. 11, Nos 7–8, 25, Nov. 2004, pp. 657–661.
More on lemon balm:
Urban Herbs #3 - Lemon Balm - Brett Boynton of Black Dragon Tea Bar writes about Lemon Balm.
Best Lemon Balm
The notion of the "best" Lemon Balm is subjective, because different people have different tastes. We present the most often-rated and highest-rated teas in this category, and allow you to draw your own conclusions.
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Examples of Lemon Balm
The following are examples of the 5 selections of Lemon Balm in our database.