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6 Health Benefits of Drinking Lemon Balm Tea

Evidence-based Reviewed Article

An image of a cup of lemon balm teaLemon balm is actually an herb from the mint family, and lemon balm tea has several health benefits. It is anti-inflammatory, may help boost mood and gut health, supports good sleep, and more.

Lemon balm is a perennial herb and is native to Europe. However, it is grown around the world. Whilst lemon balm is one of its names, this herb also goes by the names of:

  • Honey plant
  • Bee balm
  • Dropsy plant
  • Garden balm

Health Benefits of Lemon Balm Tea

Reduces Inflammation

Lemon balm is high in plant compounds called flavonoids. These flavonoids are high in antioxidants that can help to neutralize unstable molecules called free radicals. Free radicals are produced in the body as a result of stress, illness even pollutants. These free radicals can damage your cells, increase inflammation, and cause early cell death, increasing the effects of aging. Antioxidants can assist by neutralizing the free radicals, preventing future and further damage in your body. The leaves of the lemon balm plant contain the highest amounts of antioxidants. Lemon balm tea is rich in these antioxidants and can help to reduce inflammation and reverse any damage from free radicals (1).

Helps Cold Sores

Cold sores are painful blisters that occur on the lips or mouth area. These pesky sores are generally caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV). Whilst there are conventional medications available to help relieve them, recent research suggests that lemon balm tea may be of use here. Rosmarinic acid is a polyphenol as well as an antioxidant found in lemon balm that can interact with the proteins of the HSV. This helps to prevent adhesion and penetration of the virus into the cells, reducing the risk of a cold sore occurring. Additionally, rosmarinic acid has a therapeutic effect on individuals who do not respond to the active ingredient typically found in conventional medications.

Reduces Anxiety and Depression

One of the many health benefits of lemon balm tea is that it can help to reduce anxiety and promote a feeling of calmness. One of the proposed ways in which it can do this is through the hormone gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA).

Within your brain, there are many different hormones that help to maintain optimal mental health and one of these hormones is GABA. These hormones help to regulate your mood and prevent your brain cells from becoming overexcited. If levels are low, it can lead to restlessness and anxiety.

A recent meta-analysis suggests that the use of lemon balm tea can help to reduce feelings of anxiety and depression. Whilst it is promising, more research is necessary as there were differences between the studies (3).

Enhances Gut Health

The high antioxidant content of lemon balm tea can help to reduce inflammation within the gut. However, it can also help to relieve gut symptoms such as stomach cramps, constipation, and bloating. Research shows that lemon balm can help to increase the transit time of food, which can help to relieve symptoms such as pain, bloating, and constipation. Interestingly, this research showed that, whilst lemon balm showed an effect in certain parts of the small intestine, it did not have an effect on the colon (4). Lemon balm also has anti-spasmodic effects and can help to relax the muscles which also helps to reduce cramping.

May Assist With Menstrual Cramps

An image of a woman in pain due to menstrual crampsWith the antispasmodic effects of lemon balm tea, not only can it help relieve stomach cramps but it can help to relieve menstrual cramps. One 2017 study showed that by consuming lemon balm, individuals with moderate to severe menstrual pain found that there was an improvement in the severity of the cramps experienced (5).

Enhances Heart Health

There are various ways in which lemon balm tea can help to enhance your heart health. The antioxidant properties of lemon balm tea can help to reduce inflammation, thus protecting your heart. Additionally, with the calming effect of lemon balm tea, it can help to reduce blood pressure. One study showed that when lemon balm was given to individuals with high blood pressure, both systolic and diastolic pressure improved after 10 weeks (6).

Improves Sleep

There are various factors that can affect your ability to fall and remain asleep. One of these factors can be stress. During stress, your body releases cortisol, one of the main anti-stress hormones. This hormone helps your body to cope with stress. However, it can increase your alertness and increase your heart rate, making it difficult to get some rest.

Lemon balm tea may assist with this by helping to promote a feeling of calmness and potentially helping to reduce cortisol levels (7). This may help to promote sleep. Research does support the use of lemon balm in improving sleep, with studies showing that it can improve sleep by itself and when used as a combination (8,9).

Adrenal Sleep is one example of a supplement that uses a combination of ingredients that can help to assist with promoting sleep. This supplement contains vitamins and minerals such as vitamin B3, B6, and magnesium as well as herbs such as valerian root, passionflower, and lemon balm to help support sleep. This supplement is available in a capsule form and can be taken before bed to assist with sleep.

How Do You Make Lemon Balm Tea?

You can buy lemon balm tea from health stores. However, if you have it growing fresh in your garden, you can make it yourself. If you would like to try and make it yourself you can:

  1. Remove the leaves from the plant and rinse them.
  2. Place on a baking tray and leave until they are dried. These dried leaves can be stored in your pantry for up to a year whilst keeping their benefits and flavor.
  3. Once they are dried, boil water and add a teaspoon of leaves to a cup of water.
  4. Allow them to steep in the water for five minutes.

