Lemon Balm is a perennial, lemon-scented herb native to southern Europe, Asia Minor, and North Africa (1)
The genus Melissa originated in the Mediterranean to western and central Asian regions. The genus name Melissa is derived from the Greek μελισσο (melisso), meaning “bee,” which refers to the strong attraction that bees have to M. Officinalis.Lemon Balm is a well-known herb in the treatment of many disorders like headaches, gastrointestinal diseases, neurological diseases, and rheumatoid. Citral and citronellal compounds have the highest percentages among components of the essential oil in this medicinal plant (11).
Lemon balm can reduce anxiety and induce calmness
A study in healthy adults shows that 300 mg lemon balm extract added to food or drink reduces anxiety and improves memory and alertness during multi-task cognitive testing when compared with placebo (2).
A small study in healthy adults suggests that a single dose of lemon balm extract 600 mg increases calmness and alertness during laboratory-induced psychological stress when compared with a placebo (3).
Lemon Balm can relieve dysmenorrhea
A study in 2016 compared lemon balm to the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) mefenamic acid for its ability to relieve dysmenorrhea (i.e., pain associated with menstruation). From the onset of the menstrual period until the third day of menstruation, women with moderate-to-severe primary dysmenorrhea were randomly assigned to drink one cup of lemon balm tea made from tea bags or take 250 mg of mefenamic acid every eight hours until the pain was relieved. Both groups experienced decreases in pain intensity and duration over three menstrual cycles, but the lemon balm group experienced a greater decrease in pain intensity than the mefenamic acid group (4).
1. Kennedy DO, Scholey AB, Tildesley NT, Perry EK, Wesnes KA. Modulation of mood and cognitive performance following acute administration of Melissa officinalis (lemon balm). Pharmacol Bio chem Behav. 2002 Jul;72(4):953-64. PMID: 12062586.
2. Scholey A, Gibbs A, Neale C, Perry N, Ossoukhova A, Bilog V, Kras M, Scholz C, Sass M, Buchwald-Werner S. Anti-stress effects of lemon balm-containing foods. Nutrients. 2014 Oct 30;6(11):4805-21. PMID: 25360512; PMCID: PMC4245564.
3. Kennedy DO, Little W, Scholey AB. Attenuation of laboratory-induced stress in humans after acute administration of Melissa officinalis (Lemon Balm). Psychosom Med. 2004 Jul-Aug;66(4):607-13. PMID: 15272110.
4. Faranak SD, Parvin N. The effect of mefenamic acid and Melissa officinalis on primary dysmenorrhea: a randomized clinical trial study. International Journal of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemical Research. 2016;8(8):1286-1292.
5. Jandaghi, P., Noroozi, M., Ardalani, H., & Alipour, M. (2016). Lemon balm: A promising herbal therapy for patients with borderline hyperlipidemia—A randomized double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial. Complementary Therapies in Medicine, 26, 136–140.