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Lemon Balm

SCIENTIFIC NAME(S): Melissa officinalis L.
Family Lamiaceae (Mints)

COMMON NAME(S):Lemon balm, balm, melissa, sweet balm

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

History

Lemon balm has been used in herbal medicine since the times of Pliny, Dioscorides, Paracelsus, and Gerard. The name "melissa" corresponds to the Greek word for bee, while "balm" is a contraction of balsam.The plant had culinary and medicinal uses,with the principal historical medicinal uses being carminative, diaphoretic, and antipyretic.

Botany :- Lemon balm is a low perennial herb with ovate- or heart-shaped leaves that have a lemon odor when bruised. The small yellow or white flowers are attractive to bees and other insects. It is indigenous to the Mediterranean region and western Asia, and widely naturalized in Europe, Asia, and North America. The leaves are harvested before flowering and used medicinally.

Uses of Lemon Balm

Lemon balm has been used for Graves' disease, as a sedative, antispasmodic, and a topical agent for cold sores.

Lemon balm is also beneficial to those suffering from nervousness, anxiety and slight insomnia. Lemon balm helps to calm and relax the nerves and has been used successfully since the Middle Ages.

Side Effects of Lemon Balm

No side effects have been reported, but this herb should not be used by pregnant or breastfeeding women.

Possible Interactions

Although it has not yet been demonstrated in clinical studies, lemon balm may interfere with sedatives and thyroid medications. If you are taking sedatives (for sleep disorders or anxiety) or medications to regulate your thyroid, you should consult a healthcare practitioner before taking lemon balm

Dosage

The German Commission E monograph suggests 1.5-4.5 grams of lemon balm in a tea several times daily. The herb can be steeped for ten to fifteen minutes in 150 ml of boiling water to make the tea. Tincture can also be used at 2-3 ml three times per day. Concentrated extracts, 160-200 mg 30 minutes to one hour before bed, are sometimes recommended for insomnia . Highly concentrated topical extract ointments for herpes can be applied three to four times per day to lesions.

Lemon balm is frequently combined with other medicinal plants. For example, peppermint and lemon balm together are effective for calming upset stomach . Valerian is often combined with lemon balm for insomnia. Bugleweed (Lycopus virginicus) and lemon balm have been used together for Graves' disease.

Toxicology

The antithyroid activity of lemon balm extract mentioned above is weak enough that it does not present a serious safety concern in patients without Graves' disease. The topical use for herpes cold sores has not produced any reports of dennal toxicity. Lemon balm extract was not found to be genotoxic in a screen of several medicinal plants.

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