Botanical Name: Melissa Officinalis
Member of the: Lamiaceae (Mint) Family
Herbal Actions: Carminative, Nervine, Antispasmodic
Also Referred To As: Melissa, Balm, Bee Balm, Common Balm, Honey Balm, Sweet Balm, English Balm, Balm Mint, Bush Balm, Heart’s Delight
How To Identify: Bright Green, Wrinkly, Serrated, Heart-Shaped Leaves, Lemon Scent,
Whorls Of Very Small Blue, Yellow, Or White Flowers
Internal Body Benefits: Calming, Mood Boosting, Relieves Indigestion & Nausea
Topical Body Benefits: Treats Venomous Insect Bites & Stings & Can Help Heal Cold Sores
When To Use: When You’re Anxious, Need Help Falling Asleep, Are Experiencing Tummy Trouble, Or Want To Wind Down Before Bedtime
Let me introduce you to lovely lemon balm, a citrusy, lemon-scented member of the mint family. This deliciously scented herb has a delicate lemony flavor and beautiful, serrated, heart-shaped leaves.
Lemon balm smells so amazing because of its high essential oil content. (Citral, citronellal, linalool, and geraniol are present.) Simply sniffing this fragrant flowering herb may put a smile on your face, and uplift your mood.
For centuries, lemon balm has been used by various cultures to soothe stress, promote a sense of calm, lift the spirit, improve appetite, and ease the pain and discomfort of indigestion, heartburn gas, bloating, and colic. (It’s baby safe!)
Herbalists also often recommend lemon balm for treating infections and inflammation of the upper respiratory tract and to reduce cold and flu symptoms.
Lemon balm contains vitamin C and B1 (thiamin), is high in flavonoids, and has anti-viral, antibacterial, and antifungal properties. Which is one of the reasons lemon balm is an amazing addition to HippyBritt’s Nutrient Dense Tea blend.
Because of lemon balm’s calming effects, it is often combined in tea blends with other soothing herbs. This is why HippyBritt’s No Stress Tea blend combines lemon balm with calming chamomile, soothing skullcap, and peaceful passion flower.
Where Does Lemon Balm Grow?
While lemon balm is native to the Mediterranean and various regions in North Africa, Asia, and Europe, it is currently widely cultivated and has naturalized throughout temperate areas all over the world. This includes many parts of North America.
Lemon Balm loves the sun, and can be found growing wild in sunny spots (to partial shade) with well drained soil.
It can also be cultivated in a container, which you may choose to do if you have limited space. Lemon balm self seeds and in the correct conditions, will become prolific and (similar to mint) can take over your yard or garden.
How Can You Identify Lemon Balm In The Wild?
To identify lemon balm, look for a bushy, bright green herb with a square stem, and super wrinkly, heart-shaped, serrated leaves that are soft and fuzzy to the touch. Not only will its heart-shaped leaves give it away, but lemon balm is incredibly fragrant and omits a strong lemony-scent (especially when the leaves are crushed or rubbed).
Lemon balm is also known as “bee balm” for multiple reasons. Not only are bees incredibly attracted to its heavenly scent, but lemon balm can be used topically to treat bee stings and insect bites. Interestingly, lemon balm was once cultivated as food for bees and then rubbed on new beehives to entice bees to enter.
Can You Eat Fresh Lemon Balm Leaves?
Yes you can. Lemon balm leaves can be plucked right off the plant and eaten fresh. In fact, chewing on fresh lemon balm leaves can help relieve a stomach ache. Fresh lemon balm leaves can be added to the culinary delight of your choosing. Or, you can harvest them, dry them, and drink them as a tea.
Is Lemon Balm Safe For Kids?
Yes, lemon balm is considered safe for kids. Not only is it well-tolerated with no known contraindications, but it’s shown to be calming for kids and can help ease colic in infants.
Does Lemon Balm Have Side Effects?
Lemon balm is generally considered safe, and side effects are typically rare. However, it's important to remember that every body is different, and that individual responses to herbs can vary.
Lemon balm has mild sedative properties, which may cause drowsiness. So be mindful of your own individual response when combining consuming lemon balm with performing activities where peak alertness is important.
Is It Better To Drink Lemon Balm Tea At Night Or In The Morning?
The best time to drink lemon balm tea will depend on your own individualized response to the herb and the effects you are after. For some people, the effect of lemon balm is mild and may contribute to a sense of calm. So drinking it in the morning may make for a peaceful day ahead. While other people may experience drowsiness, and it may be wiser to wait until bedtime to brew a cup.
This is especially true if you are choosing a tea blend with multiple calming herbs, such as Hippy Britt’s No Stress Tea blend. The combination of herbs in No Stress tea is specifically formulated to facilitate relaxation, and it may make tackling your to-do list difficult after drinking.
On the other hand, HippyBritt’s Detox Tonic combines herbs that are invigorating, with lemon balm. So it’s more suited for drinking first thing in the morning.
Remember, every body is different, so individual responses may vary.
Why Does Lemon Balm Make You Sleepy?
Lemon balm contains compounds, including rosmarinic acid and flavonoids, that have been found to interact with certain neurotransmitters in the brain associated with relaxation and sleep. Research indicates that the calming effect of lemon balm is attributed to its ability to regulate GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid). GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter that has a calming and relaxing effect on the central nervous system. Lemon balm may help increase the activity of GABA, leading to a mild sedative effect.
Does Lemon Balm Help You Lose Weight?
While lemon balm has been shown to have multiple positive health benefits, there is limited scientific evidence to support that it directly aids in weight loss.
However, considering that the consumption of lemon balm can calm your nerves, improve your mood, improve sleep quality, and support digestion, (and these are all factors that affect the body’s ability to lose weight) lemon balm can improve your overall well being and indirectly contribute to weight loss.
Is It Safe To Drink Lemon Balm Tea Every Day?
Yes, lemon balm is an herb that’s gentle enough that it can be consumed daily.
Not only does lemon balm stimulate the senses with its delightful citrusy aroma, but it also offers a plethora of positive body benefits. From promoting relaxation and easing stress to supporting digestion and providing antioxidant properties, this awesome herb has so much to offer for overall well-being.
An easy way to add more lemon balm into your daily wellness routine would be to drink a tea blend containing lemon balm. Luckily, tea blends such as HippyBritt’s No Stress,
***This herbal breakdown is for informational purposes only. No medical claims made**