Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) is a perennial herbaceous plant in the mint family and native to south-central Europe, the Mediterranean Basin, Iran, and Central Asia, but now naturalized elsewhere.
The leaves are used as an herb, in teas, and also as a flavoring. Phytochemical investigations on M. ofﬁcinalis have revealed the presence of various phytochemicals including terpenes (monoterpenes, sesquiterpenes and triterpenes) and phenolic compounds (phenolic acids, ﬂavonoids and tannins)1.
The tea of lemon balm, the essential oil, and the extract are used in traditional and alternative medicine, including aromatherapy. Lemon balm has been traditionally used for different medical purposes as tonic, antispasmodic, carminative, diaphoretic, surgical dressing for wounds, sedative-hypnotic strengthening the memory, and relief of stress induced headache, In the Danish folk medicine, lemon balm is used for the treatment of sleeplessness caused by heartbreak, melancholy and sadness. Crude extracts and pure compounds isolated from M. ofﬁcinalis exhibited numerous pharmacological effects, from which only anxiolytic, antiviral and antispasmodic activities of this plant as well as its effects on sleep, mood, cognition and memory have been shown in clinical trials1-3.
1. Shakeri, A., A. Sahebkar, and B. Javadi, Melissa officinalis L. – A review of its traditional uses, phytochemistry and pharmacology. J Ethnopharmacol, 2016. 188: p. 204-28.
2. Scholey, A., et al., Anti-stress effects of lemon balm-containing foods. Nutrients, 2014. 6(11): p. 4805-21.
3. Taavoni, S., N. Nazem Ekbatani, and H. Haghani, Valerian/lemon balm use for sleep disorders during menopause. Complement Ther Clin Pract, 2013. 19(4): p. 193-6.