Lemon Balm - a hero herb!
In my first blog post, I extolled the virtues of my favourite herb. Then I thought I should really share a bit more information if I'm to evangelise about it properly! So here goes...
Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) is a fragrant herb that has been used for centuries for its healing properties. It belongs to the mint family and is native to Europe and the Mediterranean region. It has a pleasant lemony scent and many potential health benefits:
Stress and Anxiety Relief: Lemon balm is often used as a natural remedy to reduce stress and anxiety. It is believed to have a calming effect on the mind and can help improve mood and reduce restlessness. It is often consumed as a tea or used in aromatherapy.
Sleep Aid: Due to its calming properties, lemon balm is also used as a sleep aid. It may help improve the quality of sleep and reduce insomnia. Drinking lemon balm tea before bedtime is a common practice for this purpose.
Digestive Health: Lemon balm is used to soothe digestive issues such as indigestion, gas, and bloating. It can help relax the digestive tract and alleviate discomfort. Drinking lemon balm tea after meals may be beneficial.
Cold Sore Treatment: Lemon balm contains compounds that have antiviral properties. It is often applied topically as a cream or ointment to treat cold sores caused by the herpes simplex virus. Some studies suggest it may help reduce the duration and severity of outbreaks.
Cognitive Function: Some research has indicated that lemon balm may have cognitive-enhancing effects, potentially improving memory and alertness. However, more research is needed in this area.
Antioxidant Properties: Lemon balm contains antioxidants that can help protect cells from damage caused by free radicals. Antioxidants are known for their potential role in reducing the risk of chronic diseases.
Anti-Inflammatory Effects: Lemon balm has anti-inflammatory properties that may help reduce inflammation in the body, potentially benefiting conditions like arthritis.
Lemon balm can be consumed in various forms, including teas, capsules, extracts, and topical ointments. The dried herb is in our calming loose tea blend, and we also stock Viridian herbal supplement Our Neal's Yard Melissa hand cream smells amazing, with an, err, zingy scent and it really seems to be able to heal sore, dry and chapped hands.
Balm is generally considered safe when used in moderation, but as with any herbal remedy, it's recomended to consult with a healthcare professional before using especially if you are pregnant, nursing, taking medications, or have underlying health conditions.