Medicinal plants

9 Benefits of lemon balm and side effects

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Discover the 9 shocking health benefits of lemon balm and side effects.

Sometimes the most beneficial natural remedies for your health are those that have lasted the longest.

That is certainly the case for the benefits of lemon balm, a fast-growing herb that has been studied for its effects on everything from insomnia to cancer.

Used in teas, cooking, and to make  Melissa essential oil, lemon balm has been prescribed by physicians since the Middle Ages as a natural remedy to improve sleep, reduce anxiety, heal wounds, and promote longevity.

Today, its benefits have been widely studied, especially in Europe and the Middle East, where the plant originated.

Once you realize how many ways you can benefit from the many uses of lemon balm benefits, I am sure you will be looking forward to growing in your garden.

9 shocking health benefits of lemon balm


Health benefits of lemon balm

1.- Protects against heart and liver problems

Two commonly studied mechanisms of lemon balm are its ability to protect the heart and liver.


Lemon balm essential oil (sometimes known as Melissa oil) can lower high triglycerides when used aromatically, and it also improves cholesterol synthesis in the liver.

The same 2012 study that discovered these results also revealed that inhaling lemon balm oil reduces some of the factors that lead to the perpetual growth of a common liver cancer cell.

Another benefit of lemon balm may be its ability to protect the heart from various types of injuries.

Researchers gave an oral extract of the plant to animals in a 2016 study.

This resulted in a reduction in heart rate and blood pressure and indicated resistance to heart injury at lower doses.

Lemon balm also appears to have an impact on the mechanical and electrical impulses of the heart.

Traditional Iranian medicine has used it as a therapy for some time to treat heart palpitations.

Science seems to back this use, in a trial using an orally administered extract of lemon balm leaf, subjects appeared to experience a significant drop in episodes of benign heart palpitation.


This may be related to the way lemon balm seems to affect mood, which I will discuss a bit later.

Another electrical change that lemon balm seems to provide is the regulation of cardiac arrhythmias.

An arrhythmia means that the heart beats faster or slower than it should or at irregular intervals, the benefits of lemon balm seem to reduce the occurrence of premature beats, tachycardia, and fibrillation within the heart, all without causing negative side effects.

Lemon balm extract also causes major changes in EKG results, according to introductory research, that appear to extend electrical interval times.

Exactly what clinical benefits this may provide is not sure yet, But the pilot study in Iran that first documented the results is a significant discovery.

2.- Functions as a natural antibacterial agent

Due to the long history of lemon balm benefits in traditional medicine, researchers have studied how effective it protects against disease-causing agents, such as harmful bacteria.


It turns out that kombucha lemon balm has antibacterial qualities and can help naturally fight infectious bacteria.

Lemon balm oil specifically shows a high level of antibacterial activity against candida.

This is a common yeast infection that causes several symptoms including exhaustion, mental confusion, digestive problems, and a weakened immune system.

3.- Benefits of lemon balm for diabetes

Diabetes is a rampant problem in Western health. While it is very common for traditional doctors to prescribe many drugs with dangerous side effects to treat it, it is possible to reverse diabetes naturally. Using lemon balm extract can be an effective way to accomplish this.

Researchers tested lemon balm essential oil and found its effect on high blood sugar. They both produce similar results by lowering blood sugar levels and reducing oxidative stress related to diabetes.

Researchers at the Free University of Berlin stated that “ethanolic lemon balm extract can potentially be used to prevent or concomitantly treat type 2 diabetes,” because they were so impressed with the compelling data.

4.- Benefits of lemon balm for sleep

Traditionally, lemon balm has been used to treat anxiety and insomnia. Its mild sedative effect is a well-known feature, these claims appear to stand up to scientific scrutiny, as well as extend beyond the treatment of general anxiety.

For example, lemon balm benefits improve hyperactivity, concentration problems, and impulsivity in elementary school children.


Taken internally in food products, it also appeared to improve mood and/or cognitive performance in a study involving young adults.

A natural sleep aid, it also appears to help reduce symptoms of insomnia and sleep disturbance, even during menopause,  when such symptoms are very common.

5.- Fight against herpes naturally

Uses for the benefits of lemon balm also extend to topical application, due in part to its antiviral qualities. Specifically, when applied directly to the skin, it is a useful herbal remedy to help treat the virus herpes.

While there is no permanent cure for herpes, treatment methods generally involve finding ways to decrease the frequency and duration of outbreaks. To date, most researchers have studied the effectiveness of lemon balm on cold sores or cold sores.

When using lemon balm extract in cream form, research shows that the intervals between herpes outbreaks become longer, the healing period is shortened, and symptoms, such as itching and burning, appear to decrease.

Interestingly, due to the way lemon balm works to achieve this, there is no risk of resistance to the herpes virus forming after repeated uses; The same results seem to exist when using lemon balm essential oil.

According to various sources, it appears that the effects of lemon balm on the herpes simplex virus are related to its antioxidant compounds.

These include tannins and polyphenols. There are no known side effects when using this substance, either topically or orally.


6.- Powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory

The benefits of lemon balm can help fight free radical damage in ways that may be remarkable in natural medicine.


Perhaps most notable in this particular benefit of lemon balm is its potential impact against a specific type of cancer known as glioblastoma multiforme.

This fast-spreading cancer usually begins in the brain and has no known effective treatments.

