Lemon Balm and the Liver
Disclaimer: This content has been produced purely for informational and educational purposes only and is never intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical guidelines including diagnosis, advice, and treatment.
Lemon balm is famous as one of the most ancient natural remedies, which has been used in medicine since the time of the Middle Ages. This medicinal herb has been extensively studied in order to understand its effects on nearly every organ throughout the body. But is there any link between lemon balm and the liver? Let’s explore it together.
In this article, we’ll explore whether there is any link between lemon balm and the liver according to research findings. But before we get into how lemon balm can help with the liver, we’ll need to understand the basics of the liver and its associated conditions first. So, let’s get started.
Table of contents
- Understanding the liver and its conditions
- What is lemon balm?
- Lemon balm compounds and medicinal properties
- Lemon balm and the liver
- How to use lemon balm supplements
- Precautions and side effects
- Final words
Understanding the liver and its conditions
Inside the human body, the liver is the largest organ that plays many different roles that are crucial for staying healthy. It turns food into energy to help keep the body properly functioning. It turns nutrients into usable forms that the human body can readily use. Moreover, it plays an essential role in filtering out poisons and removing them from the body. It’s why if the liver doesn’t work properly, the entire bodily system gets affected.
There are various types of liver disease that may result from many different causes, such as:
Excessive toxins - too many toxins cause fatty liver disease. The most common fatty liver disease is nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), in which excess fats built up inside the liver and cause inflammation. NAFLD progresses gradually and ranges in severity from NASH (nonalcoholic steatohepatitis) to cirrhosis of the liver. NASH starts with inflammation and cell damage and it gradually develops more serious conditions that can cause scars on the liver tissues and eventually cirrhosis.
As the rates of diabetes and obesity are rising over time, NAFLD is becoming more and more common day by day. Another type of fatty liver disease is alcoholic fatty liver disease (AFLD) which may result from alcohol abuse.
Viral infections - viral infections cause different types of liver disease depending on the causative virus such as hepatitis A, B, and C.
Inherited genes - some genes may also contribute to developing some inherited liver diseases such as hemochromatosis and Wilson disease.
Immune system problems - sometimes the immune system mistakenly attacks the liver which causes autoimmune liver diseases such as autoimmune hepatitis and primary biliary cholangitis.
Tumors and cancer - liver tumors are developed when abnormal cells get multiplied. They can be of two types - noncancerous benign or cancerous malignant.
What is lemon balm?
Lemon balm or otherwise referred to as balm mint or common balm is a perennial flowering plant that is a member of the mint species. The leaves of the plant have been used in medicine for thousands of years to treat a range of maladies such as headaches, wounds, high fever, nerve pain, and bites and stings. It’s also renowned for its calming effects that can hugely help with agitation, insomnia, and cognitive performance.
Lemon balm is widely taken as an oral supplement or extract, consumed as a tea, and applied on the skin as a lotion or cream. It is also used in aromatherapy in the form of lemon balm essential oil.
Lemon balm compounds and medicinal properties
Lemon balm contains a number of active components. The most common ones include phenolics such as rosmarinic acid, naringin, caffeic acid, and luteolin, triterpenes such as oleanolic acid and ursolic acid, and volatile compounds such as geraniol, citronellal, geranial, neral, and more.
The health benefits of lemon balm seem to come from the active compounds it contains that have been shown to have various medicinal properties including antioxidant, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, anxiolytic, and immunomodulating, just to name a few.
Lemon balm and the liver
Lemon balm has an incredible potential to protect the liver from damage caused by the accumulation of fats, which is the leading cause of the nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). It can help improve cholesterol synthesis and fatty acid metabolism in the liver. These effects have also been found to be useful in preventing the growth of liver cancer cells.
Besides, the antioxidant agents such as phenolic compounds and flavonoids found in lemon balm have been shown to have protective effects against oxidative damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are unstable oxygenated molecules that cause chain reactions, leading to cell damage, tissue damage, and even organ damage.
A 2015 review article published in the Zahedan Journal of Research in Medical Sciences concluded that the extract of lemon balm can lower lipid profiles and act to protect the liver through its powerful antioxidant effects.
How to use lemon balm supplements
Dosage recommendations for lemon balm supplements vary depending on the aim of the use and the severity of the symptoms. Therefore, it’s necessary to work with a qualified natural medicine provider to find out the exact dose for your specific condition. However, in general, most clinicians recommend a dose range between 300 mg to 600 mg two to three times a day.
Precautions and side effects
Lemon balm has been given the status of generally recognized as safe (GRAS) in the United States. However, some people may experience side effects such as stomach pain, nausea, indigestion, headache, dizziness, and anxiety.
Lemon balm may also affect how certain prescription medications work in the body, such as sedatives and thyroid medications. Therefore, it’s essential to work with a qualified natural medicine provider to determine its safety profile and method of use before using lemon balm supplements.
Lemon balm is an ancient natural remedy that has been historically used in medicine for treating various health conditions. Research has found there’s a close link between lemon balm and the liver. It has a significant protective effect on the liver by inhibiting free radicals and reducing fat accumulation. These effects can hugely help in the prevention and management of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Consider working with a qualified natural medicine expert to determine the best dose and safety profile for your specific health status.
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