Natural remedies

Lemon Balm - Benefits, Uses & Safety Guide

Ulla Rothschuh Osorio
By Ulla Rothschuh Osorio, Biologist. March 15, 2024
Lemon Balm - Benefits, Uses & Safety Guide

Lemon balm, scientifically known as Melissa officinalis, is a perennial herb belonging to the mint family, Lamiaceae. It is native to the Mediterranean region and is widely cultivated for its aromatic leaves, which have a lemony scent and flavor. Lemon balm has been used for centuries for its medicinal properties and is commonly used in herbal medicine and culinary applications. It is valued for its calming and relaxing effects, making it popular for promoting sleep and reducing anxiety.

In the forthcoming article by thedailyECO, we will explore lemon balm, its various uses and benefits, and also examine its potential side effects and contraindications.


  1. Properties of lemon balm
  2. Lemon balm uses and benefits
  3. How to take lemon balm
  4. Contraindications of lemon balm
  5. Side effects of lemon balm

Properties of lemon balm

Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) isn't just a delightful addition to your tea or a fragrant garnish. This versatile herb boasts a range of active compounds, including:

  • Antispasmodics
  • Digestive
  • Stimulants
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Choleretic
  • Antiseptics
  • Antioxidants
  • Balsamic
  • Sedatives
  • Carminatives
  • Antivirals

These compounds contribute to its potential health benefits. While lemon balm holds promise for various health concerns, it's crucial to consult with a healthcare professional before using it medicinally, especially if you have underlying conditions or take medications.

Lemon Balm - Benefits, Uses & Safety Guide - Properties of lemon balm

Lemon balm uses and benefits

As we have seen, lemon balm isn't just a fragrant herb; it boasts a range of potential health benefits. Here are some key areas where it may offer support:

Finding calm and rest

Renowned for its calming properties, lemon balm can help reduce anxiety and promote better sleep. It may work by modulating neurotransmitter activity in the brain, leading to feelings of tranquility. This makes it particularly helpful for those experiencing stress-induced insomnia. Lemon balm, often combined with chamomile for enhanced effects, can help you drift off to deeper, more restful sleep.

Soothing digestion

Lemon balm has traditionally been used as a digestive aid. Its carminative and antispasmodic properties may help ease intestinal discomfort by reducing spasms and inflammation. This can be beneficial for those suffering from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), as lemon balm may offer relief from gas, bloating, and a compromised digestive system.

Managing cold sores

Beyond relaxation and digestion, lemon balm's potential antiviral properties may offer some relief for cold sores. While it doesn't eliminate the herpes virus itself, it may help manage symptoms by targeting the nervous system, where the virus resides. Topical application of lemon balm may accelerate healing and provide relief from the discomfort of cold sores.

Respiratory relief

Lemon balm's potential anti-inflammatory properties may offer some relief for those experiencing respiratory discomfort. Its soothing properties might be beneficial for coughs and congestion.

Cognitive support

Some early research suggests lemon balm may play a role in cognitive function. Studies indicate it may improve memory and alertness, particularly in individuals experiencing stress. While further investigation is needed, lemon balm's potential cognitive benefits are an exciting area of exploration.

Improve skin

Lemon balm's antioxidant content may contribute to overall health and potentially support healthy skin. Antioxidants help combat free radical damage, which can contribute to signs of aging. While more research is needed, incorporating lemon balm into your routine might offer a natural way to promote a healthy complexion.

How to take lemon balm

Lemon balm offers various consumption methods. But for a quick and calming drink at home, a lemon balm infusion is the perfect choice. Here's what you'll need to make it:


  • Fresh or dried lemon balm leaves
  • Hot water


  1. Heat water in a pot or kettle until it reaches a rolling boil.

  2. Pour the hot water into a teapot or mug. Add the desired amount of lemon balm leaves (typically 1-2 teaspoons for dried leaves or a handful of fresh leaves).

  3. Cover the teapot or mug and allow the lemon balm to steep for 5-10 minutes. The longer you steep, the stronger the flavor will be.

  4. If using loose leaves, strain the infusion into your cup using a strainer or tea infuser.

  5. Drink the infusion while it's still warm to maximize its calming effects.

Lemon balm is a versatile herb and can also be enjoyed in other ways:

  • Capsules or tablets: these offer a convenient and pre-measured way to take lemon balm. Follow the dosage instructions on the label carefully.

  • Extracts: lemon balm extract comes in concentrated drops. You can dilute these drops in water or juice before consuming. Lemon balm extract can be very potent, so start with a low dose and increase gradually as needed. Always consult your doctor before using lemon balm extract.

Lemon balm is known for its delicious lemon aroma. Delve into this other article to learn about other lemon-scented herbs.

Lemon Balm - Benefits, Uses & Safety Guide - How to take lemon balm

Contraindications of lemon balm

While lemon balm generally has mild toxicity, its effects depend on the dosage and frequency of use. There are some contraindications for lemon balm, including:

  • Epilepsy: lemon balm may potentially interact with medications used for epilepsy.

  • Gastritis and ulcers: lemon balm can stimulate gastric acid secretion, which may worsen symptoms of gastritis or ulcers.

  • Colitis: lemon balm's mild laxative effects could exacerbate symptoms of colitis or other gastrointestinal disorders.

  • Liver pathologies: lemon balm may interact with medications metabolized by the liver, potentially impacting liver conditions.

Individuals with these conditions should use caution when using lemon balm and consult a healthcare professional before doing so. Pregnant or breastfeeding individuals should also seek medical advice before using lemon balm due to limited safety data

Side effects of lemon balm

Excessive consumption of lemon balm, whether over an extended period or in concentrated doses, can lead to adverse effects such as:

  • Daytime sleepiness
  • Dizziness
  • Mild confusion
  • Diminished reflexes

Furthermore, combining lemon balm with other central nervous system depressants or relaxants may potentially result in headaches, dysuria (painful urination), and elevated body temperature. While lemon balm offers various benefits, it is essential to consume it in moderation and be cautious when combining it with other medications or substances.

Did you know there are natural ways to repel mosquitoes? Discover a whole garden of insect-repelling options in our next article.

If you want to read similar articles to Lemon Balm - Benefits, Uses & Safety Guide, we recommend you visit our Natural remedies category.

  • Muñoz, O., Montes, M., Wilkomirsky, T. (2001 ). Medicinal plants used in Chile: chemistry and pharmacology. Chile: University of Chile, Vice-Rector for Academic Affairs, Scientific Publications Committee.
  • Cebrián, J. (2002) Dictionary of medicinal plants . Barcelona: RBA Books.
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Lemon Balm - Benefits, Uses & Safety Guide