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Lemon Balm

Wikipedia: Melissa_officinalis | Teaviews: lemon-balm-tea 
Last Updated: Apr. 11, 2012 

About Lemon Balm

White cup filled with pale yellowish herbal tea with floating green leaves, on light wooden backgroundCup of Fresh Lemon Balm Leaves Steeping for Herbal Tea, Photo © Dobromila (Wikimedia Commons), CC BY-SA 3.0.
Lemon balm, Melissa officinalis, is an herb in the mint family that is commonly used to brew an herbal tea, both on its own and in blends. Lemon balm shares certain components of its essential oil with lemongrass, 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

Lemon balm plant showing neat, symmetrical growth, gently-serrated leaves, oppositely arranged, light green in colorLemon Balm (Melissa officinalis), Herb Garden, St. Andrew's-Sewanee, Photo © Datkins (Wikimedia Commons), CC BY 3.0.
Lemon balm grows as a perennial, and is very easy to cultivate in moist temperate climates. It grows aggressively and can sometimes become a pest in gardens; it often naturalizes and grows wild in gardens and even in cities. It can be grown easily from seed or from cutting, and tends to grow in clumps.

Medicinal uses

Lemon balm is commonly used as a relaxing herb, to reduce anxiety and improve mood.[1] 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.[2] 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.[3]

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.[4]

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.[5] 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.[6]


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:

Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) on Wikipedia

Urban Herbs #3 - Lemon Balm - Brett Boynton of Black Dragon Tea Bar writes about Lemon Balm.

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70 / 100
Picture of Bulk Lemon Balm, Cut & Sifted, Organic

I'm used to drinking iced herbal tea brewed from fresh lemon balm, or from my own dried batches of the herb, which I dry in whole-leaf form. This herb was pretty finely broken, and had a pretty different flavor and aroma.

The aroma is only very mildly lemony, much less so than my own batches of the herb, but it's v...

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Picture of Bulk Lemon Balm, Cut & Sifted, Organic

Bulk Lemon Balm, Cut & Sifted, Organic

Style:Lemon Balm
Region:United States of America
Caffeine:Caffeine Free
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