Lemon balm is used for digestive problems, including upset stomach, bloating, intestinal gas (flatulence), vomiting, and colic; for pain, including menstrual cramps, headache and toothache; and for mental disorders, including hysteria and melancholia.
Many people believe lemon balm has calming effects so they take it for anxiety, sleep problems, and restlessness. Lemon balm is also used for Alzheimer’s disease, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), an autoimmune disease involving the thyroid (Graves’ disease), swollen airways, rapid heartbeat due to nervousness, high blood pressure, sores, tumors, and insect bites.
Lemon balm is inhaled as aromatherapy for Alzheimer’s disease.
Some people apply lemon balm to their skin to treat cold sores (herpes labialis).
Carminative, diaphoretic and febrifuge. It induces a mild perspiration and makes a pleasant and cooling tea for feverish patients in cases of colds and influenza. To make the tea, pour 1 pint of boiling water upon 1 oz. of herb, infuse 15 minutes, allow to cool, then strain and drink freely. If sugar and a little lemon peel or juice be added it makes a refreshing summer drink.
Used with salt, it was formerly applied for the purpose of taking away wens, and had the reputation of cleansing sores and easing the pains of gout.
Sedative medications (CNS depressants) interacts with LEMON BALM
Lemon balm might cause sleepiness and drowsiness. Medications that cause sleepiness are called sedatives. Taking lemon balm along with sedative medications might cause too much sleepiness.
Some sedative medications include clonazepam (Klonopin), lorazepam (Ativan), phenobarbital (Donnatal), zolpidem (Ambien), and others.
Surgery: Lemon balm might cause too much drowsiness if combined with medications used during and after surgery. Stop using lemon balm at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.
The word Balm is an abbreviation of Balsam, the chief of sweet-smelling oils. It is so called from its honeyed sweetness. It was highly esteemed by Paracelsus, who believed it would completely revivify a man. It was formerly esteemed of great use in all complaints supposed to proceed from a disordered state of the nervous system. The London Dispensary (1696) says: ‘An essence of Balm, given in Canary wine, every morning will renew youth, strengthen the brain, relieve languishing nature and prevent baldness.’ John Evelyn wrote: ‘Balm is sovereign for the brain, strengthening the memory and powerfully chasing away melancholy.’ Balm steeped in wine we are told again, ‘comforts the heart and driveth away melancholy and sadness.’ Formerly a spirit of Balm, combined with lemon-peel, nutmeg and angelica root, enjoyed a great reputation under the name of Carmelite water, being deemed highly useful against nervous headache and neuralgic affections.
Many virtues were formerly ascribed to this plant. Gerard says: ‘It is profitably planted where bees are kept. The hives of bees being rubbed with the leaves of bawme, causeth the bees to keep together, and causeth others to come with them.’ And again quoting Pliny, ‘When they are strayed away, they do find their way home by it.’ Pliny says: ‘It is of so great virtue that though it be but tied to his sword that hath given the wound it stauncheth the blood.’ Gerard also tells us: ‘The juice of Balm glueth together greene wounds,’ and gives the opinion of Pliny and Dioscorides that ‘Balm, being leaves steeped in wine, and the wine drunk, and the leaves applied externally, were considered to be a certain cure for the bites of venomous beasts and the stings of scorpions. It is now recognized as a scientific fact that the balsamic oils of aromatic plants make excellent surgical dressings: they give off ozone and thus exercise anti-putrescent effects. Being chemical hydrocarbons, they contain so little oxygen that in wounds dressed with the fixed balsamic herbal oils, the atomic germs of disease are starved out, and the resinous parts of these balsamic oils, as they dry upon the sore or wound, seal it up and effectually exclude all noxious air.
Preparations and Dosage
The following doses have been studied in scientific research:
For mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease: 60 drops per day of a standardized lemon balm extract, prepared 1:1 in 45% alcohol.
For improving sleep in healthy adults: a specific combination product providing 80 mg of lemon balm leaf extract and 160 mg of valerian root extract (Euvegal forte, Schwabe Pharmaceuticals) 3 times daily for up to 30 days has been used. This same combination product, given once or twice daily, has been used for improving sleep in children.
For upset stomach (dyspepsia): a specific combination product containing lemon balm (Iberogast, Medical Futures, Inc) and several other herbs has been used in a dose of 1 mL three times daily over a period of 4 weeks. The combination includes lemon balm plus peppermint leaf, German chamomile, caraway, licorice, clown’s mustard plant, celandine, angelica, and milk thistle.
For colic in breast-fed infants: a specific multi-ingredient product containing 164 mg of fennel, 97 mg of lemon balm, and 178 mg of German chamomile (Colimil) twice daily for a week.
APPLIED TO THE SKIN:
For cold sores (herpes labialis): the cream or ointment containing 1% of a 70:1 freeze-dried water-soluble extract is usually applied two to four times daily from first sign of symptoms to a few days after the cold sores have healed.
—Refreshing Drink in Fever—
‘Put two sprigs of Balm, and a little woodsorrel, into a stone-jug, having first washed and dried them; peel thin a small lemon, and clear from the white; slice it and put a bit of peel in, then pour in 3 pints of boiling water, sweeten and cover it close.’
‘Claret Cup. One bottle of claret, one pint bottle of German Seltzer-water, a small bunch of Balm, ditto of burrage, one orange cut in slices, half a cucumber sliced thick, a liqueurglass of Cognac, and one ounce of bruised sugar-candy.
‘Process: Place these ingredients in a covered jug well immersed in rough ice, stir all together with a silver spoon, and when the cup has been iced for about an hour, strain or decanter it off free from the herbs, etc.’ (Francatelli’s Cook’s Guide.)
A bunch of Balm improves nearly all cups.