Melissa officinale

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Latest Edit: Hector 2014-3-18 (EDT)

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Lemon-balm0356.jpg

Lemon Balm Melissa officinale has a long history of use and can be cited in Roman, Arabic, and British herbal-lore. As a tea it has been enjoyed for its flavour and relaxation properties. It has historically been used as a mild sedative for anxiety, nervousness, and to aid in longevity. To explore the characteristics, medicinal uses and prescribing considerations of this herb in more detail, check out the references indicated.[1], [2]

Contents

Characteristics

  • Common Names: Lemon balm, Common balm, Bee balm, Balm, Honeyplant, Sweet balm, Cure-all
  • Family: Lamiaceae
  • Habitat: Melissa officinale can be found in Southern Europe, Asia Minor, and Northern Africa. It is now also naturalized to Europe and North America.
  • Parts Used: whole plant before flowering (45% alcohol)
  • Constituents: volatile oils, tannins, flavonoids (rosmarinic acid)
  • Medicinal Actions: limbic sedative, antispasmodic, carminative, nervine, TSH antagonist,

Uses

Historical Uses:

Melissa has a long history of use and can be cited in Roman, Arabic, and British herbal-lore. As a tea it has been enjoyed for its flavour and relaxation properties. It has historically been used as a mild sedative for anxiety, depression, nervousness, and to aid in longevity. It can also be found in perfumes and cosmetics.

Medicinal Uses:

Internal

  • cardiac problems associated with nervousness and depression (tachycardia, palpitations, reactive heart)
  • Other Conditions

External

  • cream and bath salts/oils to help with skin irritations
  • insect bites
  • used as part of aromatherapy (referred to as melissa)

Prescribing Considerations

The information provided is intended to augment the treatment from a naturopathic doctor or other trained medical professional. Although most herbs are generally safe, it is recommended that you avoid self-prescribing especially when there is an underlying ongoing medical condition, if you are on any prescription medications or if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Formulations and Preparation

  • Tincture - up to 60 drops three times daily
  • Tea - 2 tsp/cup, steep covered, use as needed
  • Oils for use in skin care products

Safety

The safety and prescribing considerations for this herb include:[3], [4]

  • Generally regarded as safe.
  • Side-effects are not generally seen.
  • Drug-Herb Interactions rare.

References

  1. Boon Heather, Smith Michael (2009) 55 Most Common Medicinal Herbs: The Complete Natural Medicine Guide Second Edition Institute of Naturopathic Education and Research, CCNM Toronto.
  2. Godfrey Anthony, Saunders Paul, Barlow Kerry, Gowan Matt (2011) Principles and Practices of Naturopathic Botanical Medicine, Advanced Botanical Medicine. V3 CCNM Press, Toronto.
  3. Stargrove Mitchell Bebell, Treasure Jonathan, McKee Dwight L (2008) Herb, Nutrient and Drug Interactions: Clinical Implications and Therapeutic Strategies.
  4. Brinker Francis (1997) Herbal Contraindications and Drug Interactions: Plus Herbal Adjuncts With Medicines, 4th Edition Eclectic Medical Publications.
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