However, a 2014 study found that lemon balm essential oil caused apoptosis (spontaneous cell death) in these cancer cells and stopped the expression of a protein known as Multi-Drug Resistance Associated Protein.

This is especially important, considering that MRP1 is partly responsible for drug resistance cancers developing according to traditional treatment methods such as chemotherapy.

Other studies have found that lemon balm products have apotheotic effects on other cancer cell lines, including a type of cancer that affects the lining of organs that separates the organ from the rest of the body, MCF-7 (a cancer cell line breast), a colorectal cancer cell line, the most common liver cancer cell, and two different types of leukemia cells.

In a study looking at how the antioxidants in lemon balm benefits affect oxidative stress caused by low levels of radiation, lemon balm had remarkable results, including a significant improvement in the blood levels of other antioxidant cells.

A study that looked at supplementing the diet of medical professionals constantly exposed to low levels of radiation with lemon balm showed that it can be an effective way to protect them against unhealthy levels of oxidative stress.


The study also showed lemon balm to naturally regulate a very important substance called superoxide dismutase.

This enzyme, known in short as SOD, is vital to understand in terms of oxidative stress because naturally occurring SOD can cause several different types of cell damage. However, it is possible to regulate it naturally, using substances such as lemon balm that keep it under control.

Lemon balm can also protect against neurodegenerative disorders caused by overexposure to manganese.

In addition to providing antioxidant support, lemon balm oil also has the potential to act as an anti-inflammatory. Reducing chronic inflammation helps protect against disease and relieve pain.

7.- It can regulate an overactive thyroid

Thyroid conditions affect more than 12 percent of the United States population, and one of the two common thyroid conditions,  hyperthyroidism, can benefit from lemon balm.

Lemon balm extract is one of the treatment methods that natural health professionals tend to use when it comes to regulating an overactive thyroid.

Research suggests that these extracts prevent components that over-activate the thyroid from binding to the thyroid receptor, specifically in patients with  Grave’s disease.

8.- Benefits of lemon balm for digestion

Due to its antioxidant activity, benefits of lemon balm also have a potentially protective effect on your gastrointestinal system.


One way you can help calm digestive problems is to prevent gastric ulcers, although this has yet to be thoroughly studied.

There is also some evidence that lemon balm, as well as peppermint and angelica root, can be extremely helpful in creating herbal remedies for constipation.

9.- Naturally relieves the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome

According to a study published in 2015, the benefits of lemon balm (taken in capsule form) effectively reduced PMS symptoms in high school-age women.

Nutritional value of lemon balm

The perennial lemon balm plant is a member of the mint family. Officially known as  Melissa officinalis, it is sometimes referred to as common balm or balm mint.

Its native home is in the southernmost parts of Europe and various parts of the Middle East and Central Asia, but it is now grown regularly in the Americas and elsewhere in the world.

The most useful parts of the plant (and the way you found its name) are the leaves. You can use the lemon-scented leaves to make tea, flavor dishes, create oil perfume, and repel insects. Some people even use it to make homemade toothpaste.

Various uses of lemon balm have been used in traditional medicine, especially in European countries such as Austria.


Lemon balm is an ingredient in Agua Carmelita, an alcoholic extract drink formulated in the 14th century that is still on sale in Germany. It is said to help treat headaches and nerves.

How to find and use lemon balm

If you live in a somewhat warm climate, you may want to try the benefits of growing lemon balm; Moist, well-drained soil creates the perfect environment for healthy lemon balm growth.

It will also likely need fertilizer and a bit of shade. It’s not unusual for you to need to trim and harvest it multiple times during its growing season to prevent it from outgrowing other plants as it germinates quickly.

Due to its pleasant aroma, lemon balm is a delicious herb to add as a final flavor to a dish. You can add it to meat and seafood dishes for added flavor.

And it’s not uncommon to find it used in a fruit-based drink. Its leaves can be steeped for 15 minutes or more to create a delicious tea, which lends itself well to raw honey as a natural sweetener.

As an herb, lemon balm uses everything from homemade lip balm to a salad dressing. Some people even use it as part of home cosmetics.

If you don’t want to grow it yourself, you can find lemon balm tea and supplements online. However, I strongly advise you to be very selective from where you buy, just use reputable sellers.

Side effects of lemon balm

Lemon balm is generally safe for most people. But because it affects the activity of the thyroid, people who take thyroid medicine or have a severely underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) should not take it.


Some patients have experienced mild side effects after receiving lemon balm extract treatment.

If you are pregnant or lactating, consult your doctor before using it regularly.

Final thoughts

• Lemon balm is a perennial herb that is grown throughout the world. People have used it for centuries to treat various ailments.

• Scientific research has shown that lemon balm is effective in protecting the heart and liver from common diseases.

• Lemon balm has antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties. These properties often operate in ways that circumvent the normal resistances that diseases form to many drugs and remedies.

• Lemon balm can be applied topically to help treat herpes outbreaks and extend the time between outbreaks.

• Using lemon balm oil and/or extract can improve mood, concentration, and quality of sleep.

• A common and proven remedy that uses lemon balm is an overactive thyroid regulation. However, if you have a severely underactive thyroid, it is not advisable to use lemon balm regularly.


• Lemon balm has been used for centuries. It stands out for its positive effects on those who use it, such as a notable improvement in mood.


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