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Lemon Balm / Melissa officinalis: What’s in a name?

April 2, 2018


Well, when it comes to this beautiful herb quite a lot! The official medicine of the herbalists and a highly prized herb in the mint family.


Plant Properties:

Relaxing nervine, anti-viral, relaxing diaphoretic, aromatic digestant, antispasmodic

Plant Uses:

anxiety, nervousness, stress, viral infections, bug bites, nervous digestion, fevers, coughs

It gets its common name from the fresh lemony scent that emanates from its freshly bruised leaves. Sometimes it’s only referred to as balm, which is defined as something that is soothing, healing or comforting.

One of the best things about lemon balm is its crowd-pleasing scent and taste. Most people will drink of this herbal medicine gladly. Sometimes we think that effective medicine needs to make our nose scrunch in disgust, but lemon balm packs a tasty powerful punch.

Lemon balm originally comes to us from the Mediterranean. It’s been used for medicine for thousands of years. Pliny, Hippocrates, Galen, Culpepper and even Shakespeare all spoke of its attributes. There are also records of Thomas Jefferson growing lemon balm at Monticello.


Lemon Balm for Anxiety and Insomnia

When I think of lemon balm the first thing that comes to my mind is of its calming and relaxing properties. Officially we call this a relaxing nervine, an herb that relaxes, soothes and supports the nervous system. It can be used for anxiety, hysteria, frayed nerves, stress, insomnia, seasonal affective disorder, nervous tension and general feelings of “I’m on my last straw!”

Lemon Balm for Digestion

As a mild spasmodic it can help relieve tension headaches, back pain and other mild pain due to tension. As an aromatic and carminative herb it can relieve stagnant digestion, easing abdominal cramping, and promote the digestive process in general.

Lemon Balm for the Heart

Older sources list it as being helpful for heart palpitations as well. In more modern times Kiva Rose says, “I personally use it for panic attacks with heart palpitations where the panic is very buzzy feeling.”

Other Lemon Balm Benefits

Heart palpitations, nervous tension, insomnia, hyperactivity are all classic indications for lemon balm and these combined described what some people experience when their thyroid becomes overactive such as the case in Grave’s disease. In fact, lemon balm, bugleweed (Lycopus spp.) and motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca) is a classic western formula for a hyperactive thyroid. It's a very strong antiviral for herpes and shingles.

Even a favorite herb of our little Bee friends so great to grow in your garden.

You can drink this beautiful tea cold or hot, several times throughout the day. Look for organically grown and preferably from local farmers.

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