The Secret to a Calm Mind and Body: Lemon Balm Benefits You Need to Know

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Lemon balm is my favourite herb. I grow it in my garden and it seems useful to consume when I’m dealing with overwhelming issues. I decided to look into this to see if this was an imagined benefit or not. Here I cover what I’ve discovered with lemon balm.

lemon balm benefits for anxiety and more
Lemon balm, a perennial herb of the mint family (Lamiaceae)

One of my favourite things from nature is the herb Melissa officinalis (lemon balm).

Other names for this herb are bee balm and honey balm. The word ‘balm’ itself suggests a healing use.

Some of the 32 components identified in lemon balm, listed in scientific articles:

Ferulic acid Rosmarinic Acid Caffeic AcidQuercitrin
Vitamin C Vitamin BALS-L1023Galic acid
Oleanolic acidsUrsolic acidsTerpineneRutin
Monoterpenoid aldehydeRhamnocitrinLuteolinQuercetin

lemon balm for feeling overwhelmed

A 2016 review of various studies into Melissa officinalis benefits listed a whole swag of traditional uses for this herb, that include calming effects.

This seems useful for when you’re feeling overwhelmed with the expectations and commitments of modern society (or not) –– using lemon balm would be a natural way of supporting your lifestyle.

Why I use lemon balm

I consume fresh lemon balm in my daily diet.

I find lemon balm helps ‘soothe the nerves’ and keeps me in balance. (I always have a plant growing in my garden). I wrote about another herb, sage, used for positivity.

I think most folk suffer anxiety in today’s society given the increasing number of societal and economic changes.

Sense of calmness

It seems I’m not alone…

There’s a sense of “calmness” after taking it, according to subjects of a study by Kennedy et al (2002). Eighteen individuals took part in this double-blind, placebo-controlled research.

A further study, Scholey et al in 2014, supported this with similar feelings of “calm”, “secure”, “at ease”, “satisfied”, “comfortable”, “self-confident”, “relaxed”, “content’, “steady” and “pleasant” reported by individuals in the study. These were subjects specifically chosen because they led stressful lives.

Both studies consisted of small sample sizes and so it does need further research to strengthen the findings, but what was expressed is what many consumers already claim to know about this herb.

How I benefit from Lemon balm

It’s said that lemon balm displays properties of a mild sedative and spasmolytic (able to relieve spasms of smooth muscle). I’ve found it’s the best thing for calming an irritable tummy (and settling nerves).

I first learned of lemon balm’s benefits from an iridologist, who suggested I try lemon balm tea to calm my digestive system. I had trouble finding lemon balm tea in packaged form but I did find a plant and started adding lemon balm leaves to my tea. It really did work! I found that within a short time, my crazy gurgling stomach would settle. It was like magic.

How long does it take for lemon balm to work? For me, when I take fresh lemon balm, it works almost instantly. You can make tea with it, but I find eating one or two leaves straight from the plant works for me.

Lemon balm and weight loss

I can’t say whether lemon balm affects weight loss or weight gain.

However, here’s what I discovered…

Donju et al 2020 indicates the extract ALS-L1023, from the Melissa officinalis, helps prevent weight gain and could be useful in suppressing obesity and insulin resistance in women, especially in women at the premenopausal stage.

lemon balm benefits tea

Lemon balm for brain fog?

Lemon balm benefits cognitive function, I guess, because it helps with calming the nerves. The study by Scholey et al 2014 is just one that shows that lemon balm improves cognitive performance.

Lemon Balm side effects

According to Healthline “You shouldn’t take lemon balm for longer than four months at a time without a break”. This relates to taking lemon balm in manufactured capsule form, which could contain residues of other ingredients. You should consider what else you are taking that may interact and contravene the benefits of this herb or potentially cause side effects.

I’ve tried it in a manufactured form (supplement), but for me, fresh is best! (I have some growing in my garden.) The side effects listed for the manufactured form may put you off…

Healthline’s list of potential side effects of lemon balm formula as a supplement includes things like headache, painful urination, increased body temperature, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, dizziness, and wheezing. I recommend and use lemon balm grown in my own garden. I found it worked best.

Note: The content of this article is meant for informational purposes only and is not intended to substitute for professional or specific medical advice (disclaimer). 

About growing lemon balm

Lemon balm does die off during the cold months. You can try cutting it back so that it shoots again. But I have to admit I have lost and have had to replace the plant a few times. I grow mine in pots to avoid it taking over the rest of the garden. Yes, it is similar to mint like that but not as bad, at least in my experience.

You can pick and use lemon balm to decorate iced drinks or put the leaves in brewed tea. It’s a saving on your grocery bill to have herbs like this available. As I mentioned, using lemon balm harvested from your garden should carry minimal risk of side effects. The caveat is where you’ve applied a nasty type of chemical to your plant to control pests or the like (not recommended).

I find lemon balm is a must-have in my garden. It’s a little green gem that’s edible. Most times, I simply eat a fresh leaf or two from the plant to ease upsets and help battle the curveballs thrown my way. Like a comfy meditation cushion, it’s a natural way of inviting calm into my world.

The lemon balm benefits on offer help invite calm when things feel a little off-balance – helping deal with what might seem like chaos around you.