Side Effects of Lemon Balm Tea

The use of lemon balm tea is safe for most people. However, it can occasionally cause mild side effects such as:

  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Increase in appetite
  • Wheezing
  • May cause withdrawal effects when stopped

Who Should Not Take Lemon Balm Tea?

Lemon balm tea may interact with certain medications such as:

  • Medications for anxiety and insomnia
  • Thyroid medications
  • Medications for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)

Therefore, if you are currently taking these medications, do not take lemon balm tea, unless you have consulted with your healthcare professional first.

Stress, Your Brain, and Lemon Balm

An image of a man infront of a laptop while holding his temple with closed eyesThere are multiple effects of stress on your body and brain. In long-term stress, adrenal fatigue syndrome (AFS) can develop. This is the non-Addison's form of adrenal dysfunction, where the body's stress response cannot keep up with life's chronic stressors. When this happens, imbalances within the different circuits of the NeuroEndoMetabolic (NEM) Stress Response System can start to occur. This six-circuit system is comprised of organs and systems that your body needs to help it respond to stress.

The Neuroaffect circuit is responsible for regulating your emotional and mental health. Your brain, autonomic nervous system, and gut microbiome are responsible for this circuit. An imbalance within the Neuroaffect circuit can result in changes in your mental and emotional health. Symptoms of an imbalance in this circuit include feelings of anxiousness and depression, difficulties in falling and remaining asleep, and finding yourself stressed in situations that usually would not cause stress.

Lemon balm tea may help to provide relief to these symptoms. However, always chat with your healthcare professional before you start a new supplement as your body can become very sensitive during AFS. This increases the chances of your body reacting to new products and this can set you back in your healing journey.

Takeaway Message

Lemon balm tea is a simple health practice that not only satisfies your taste buds, as it can also promote a feeling of calmness and provide a range of health benefits such as:

  • Reducing
  • Improving
    • sleep
    • gut health

Looking to add a soothing touch to your routine? Consider lemon balm tea. Beyond its delightful taste, it offers a host of benefits, from reducing stress, anxiety, and depression to easing blood pressure and menstrual cramps. It can even improve sleep and gut health. Whether sipped as a tea or taken in supplement form, it's a simple addition with significant rewards.

Want to learn more? Give us a call at +1 (626) 571-1234 to explore this product further.

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References

Draginic, N., et al. "Anti-Inflammatory and Antioxidant Effects of Melissa Officinalis Extracts: A Comparative Study." Iran Journal of Pharmaceutical Research, vol. 21, no. 1, Dec. 2022, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9420213/.

Behzadi, A., et al. "Antiviral Potential of Melissa Officinalis L: A Literature Review." SAGE Journals, Jan. 2023, https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/11786388221146683.

Ghazizadeh, J., et al. "The Effects of Lemon Balm (Melissa Officinalis L.) on Depression and Anxiety in Clinical Trials: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis." Phytotherapy Research, vol. 35, no. 12, Dec. 2021, pp. 6690-705, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34449930/.

Aubert, P., et al. "Basal and Spasmolytic Effects of a Hydroethanolic Leaf Extract of Melissa Officinalis L. on Intestinal Motility: An Ex Vivo Study." Journal of Medicinal Food, vol. 22, no. 7, July 2019, pp. 653-62, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6653806/.

Mirabi, P., et al. "The Effect of Melissa Officinalis Extract on the Severity of Primary Dysmenorrhea." Iran Journal of Pharmaceutical Research, vol. 16, 2017, pp. 171-77, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5963658/.

Shekarriz, Z., et al. "Effect of Melissa Officinalis on Systolic and Diastolic Blood Pressures in Essential Hypertension: A Double-Blind Crossover Clinical Trial." Phytotherapy Research, vol. 35, no. 12, Dec. 2021, pp. 6883-92, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34766389/.

Scholey, A., et al. "Anti-Stress Effects of Lemon Balm-Containing Foods." Nutrients, vol. 6, no. 11, Nov. 2014, pp. 4805-21, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4245564/.

Bongartz, U., et al. "Sleep Promoting Effects of IQP-AO-101: A Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Exploratory Trial." Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, May 2019, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6521387/.

Shirazi, M., et al. "The Effectiveness of Melissa Officinalis L. Versus Citalopram on Quality of Life of Menopausal Women with Sleep Disorder: A Randomized Double-Blind Clinical Trial." Revista Brasileira de Ginecologia e Obstetrícia, vol. 43, no. 2, Feb. 2021, pp. 126-30, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33465795/.

Dr. Lam’s Key Question

If you are taking lemon balm tea for sleep, taking it an hour before sleep can help to assist with sleep. If you would like to take it for anxiety and stress, then you can take it during the day at the time when you find these feelings are high

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