Lemon Balm

Last Updated: September 28 2022

Melissa officinalis (Lemon Balm) is a herb/tea traditionally said to induce calmness and improve cognition. It does appear effective at inducing calmness and reducing anxiety, but the cognitive enhancing properties are variable (appears to benefit if stressed, but otherwise it is merely sedative).

Lemon Balm is most often used for

Summary

Melissa officinalis (Lemon Balm) is a herb that has traditionally been used for a variety of cognitive purposes, most of which are centered around improving cognition and reducing stress and anxiety. It is said to calm the nerves and to relax the body.

In regards to its subjective cognitive effects, it appears to be effective in inducing calmness. This may also manifest itself in a negative manner as healthy persons who take Lemon Balm prior to a cognitive test appear to score worse than placebo on reaction time and memory formation (possibly related to sedation) while improving the quality of memories (amount of correct memories formed, rather than 'remembering' something that didn't happen). Only one study looked at contentment, but found no influence.

Theoretically, calmness inducing agents should also help in sleep. We currently have one study suggesting that the anxiety-reducing properties can help people who have anxiety-related insomnia but beyond that most sleep research is confounded with Valerian as the two are theoretically (not yet demonstrated) additive or synergistic.

Overall, the cognitive enhancing properties of Lemon Balm appear to be somewhat overhyped. It has been shown to enhance the memory quality yet (possibly due to its sedative effects) it reduces quantititatively how many memories are formed and the rate thereof.

Currently, Lemon Balm appears to be supported for inducing calmness and relaxation but other claims may need more research.

What else is Lemon Balm known as?
Note that Lemon Balm is also known as:
  • Lemon Balm
  • Melissengeist
  • Bee Balm
  • Garden Balm
  • Melissa
  • Erva-cidreira
  • Melissa Officinalis
Lemon Balm should not be confused with:
  • Limonene (sometimes called Lemon extract)
Dosage information

The lowest active supplemental dose appears to be 300mg, and supplementation above this dose appears to confer dose-dependent effects although it is not very reliable (ie. one study says that 1200mg gives thrice as much benefit as 300mg while another suggests 1.4x benefit)

Lemon Balm bioactives may also be consumed via tea or acquired via aromatherapy, although it is much harder to quantify 'the right dose' via these two methods.

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      References
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