Lemon Balm for Anxiety
DISCLAIMER: This article has been written for informational and educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment
The effects of lemon balm for anxiety and nervous disorders have been noticed for over two millennia and thus, this miraculous herb has historically been used in medicine to treat a wide range of nervous disorders including anxiety, depression, sleeping issues, and restlessness. Recent scientific studies have also substantiated most of its traditional uses.
Although experiencing anxiety occasionally in certain fearful situations is a normal part of life, persistent and excessive anxiety levels for a long period may affect daily activities as well as the quality of life and may lead to a wide range of anxiety disorders. Lemon balm has been studied as an effective treatment for anxiety over recent years.
In this article, we’ll discuss the benefits of lemon balm for anxiety and other associated nervous conditions in a little bit of detail. So, let’s have a look at how lemon balm can help with anxiety.
Table of contents
- What is lemon balm?
- Benefits of lemon balm for anxiety
- How to use lemon balm
- Precautions and side effects
- Final words
What is lemon balm?
Lemon balm, botanically known as Melissa officinalis, is a lemon-scented perennial herb that belongs to the mint family. It is endemic to Europe, Central Asia, Iran, and the Mediterranean Basin but now grows in nearly all parts of the world.
The leaves of the lemon balm plant showed tremendous calming effects on the human mind and body and have long been used in traditional medicines to treat various mood and cognitive issues for thousands of years.
Benefits of lemon balm for anxiety
Data from multiple studies showed that lemon balm has an incredible ability to reduce anxiety, excitability, and nervousness and potentially help alleviate the effects of stress.
Lemon balm has been shown to have potent antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial properties. It can benefit in many ways including physical, mental, and emotional.
With its antioxidant actions, it helps prevent inflammation caused by free radicals. Free radicals are disease-causing molecules that contain unpaired electrons and cause large chain reactions, leading to damage in cells, tissues, organs, and ultimately systems.
The chemical compounds of lemon balm include polyphenols, tannins, and a group of volatile essential oils such as citral, geraniol, and citronellol oils. These chemical constituents are responsible for its pleasant citrus-minty aroma as well as health benefits. They help strengthen the gastrointestinal system and improve digestion, which plays a vital role in maintaining a healthy and stable mental state.
Besides, lemon balm helps increase the levels of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a naturally occurring neurotransmitter that blocks nerve impulses in the brain and reduces neuronal excitability in the central nervous system (CNS). GABA plays an important role in regulating anxiety, restlessness, and moods by protecting brain nerve cells from being over-excited by inhibiting nerve transmissions.
The chemical compounds found in lemon balm help enhance the sense of fight-or-flight and ease muscle tension, making it one of the most promising brain restorative herbal medicines that can help the human brain manage its response to situations caused by anxiety, tension, and stress. The best part of lemon balm is that it shows immediate benefits but produces long-term effects as well.
A systematic review and meta-analysis published in 2021 on the Phytotherapy Research concluded that lemon balm might be effective in improving various anxiety and depressive symptoms specifically in acute conditions.
Another 2014 study published in the Nutrients suggested that lemon balm-containing foods possess anti-stress properties and can be effective in the treatment of improving mood and cognitive performance.
How to use lemon balm
Lemon balm can be used in many ways such as making teas, syrups, vinegar or consuming lemon balm capsules, or applying in aromatherapy. For aromatherapy use, lemon balm essential oils should be diluted into carrier oils like jojoba oil, olive oil, or coconut oil depending on the condition.
Dietary lemon balm supplements are highly beneficial for controlling stress and anxiety levels, protecting brain and body cells from the oxidative damage caused by free radicals, and treating various digestive issues particularly those that are linked to higher levels of stress and anxiety.
The dosages of lemon balm extract capsules may range from 500 mg to 1200 mg per day depending on associated health conditions.
Precautions and side effects
Lemon balm is considered generally safe and well-tolerated for most adults within recommended doses. Mild side effects may include headache, nausea, vomiting, painful urination, fever, dizziness, and allergic reactions. But these effects are not common for all.
Moreover, some people may experience increased eye pressure and thyroid hormone issues. Therefore, people with thyroid and eye disorders should use it under direct medical supervision.
However, dietary supplements may interact with other supplements and medications, so always ask your healthcare professional before using lemon balm or any dietary supplement especially if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or taking any medication due to any existing underlying health conditions.
Lemon balm has a long history of therapeutic use for over two thousand years to treat various nervous conditions such as anxiety, depression, restlessness, and issues related to moods and cognitive performance. The benefits of lemon balm for anxiety have been substantiated by scientific studies over recent years.
Lemon balm can be used in several ways including aromatherapy, teas, tinctures, and supplementary capsules. Dosages of lemon balm capsules generally range from 500 mg to 1200 mg per day depending on the condition.
Though lemon balm is generally safe and well-tolerated in most people, it may produce some side effects and may interact with other medications or supplements. Hence, it’s highly recommended to consult with a licensed naturopath or nutritionist before starting on lemon balm supplements.
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