Lemon Balm Benefits & Why I Grow It

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My favourite herb ever is Melissa officinalis (lemon balm). It’s the best thing for calming an irritable tummy (and settling nerves), I have found. Here’s what it might do for you too…

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. I eventually found I could simply rinse and eat a leaf from the garden, for the benefits lemon balm offered. Yes, it’s edible straight from the garden!

What is lemon balm good for?

Lemon balm is good for nutrition with its B and C vitamins; its lemony flavor can enhance food and drinks; and its chemical properties appear to soothe frayed nerves, relieve muscle spasms, improve cognitive function prevent weight gain, and act as anti-bacterial, according to studies.

lemon balm benefits for anxiety and more

(I can’t live without it! I always have a plant growing in my garden).

list of lemon balm benefits

Lemon balm is said to help with…

  • digestion
  • stress
  • anxiety
  • insomnia
  • preventing weight gain
  • menstrual cramps
  • toothache
  • cold sores
  • cognitive function

This seems like a true gift from nature, especially if you’re living a full-on life juggling multiple expectations and commitments. You know… kids, work, finance, keeping house, sports, study, pets, family, etc. And just wanting something natural to help.

Lemon balm soothes frayed nerves

It’s good for soothing frayed nerves. 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 a stressful life.

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

Lemon balm benefits For digestive system & Preventing Weight gain

Lemon balm displays properties of a mild sedative, spasmolytic (able to relieve spasm of smooth muscle) and an antibacterial agent.

The results of one research (Donju et al 2020) indicate the extract ALS-L1023, from the Melissa officinalis, helps prevent weight gain and could be useful in suppressing obesity and insulin resistance in women – Lemon balm benefits women at the premenopausal stage would gain from, according to the authors.

lemon balm benefits tea

Lemon balm for brain fog

Lemon balm benefits brain function.

Because it helps with stress it stands to reason that lemon balm would benefit brain function. The study by Scholey et al 2014 is just one that indicates lemon balm improves cognitive performance.

Can you take lemon balm everyday?

Is it safe to eat lemon balm leaf every day? Using fresh lemon balm from your own garden or the dried leaves should carry minimal risk of side effects. But with anything, always consider what medication you are taking that may interact. I have eaten lemon balm (a fresh leaf or two) every day, on and off, for several years without issue, i.e. no adverse effects, only benefits.

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…

What are the side effects of lemon balm?

Healthline – the top-ranking answer to my Google search query on the topic – has listed several along with “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.

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 own garden. I found it worked best.

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).

Note: The content of this article is meant for informational purposes only and is not intended to amount to professional or specific advice on which reliance should be placed (disclaimer). 

Why lemon balm benefits Me

I first started with lemon balm to deal with my spastic digestive tract. Meaning, my gut played up, sometimes randomly, but often coinciding with travel or important events. It was really debilitating.

After going through all the medical investigations and advice to no avail, I tried and found for myself – relief from lemon balm. Where I could eat a leaf or two of lemon balm I found that within a short time my crazy gurgling stomach would settle. It was like magic.

Lemon balm benefits anxiety symptoms

Though I never considered I was suffering anxiety or stress, my digestive tract signaled otherwise. I can now see how stress and anxiety go hand in hand with digestion problems. After all, our stomach has cells that send messages to the brain and I think many of us realize how our emotions influence physical reactions.

I can’t remember the last time my digestion played up this bad, it’s been so long. I continue to take lemon balm to help soothe frayed nerves. I think most women suffer this in today’s world trying to juggle the things expected of them along with the increasing number of societal and economic changes. Hormonal changes are something women have to deal with and often shifts in body chemicals at any life stage exasperate these things.

For these reasons, I like to keep a lemon balm plant growing in the garden or in a pot handy. I find it helps ‘soothe the nerves’ and keeps me in balance.

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.


Is lemon balm good for depression?

The results of a study by Scholey et al in 2014 indicates lemon balm acts as an antidepressant with the key compound being Rosmarinic acid.

From my own experience, I would say yes, lemon balm helps with depression. Where anxiety is an issue, at least, I found it helps soothe frayed nerves.

Does lemon balm increase GABA?

Studies indicate that lemon balm may inhibit the enzyme gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) transaminase and this results in an increase of GABA. Scholey et al 2014 suggested that the mood-enhancing effects of lemon balm may be due to its known interaction with GABA-A receptors.

Why is GABA increase important? Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) is a neurotransmitter that produces a calming effect when connected to receptor sites in the brain.

What is lemon balm good for in the garden?

Lemon balm is a small herbaceous plant that can act as a groundcover to deter weeds. When in flower, its small white blossoms will attract bees. It has a lemony fragrance that freshens the air when trampled. It is also ornamental, adding bright green to the garden landscape.

In closing

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.

Info sources

Science Direct: Kennedy et al 2002 | Dongju et al 2020 | Soltanpour et al 2019

PMC: Scholey et al 2014 |

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