This is one of the many existing “mints” and its lemony aroma is characteristic. It is one of the herbs that produces the greatest well-being as it aligns the digestive system and lifts the spirits. It has one important contraindication: it should not be consumed by those with hypothyroidism.

By Horacio Mesón

But not to worry, the intelligence of the plan of life and existence has put substitutes within reach, we can always find what we need very close by.

It is one of my favourites and when I hear its name or read about it, a frank smile comes to my face. Together with rosemary, they are responsible for the wellbeing I register in my viscera, for my mood and, not to forget, for a very good digestion. One might think it is that and nothing more, no sir, no ma’am. Good digestion, assimilation of nutrients, cell regeneration and strengthening, good humour and much more that we will share in these few minutes that we will be together.

Our appointment today is with Melissa officinalis, also known as lemon balm, I like this name. It is a plant known since ancient times in Greece and used for its benefits against stress, insomnia and overwork. Its properties are antispasmodic, antiviral, digestive and anxiolytic. It is also used in the treatment of nervous disorders, intestinal and gastric problems.

History of the use of lemon balm in phytotherapy

It is a plant native to the eastern Mediterranean basin (Turkey) and is found in all temperate climates around the world. Its use as a medicinal plant date back to Theophrastus and Hippocrates in ancient Greece. Its benefits in calming anxious people and relieving nervous disorders were already recognised at that time. The Arabs used it as an antispasmodic and the Europeans as a digestive, calming and antiviral treatment.

In the modern world, it is used in herbal medicine to treat anxiety and nervous disorders, as well as gastrointestinal problems. It is also used for its stimulating effect on brain function and its effectiveness in treating insomnia. Formulas combining it with valerian are now available on the European pharmaceutical market.

Medicinal properties

  • Treatment of nervous disorders: stress, anxiety, nervous breakdowns.
  • Antispasmodic effects: spasms of the stomach and colon.
  • Sleep disorders: insomnia.
  • Heart problems: tachycardia.
  • Gastric disorders: excess stomach acid.
  • Improves blood circulation: distension or contraction of vessels.

External use: fight against viral infections, cold sores and genital herpes, shingles. Neuralgia and minor injuries, muscle and nerve relaxation.

Usual therapeutic indications

Calming (nervous disorders, stress, anxiety), antispasmodic (stomach, intestine), viral infections (herpes, shingles), heart problems (tachycardia), sleep disorders (insomnia), digestive, memory stimulant, external injuries and neuralgia.

Other proven therapeutic indications

Treatment of colic in babies (in combination with other antispasmodic plants), treatment of cold sores (reduction of skin lesions), treatment of genital herpes (prevents development of the virus), treatment of agitation and anxiety (calming effect of the essential oil), treatment of sleep disorders (improvement of sleep quality), minor gastrointestinal disorders (colic, digestive problems), treatment of heart diseases (tachycardia), protective effect on the body (relaxes muscles and nervous system). Its use and dosage as with all herbs are very important. No known adverse effects.

Interactions with medicinal plants or supplements

No interactions with plants have been reported to date. But its sedative action could be amplified by the simultaneous intake of other calming plants.

Interactions with medicinal products

Possible interaction with sedatives. Potential inhibitor of drugs for the treatment of thyroid disorders. Melissa has been shown to be effective against nervous attacks, anxiety. Has a protective effect on the body, relieves nervous tension, heart and digestive system. In general, the action tends to relax the whole body, muscles and nervous system to create a feeling of well-being. It can be taken as a preventive treatment in the prescribed doses.

Taking lemon balm can accentuate the effects of alcohol on the body. It is therefore not recommended to consume alcohol during treatment with Melissa products. The essential oil is being investigated in Alzheimer’s on the cognitive side.

The plant in the house was given to me by a friend many years ago, all of them are linked to a being. Of course I have reproduced a number of seedlings in each season, they are scattered around, lovingly given to me by yours truly with a little verbal instruction. The use of Melissa is based more on experience over the centuries.

So far today, we meet again at any time. A friendly greeting and with well-being, what less…

As a reference for the essential content of this publication you can consult the information and articles of Dr. Hugo Golberg, a great reference in Phytotherapy.

The final recommendation: consult a professional you trust. Watch the video, HealthandLifestyle: Lemon Balm