Lemon Balm and Thyroid Function
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.
Thyroid disease is an alarming concern today that affects both men and women in nearly every country across the world. Lemon balm is an ancient medicinal herb that has been used in medicine historically for thousands of years to treat a range of maladies including thyroid conditions. There is a close link between the effects of lemon balm and thyroid function. But how does it work? Keep reading to learn more.
In this article, we’ll be trying to figure out whether there is any link between the effects of lemon balm and thyroid function on the body according to traditional uses and scientific evidence. But before we get into how lemon balm can benefit thyroid function, it’s worth knowing the basics of thyroid disease a little bit more. So, let’s get started.
Table of contents
- Understanding the thyroid and its conditions
- What is lemon balm?
- Compounds and medicinal properties of lemon balm
- Lemon balm and thyroid function
- How to use lemon balm
- Precautions and side effects
- Final words
Understanding the thyroid and its conditions
The thyroid is a small two-lobed gland that is seated below Adam’s apple in the anterior neck. It’s composed of microscopic follicles that perform the production and secretion of thyroid hormones. The two key thyroid hormones are T3 (triiodothyronine) and T4 (thyroxine).
Thyroid hormones activate specific receptors of cells that impact many cellular functions, primarily metabolism and cell growth, by directly affecting the mitochondria through stimulating respiration or influencing the gene transcription and subsequent synthesis of protein.
There are two broad classifications of thyroid diseases - hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism. Let’s have a look at the most common causes of these conditions.
Hypothyroidism or an underactive thyroid
Hypothyroidism is characterized by clinical symptoms resulting from low levels or deficiencies of thyroid hormones. Spontaneous hypothyroidism is most commonly caused by Hashimoto’s disease, a condition where thyroid tissues get attacked by antibodies, leading to a disruption in the normal synthesis of thyroid hormones.
Hyperthyroidism or an overactive thyroid
Hyperthyroidism is characterized by clinical symptoms resulting from too much thyroid hormones. The most prevalent cause of hyperthyroidism is Graves’ disease, a condition where thyroid tissues get stimulated by antibodies, causing an overproduction of thyroid hormones or production in excess.
What is lemon balm?
Lemon balm, also botanically known as Melissa officinalis, is a plant member in the family of mint species. It has a long history of therapeutic use since as far back as the Middle Ages for its remarkable calming effects.
Lemon balm has traditionally been used to reduce anxiety and stress, ease pain, promote sleep, improve appetite, and alleviate various symptoms of indigestion such as gas, bloating, and colic. Today, lemon balm is widely used to prepare dietary supplements that are often recommended for the prevention and management of a range of health conditions including thyroid diseases.
Compounds and medicinal properties of lemon balm
Lemon balm contains several pharmacologically active compounds, primarily terpenes, eugenol, and tannins as well as others. Lemon balm and the active compounds it contains have been shown to have a number of varying medicinal properties such as antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, antiviral, antibacterial, antihormonal, analgesic, and anticancer, just to name a few. But the fame of lemon balm seems to come from its exceptional calming and relaxing effects.
Lemon balm and thyroid function
Lemon balm has been found to have huge potential for the treatment of hyperthyroidism. It can help block the binding of antibodies to thyroid cells that cause stimulation of the overproduction of thyroid hormones and eventually lead to Graves’ disease or hyperthyroidism. It also has the capacity to directly bind to TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone), making it inactive, which is critical to calm down an overactive thyroid as well.
The thyroid-regulating effects of lemon balm seem to come from the phenolic acids, flavonoids, and some other active components it contains. Besides, lemon balm also helps with the symptoms of hyperthyroidism such as difficulty sleeping, hyperactivity, and tachycardia, a rapid heartbeat condition that is out of proportion to activity, age, or exertion.
How to use lemon balm
Lemon balm is widely available in various forms such as tinctures, essential oils, teas, and oral supplements. The recommended method of use and dosage is individual and varies from person to person depending on the personal health needs and associated symptoms.
Therefore, it’s always important to talk with a qualified natural medicine provider to determine the exact dose. However, the dosage of oral supplements often ranges from 300 mg to 500 mg of standardized lemon balm extract which can be taken two to three times a day.
Precautions and side effects
Lemon balm is considered generally safe for most people when taken in recommended doses. It may rarely cause side effects such as headache, nausea, stomach pain, vomiting, dizziness, and increased body temperature. But these side effects aren’t common for every person who takes it.
Besides, lemon balm may interact with some prescription medications such as sedatives, HIV medications, and thyroid medications. It’s why it’s always essential to consult with a qualified natural medicine practitioner before using lemon balm supplements, especially if you’re pregnant, breastfeeding, or on medications.
Lemon balm is an ancient herb historically used in medicine since as far back as the Middle Ages to treat a wide range of maladies. It has an exceptionally calming and relaxing effect on the body. Research suggests that there is a close link between lemon balm and thyroid function. It can hugely help with calming an overactive thyroid and alleviating associated symptoms such as insomnia, rapid heartbeat, and hyperactivity.
In addition, lemon balm is widely used to reduce anxiety and stress, improve appetite, ease pain, promote relaxation and sleep, and manage various symptoms of ingestion including gas, bloating, and colic. Consider consulting with a certified healthcare provider to determine whether lemon balm is right for your specific health needs.
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