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What Are the Benefits of Lemon Balm?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 21 November 2016
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Also known as Melissa officinalis, lemon balm is an herb that has a long history of use as treatment for several ailments, and continues to be a favorite among people who prefer the use of alternative medicine. There are several benefits to the use of lemon balm, including the ability of the herb to help ease tension, stimulate the appetite, and improve the qualify of sleep. There are also claims that when combined with other herbs, the benefits of lemon balm also include easing the severity of panic attacks and anxiety disorders.

The benefits of lemon balm have been noted for centuries, with one of the major claims having to do with helping to reduce the level of stress experienced during the day. By steeping the leaves of lemon balm in hot water or grinding the leaves into a powder for use in salads and other foods, the nutritional content of the herb helps to relax the nervous system and prevent many of the ill effects of stress, such as irritability and trouble sleeping. The pleasant taste and aroma of lemon balm make it relatively easy to combine with other aromatic herbs to create pleasant dishes that also help to minimize the incidence of indigestion and other forms of gastrointestinal distress.

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One of the more prominent benefits of lemon balm claimed by many enthusiasts is the herb’s ability to help alleviate the distress that comes with an anxiety disorder. The vitamins and mineral content of the plant include several substances that are known to help strengthen and regulate the nervous system. For this reason, lemon balm is often used with other herbs to help the nervous system slowly recover from whatever led to the development of the disorder, while also helping to reduce the frequency and severity of the panic attacks that often accompany the anxiety.

There are also claims that the benefits of lemon balm extend to helping to ease the pain of insect bites. When steeped in alcohol, the leaves of the melissa plant create a combination that not only helps to disinfect the bite but also aid in expediting the healing process. This combination of some form of alcohol with the herb, such as lemon balm leaves allowed to infuse in wine, is also said to help lift the spirits of individuals who are experiencing low levels of depression.

While some of the benefits of lemon balm have a scientific basis, others are still mainly anecdotal in nature. Like all herbs, using lemon balm in conjunction with prescription or over the counter medications should occur only under the care of a physician, since the properties of the herb could either reduce the effectiveness of the medication or possibly trigger an adverse reaction. Along with the benefits of lemon balm, there are also some potential adverse reactions to use, such as lethargy or a blunting of the emotions. Should any adverse side effects appear, discontinue use and report the effects to a physician.

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