Lemon Balm Herb, Tea and Oil Benefits
While native to southern Europe, lemon balm is now found growing throughout the world. The lemony smell and pretty white flowers of the lemon balm plant have led to its widespread cultivation in gardens. The leaves, stems, and flowers of lemon balm are used medicinally.
Lemon balm can be compared with the effectiveness of mint in the soothing effect it has on the stomach and the positive effect it has on the digestive system. Lemon balm is used to relieve pain and discomfort associated with indigestion and offers relief for such symptoms as gas and bloating.
Lemon balm holds some sedative properties found specifically in some of the chemicals it contains in volatile oils, including citronellal and citrals A and B. In case studies with humans and animals alike, lemon balm has demonstrated calming effects when taken orally. When consumption doses are increased, lemon balm may induce sleep. The volatile oils in lemon balm are made up of chemicals that help the muscles relax, particularly the muscles of the bladder, stomach, and uterus, consequently providing relief of cramps, gas, and nausea. Unfortunately, research results are still somewhat inconclusive, and human case studies are lacking to provide concrete proof of its purported uses.
Lemon balm may also help to block some of the secretion of the thyroid gland and its ability to release hormones in the body. Consequently, lemon balm has been implemented for use in connection with Grave's disease, which is an autoimmune condition where individuals suffer from excess thyroid hormone due to an overactive thyroid. However, clinical studies do not supports its use for this condition.Dosage and Administration
For difficulty sleeping or to reduce stomach complaints, flatulence, or bloating, choose from the following:
- Tea, using 1.5 to 4.5 g herb, several times daily
- 2 to 3 mL tincture three times daily, or the equivalent in fluid extract or encapsulated form
For children, lemon balm may be used topically on cold sores. The dosage would be the same as the recommendations for this use in adults. For internal use, adjust the recommended adult dose to account for the child's weight. Most herbal dosages for adults are calculated on the basis of a 150 lb (70 kg) adult. Therefore, if the child weighs 50 lb (20 to 25 kg), the appropriate dose of lemon balm for this child would be 1/3 of the adult dosage.
In general, you should read the manufacturer's suggestions for use when taking any herbal product, and consult with your health care provider for brands and dosages that he or she recommends.