Lemon Balm: An Herb for the Nervous System & Beyond
Lemon Balm is a member of the mint family, identified by its square stem and oppositely paired leaves. This herbal ally has a rich history of use for its calming effects and is now grown all over the world for food, medicine, cosmetics, and more. In a time where stress and burnout are more prevalent than ever, Lemon Balm has become a favourite among herbalists and plant-lovers alike for soothing the nervous system and beyond.
Disclaimer: This blog is for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice. Please consult your health care practitioner before adding any new herbs to your wellness routine.
Lemon Balm’s Latin name, Melissa officinalis, was given to this herb for its ability to attract pollinators. “melissa” means “honey bee” in Greek, and it was often planted near beehives – sometimes even rubbed onto them – to encourage the bees to keep coming back.
Its common name was inspired by the Greek word, “balsamon,” which translates to “an oily, sweet-smelling resin.” Rubbing the leaves of a Lemon Balm plant will release a sweet and uplifting lemony scent.
Historically, there have been many variations that reference the common name. An old Arabian proverb states that “Balm makes the heart merry and joyful.” Many folk herbalists will tell you that Lemon Balm cultivates feelings of peace and tranquility.
History of Use
Lemon Balm has been traditionally used for thousands of years to soothe symptoms of depression, anxiety, and insomnia. It was even a choice herb for royalty as it was believed to promote vitality and a long life. Lemon Balm was often included in “elixirs of youth” in medieval times due to its uplifting nature. It was also infused into wine along with warming spices to promote rest and digestion. Some Indigenous cultures use Lemon Balm for salves and herbal infusions to treat cramping, headaches, and anxiety.
Benefits of Lemon Balm
Nervous System Support
Lemon Balm can help relieve symptoms of nervous system exhaustion, anxiety, and depression. Its benefits are potent, and it has been shown to reduce feelings of anxiety within one hour (1). With long-term use, Lemon Balm can rid folks of their anxiety entirely. It calms a racing heart, uplifts the mind, and can help promote deep, restful sleep (2).
This herbal ally contains rosmarinic acid, which is packed with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. One study paired Lemon Balm with Dandelion in a 2:1 ratio to explore their effects on the liver. They found that levels of pro-inflammatory mediators were significantly decreased, while antioxidant activity increased (3).
Boost Cognitive Function
Lemon Balm’s ability to soothe stress allows for more capacity in the brain. Studies show that this herb can boost alertness and even mathematical processing at higher doses (1). Lemon Balm can also improve accuracy and focus, along with working memory (4).
How to Add Lemon Balm to Your Wellness Routine
Our intentional formulations make it easy to incorporate this soothing herb into your routine.
Find Lemon Balm in our Sea Breeze Artisan Tea, alongside Spearmint, Nettle, and mineral-rich Bull Kelp. This tea blend will awaken your senses and brighten your day.
Cultivate emotional balance and soothe an overactive nervous system with Uplifted Spirits, powered by a blend of adaptogens and nervine herbs.
Boost immunity naturally with Vira-Support. This Tincture Blend is formulated to treat symptoms of cold, flu and other respiratory infections.
Sing Herb Tincture
Looking to reap the benefits of Lemon Balm on its own? Try our bioavailable Lemon Balm tincture.
We offer dried organic Lemon Balm in our Botanical Dispensary.
Are you curious about herbs that support mind and mood? Check out this webinar to learn how to soothe anxiety and promote mental wellbeing with adaptogenic herbs and mushrooms.
- Scholey, A., Gibbs, A., Neale, C., Perry, N., Ossoukhova, A., Bilog, V., Kras, M., Scholz, C., Sass, M., & Buchwald-Werner, S. (2014). Anti-Stress Effects of Lemon Balm-Containing Foods. Nutrients, 6(11), 4805–4821. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu6114805
- Cases, J., Ibarra, A., Feuillère, N., Roller, M., & Sukkar, S. G. (2010). Pilot trial of Melissa officinalis L. leaf extract in the treatment of volunteers suffering from mild-to-moderate anxiety disorders and sleep disturbances. Mediterranean Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism, 4(3)
- Choi, B., Cho, I. J., Jung, S., Kim, J. N., Park, S. M., Lee, D. S., Ku, S., & Park, K. (2020). Lemon balm and dandelion leaf extract synergistically alleviate ethanol‐induced hepatotoxicity by enhancing antioxidant and anti‐inflammatory activity. Journal of Food Biochemistry, 44(8). https://doi.org/10.1111/jfbc.13232
- Kennedy, D. N., Scholey, A., Tildesley, N. T. J., Perry, E. K., & Wesnes, K. (2002). Modulation of mood and cognitive performance following acute administration of Melissa officinalis (lemon balm). Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior, 72(4), 953–964. https://doi.org/10.1016/s0091-3057(02)00777-3
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