Lemon Balm Extract

Background

Lemon Balm, also known officially as Melissa officinalis, is an 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 a nootropic that boosts memory and reduces anxiety, and also is said to calm the nerves and relax the body.[1]
Originally, Lemon Balm is a plant from the mint family and considered to be a calming herb that has been used for many centuries in medicinal contexts. But Lemon Balm extract is the most recent herbal supplement to break through as a mainstream remedy for stress and mood imbalance.

Benefits

Lemon Balm is considered to be a fast-growing herb that’s been studied for its effects on everything from insomnia to cancer, high blood pressure to PMS. Truly, this natural supplement has been popular for centuries among the Asians, Arabians, Europeans especially the Greeks for its wonderful health benefits. The most common use of Lemon Balm extract as a supplement is for anti-anxiety purposes. It is well-known to be a very potent anti-oxidant. This means that it may augment immune system functioning and provide protection against inflammation, infection, and disease. The most common health benefits of Lemon Balm extract include:

  • Improves cognitive performance [6]
  • Promotes sleep [7]
  • Improves mood and concentration [8]
  • Reduces stress, anxiety and depression [9]
  • Enhances memory and learning capacity [10]
  • Protects heart and cardiovascular system [11]
  • Helps people who have Alzheimer’s disease [12]
  • Enhances calmness and alertness [13]
  • Soothes PMS symptoms [14]
  • Helps with diabetes naturally [15]
  • People report it improves appetite, and eases pain and discomfort

Lemon Balm extract has anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties and the plant leaves were used even before the Middle Ages for wound healing, and especially relieving of venomous insect bites and stings. When applied directly to the skin, it is a useful herbal remedy to help relieve people of the herpes virus cold sores Lemon Balm extract may also provide relief from conditions such as chronic fatigue syndrome and digestive problems ranging from bloating, gas, vomiting, heartburn, colic, and even poor appetite. Many women find that this supplement can help them with menstrual pain and even serves to stimulate the menstrual period in cases of weak or absent cycles.
Lemon Balm extract is also considered to be an adaptogen meaning that it helps the body deal with external stressors in the environment. Many of the ingredients in Lemon Balm extract are also thought to kill bacteria and possibly even certain viruses.[2][3]

How it works

Lemon balm extract or Melissa officinalis is an herbal medicine that has traditionally been attributed with memory-enhancing properties, but which is currently more widely used as a mild sedative and sleep aid. We have already seen that Lemon balm extract can help increase in calmness, and dose-dependent decrements in timed memory task performance. The most notable cognitive and mood effects were improved memory performance and increased ‘calmness’ at all post-dose time points for the highest dose. These results suggest that doses of Lemon balm extract at or above the maximum employed here can improve cognitive performance and mood and may therefore be a valuable adjunct if people have Alzheimer’s disease.[4]
The extract can be used as therapy for more severe cognitive imbalances, such as Alzheimer’s Disease or ADHD. Lemon Balm extracts can also quiet and soothe physical reactions to stress which can lead to mental complications down the road.[5]
Lemon Balm extract activates nicotinic and muscarinic choline receptors, enhancing the body’s response to acetylcholine. This neurotransmitter facilitates the healthy growth of neural structures like neurons and synapses. Lemon Balm extract also has important anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties, contributing to overall brain tissue health and resistance to disease.

Considerations

Lemon Balm extract is considered to be safe and has very limited side effects. The main side effect reported with use of Lemon Balm extract is excessive drowsiness. However, if you are very sensitive to herbal remedies, you may wish to restrict your intake to evening. Again, if you have unique reactions to this supplement, you are recommended never to mix Lemon Balm Extract with prescription drugs such as anti-anxiety drugs, anti-histamines, muscle relaxants, anti-seizure drugs, sedatives, or tranquilizers.

Recommendations

The generally accepted dosage range for Lemon Balm extract is between 300 and 500 mg per day. But, using Lemon Balm for other purposes such as a sleep aid or anxiolytic may require slightly higher amounts though there is no officially determined dose for these cases.
If you are a new user of Lemon Balm extract, you are always advised to start out with the lowest effective dose and only increase from there gradually.

Sources