October 24, 2016
Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis)
Lemon Balm, also called Bee Balm is a member of the mint family with an aromatic lemony smell and mild flavor that make it pediatric friendly. It has been used for centuries as a mood booster for depression and anxiety. It is now used to promote sleep and prevent insomnia.
The light flavored herbal infusion calms indigestion and nerves. The volatile oils which give lemon balm its scent have antispasmodic properties that calm cramping bowels. Lemon Balm also has diaphoretic properties and is used to help quench fevers.
It has rosmarinic acid with antiviral properties and has been used for viral illnesses including mumps. Recent double blind studies have shown it promotes healing of herpes simplex virus.
Lemon Balm is native to southern England and Western Asia but now is grown worldwide. The leaves are used fresh for herbal infusions and lightly dried for powdered capsules. Lemon balm should not be taken with barbiturates or narcotics as interactions can occur, and it may aggravate glaucoma. It should not be used by those sensitive to mint or showing any allergic reaction.
A Kid's Herb Book (2000) by Lesley Tierra Children's Happy Potion: Lemon Balm and Chamomile Tea is the perfect combination for many children's complaints: restlessness, insomnia, whining, crying, colic, teething, sadness, and depression. To make: *Steep 1 teaspoon lemon balm and ½ teaspoon chamomile in 1 cup (non-metal if possible, stainless steel ok) of hot water for 15 minutes. *Cool, strain and sweeten to taste.
Yours in herbs,
Danielle Rose, MD