Lemon Balm for Cold
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 a citrusy herb that has had many medicinal uses for thousands of years. Still today, the plant is widely grown for preparing medicines and flavoring foods. Although it’s best known for relieving stress and promoting relaxation, many people use lemon balm for colds and associated symptoms. But does it really help? Let’s try to explore together.
In this article, we’ll be exploring whether there are any benefits of using lemon balm for colds and associated symptoms. But before we get into how lemon balm can help the common cold, first, we’ll need to know the basics of cold a little bit more. So, let’s get started.
Table of contents
- What is cold?
- Symptoms of cold
- Causes of cold
- Risk factors of cold
- Complications of cold
- What is lemon balm?
- Potential benefits of lemon balm for cold
- How to use lemon balm
- Precautions and side effects
- Final words
What is cold?
Cold or otherwise referred to as common cold is a viral infection that affects the upper respiratory tract, or the nose and throat in particular. There are many types of viruses that can be responsible for the development of cold conditions. Though it is usually harmless makes you feel so bothersome to miss work or school.
In general, adults experience an average of two to three colds each year, children or infants may have even more. A cold condition usually gets better on its own with adequate rest and home remedies. If symptoms persist for more than 3 weeks or worsen over time, you may need to seek medical attention.
Symptoms of cold
Signs and symptoms of a cold may vary from person to person and normally peak within two to three days from the date of exposure to a virus causing the cold. Common symptoms of a cold may include:
- