This month’s beautiful sleep-friendly herb of the month is Lemon Balm, or Melissa Officinalis, but, as ever, there’s so much more to this herb than meets the eye.
Lemon Balm is a perennial plant. It was originally native to south-central Europe and the Mediterranean, but grows wild happily through the USA and much of the world. It is a member of the Mint family and, when you look at the leaf, you could easily mistake it for mint. It does have a citric aroma but is quite different from lemon. It is softer and more fragrant and has a much broader sphere of action.
Traditional use of Lemon Balm was for the treatment of skin for wounds and venomous bites. Lemon balm has also been long-known for its relaxing and uplifting effects and recent research has shown that Lemon Balm may be beneficial for mental health, brain function and heart health.
Sleep-friendly Lemon Balm
Numerous studies show that as Lemon Balm is one of the best herbs for anxiety and, because of this, it will help to promote sleep. In particular, studies showed that supplemental lemon balm improved sleep quality, sleep efficiency, sleep duration, and decreased depression, anxiety, and stress.
Lemon Balm has also been shown in a large study to improve restlessness and a number of child sleep problems (dyssomnia), especially when combined with Valerian.
Lemon Balm for Mental Health
Sleep and mental health have a bidirectional relationship, meaning that one causes the other. It also means that if you treat one element of this, then the other will improve. There is one other important factor that will improve mental health and sleep and that is gut health. Your microbiome is the engine room for your gut flora, which work 24/7 to keep you well. The basis of good sleep and mental health is gut health so make that your focus when managing mental health. You can read more in my blog here.
Research has demonstrated that Lemon Balm can significantly improve mood, calmness, and alertness.
Alzheimers is the most common form of dementia and a leading cause of death in UK. Trials have shown that a daily lemon balm extract showed notable improvements in brain function, including enhancing mood and decreasing agitation.
Lemon Balm for Women
Lemon Balm can help women throughout their hormonal journey. Isn’t nature wonderful? It has been shown to reduce severity and type of PMS and painful periods at supplemental dose of 1200mg per day. 1
Postpartum blues and depression occur as a result of the huge hormonal shifts and trauma associated with childbirth, nursing and the insomnia that follows. Overwhelm and exhaustion quickly follows the elation of seeing your baby for the first time. To help your baby with colic, Lemon Balm ingested via breast milk or in baby’s water helps reduce the spasms of colic.
Another study in women using Lemon Balm and Valerian resulted in this combination to promote sleep and improve overall sleep quality, to include falling asleep, night-time awakening, overall sleep quality, feeling refreshed upon waking, and daytime functioning.
Antiviral & Immune-boosting Properties
Lemon Balm has also been shown to be an effective herb for immune health. This is because it is sleep-friendly. Did you know that sleep is the No. 1 immune boosting factor? Sleep is your free, 24 hour prescription for health and wellbeing. Quality, restorative sleep relies on good gut health – your microbiome – because the gut is where the sleep hormone, Melatonin, is made. Take steps today to improve your gut health to improve your immune function. You can read more about gut health in my free Top 7 Tips – the Journey to Natural Sleep. Sign up for free via the website here
Lemon Balm has also been found to be effective in HSV 1 and 2.
A comparison was made between the antiviral activity of lemon balm essential oil and Tamiflu® (a common flu drug) for the treatment of influenza revealed that Lemon Balm effectively inhibited influenza virus growth.
How to get your Lemon Balm fix
Herbal teas are a safe and pleasant way to introduce Hops into your daily routine. One or two cups daily would be great.
Lemon Balm in the form of supplements are available as a natural sleep aid.
Check out the excellent Natural Dispensary – an online shop packed full with an impressive range of branded natural health products and supplements. Place your order through me and I’ll send you a link through which you can pay and get delivery direct to your door. As a thank you from me, you’ll receive 15% off RRP.
Caution: if you are on pregnant or breastfeeding, or on antidepressant medication,
please consult your local herbalist for expert advice.
NB: No cautionary notes have been identified in the use of lemon balm during pregnancy
Lemon balm has been safely used in infants with colic; therefore, appropriate doses of lemon balm consumed by breastfeeding mothers are not likely to be harmful.
Some research suggests that lemon balm is safe to consume during lactation with no adverse effects or increased risks.
Talk with the Natural Sleep Expert today
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