Melissa officinalis aka Lemon Balm
And a few more akas
- Bee balm
- Dropsy plant
- Honey plant
- Sweet balm
- Sweet Mary
- Xiang Feng Cao (in traditional Chinese medicine)
Native to Europe, North Africa and West Asia, lemon balm is often an overseen herb believed to improve one’s mood and cognitive function. It is a great herb to use in teas as well in food. For tea simply rinse the lemon balm, add it into your tea-pot, or we use a “french press” to keep the leaves under control, pour boiling water. Leave for 10-15 minutes before you enjoy it. (And because you are buying ByNature you need not worry about pesticides in your tea or food).
Our lemon balm comes from our hydroponic partner and is grown under very specific conditions, to read more about this please see our previous blog post “Hydroponic – what is it exactly” here.
Lemon balm is very similar to mint and is used for many purposes, as already mentioned for flavoring, but also to attract bees for honey production. Essential oils are often extracted and it has been used as herbal medicine including aromatherapy around the world. In other words there are plenty of reasons to pay a bit more attention to this herb.
If you are having trouble sleeping many find relief in lemon balm tea. The rosmarinic acid found in lemon balm is believed to improve sleep and insomnia. It is found to have a mild sedative effect and at the same time stimulating the production of the hormone serotonin, which many may recognize as the “feel-good” hormone. This is also one of the reasons that it may calm anxiety, stress and depression. All that said, these findings are based on smaller research studies. At the end of the day, if it works that is great, it does not harm when taken in moderate portions.
A 2014 study suggests that lemon balm is effective when it comes to improving cognitive function. Test participants experience an increase of alertness and performance when doing cognitive tasks involving memory, mathematics and concentration. The downside however, was that fatigue would possibly set in over time. Hence, it may not be the best remedy before an important meeting or exam.
It is important to note that it is NOT recommended to digest lemon balm for longer periods of time. Some articles suggest pausing lemon balm intake for one week a month. Also noteworthy is that lemon balm can interact with some drugs. As with all foods, everything is good in moderation.