A Herb To Soothe The Mind and Body
Botanical name: Melissa officinalis
Lemon Balm: A Herb To Soothe The Mind and Body
Do you know what lemon balm is? If you don’t, then it’s about time you did. It is used in cooking, as tea, and even as medicine. While you may know the delicious aroma it has, you should know everything that it has to offer.
Lemon Balm? Is That a Plant?
Yes, lemon balm is a plant from the mint family Lamiaceae. It is a native of south-central Europe, Iran, and Asia, but is now naturally grown in the Americas as well.
This plant grows to a maximum height of 70-150 cm and is more commonly known because of the mild lemon and min scent it has. This plant grows white flowers, but it is its leaves that are used as herbs.
You can even grow it under good conditions. It can be planted in mild temperature areas, and requires 20 °C to germinate. While the leaves fall and die during winter, they shoot up and grow again in spring.
What’s So Good About This Plant?
Lemon balm contains a wide range of chemical components, most of which have healing properties for our bodies. Some of these include eugenol, tannins, and terpenes. It also has caffeine, rosmaniric acid, citronellal and more.
Why Should I Use Lemon Balm?
This plant has been used as a medical herb for as long as the 16th century, but only recently did it start being truly used for a wide range of medical conditions. Here are the most important ones lemon balm can help treat:
- Herpes and Viruses: lemon balm can be used to treat cold sores and herpes because of the flavonoids and phenolic acids it contains. The plant can reduce inflammation and redness, while it also helps speed up the healing process.
- Upset Stomach: this herb is very good at treating indigestion, GERD, nausea and vomiting. Lemon balm reduces cramping and calms down contractions in the stomach, which can cause more pain.
- Headaches: lemon balm is very good at reducing pain and pressure in the head because it has a calming effect and anti-inflammatory properties.
- Sinus Congestion: the anti-histamine effect in the plant is useful in treating pain related to allergies and congestion.
- Cancer: recent studies show that lemon balm is useful in inhibiting the division of tumor cells, slowing down the effect of cancer in our bodies.
- Liver: the liver is essential in clearing toxins from our body, but in the long run this process can wear down this organ. A good diet helps fortify and keep the liver, lemon balm has proved to be an effective medicine in protecting the this organ from the damage done by toxins.
- Blood Sugar: the antioxidant properties of this plant help level out blood sugar levels in our bodies too. While stabilizing the blood sugar levels, it also reduces insulin resistance.
- Grave’s Disease: taking lemon balm can help block some of the activity of the thyroid hormone in the body. In this case, it can treat Grave’s disease, an autoimmune disease in which the thyroid gland produces excess thyroid hormone. By inhibiting the activity in the thyroid gland, Grave’s can have a lessened effect on the body.
Lemon Balm Helps Your Brain
Using this herb is good for your body in general, but it is certainly good for your brain. While working in general for different purposes, when you introduce lemon balm to your diet, you will begin to notice the positive effects it has on your cognitive health.
- Anxiety: lemon balm has been used in aromatherapy for treatment in anxiety. The aroma and components of lemon balm help calm the mind and relax the body.
- Sleep: in the same way, lemon balm also promotes better sleep cycles. Taking an extract of lemon balm can help relax and soothe enough to promote a better sleep at night.
- Alertness: while lemon balm can certainly calm the mind, it can also boost it and promote more alertness and concentration.
- Memory: taking lemon balm can improve memory and problem solving skills by suppressing the brain chemical acetylcholinesterase, which inhibits and breaks down acetylcholine, the chemical responsible for memory and thought.
- Neuroprotection: because this plant is an antioxidant, it keeps brain cells safe from free radicals. More specifically, eugenol and rosmaniric acid support a healthy brain, as well as ferulic caffeic acid, and quercetin.
Eugenol neutralizes the free radicals that can attack our brain and cause degeneration of cells, causing memory impairment and other damage. Rosmaniric acid on the other hand, can help regenerate brain cells and synapses, which can particularly help stroke victims.
- Alzheimer’s Disease: because it is a neuroprotectant, lemon balm can reduce vulnerability to dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. On the other hand, when taken as a calming agent, it can help treat individuals suffering from these diseases.
- Stress: taking this herb is beneficial for those suffering from stress because it reduces anxiety and promotes sleep, both of which are contributing agents to it.
Having Lemon Balm
Taking lemon balm is fairly easy and it can be introduced into our diets without much disturbance. Here are the most common ways to take this herb:
- Capsules: this one is recommended for adults. The recommended dose is 300-500 mg three times a day.
- Tea: while this is the most widely use way of consuming lemon balm, it’s often misused. The correct dose should be 2-4.5 grams (about 1 tsp) of this herb in hot water. Drink up to 4 times daily.
- Tincture: another easy way to consume lemon balm is through tincture in water. Have 60 drops daily.
- Topical: this one is especially good for sores, wounds, and irritation, and can be used in children. Apply a lemon balm topical cream to affected area, 3 times daily.
Time for Some Aromatherapy for the Body and Mind
Now you know what lemon balm is and all it can do for your body and brain. Keep in mind that you should start slowly, so take a lower dose and see how you feel. What do you think of this herb? Let us know if you take or have tried it, and if not, the time is now!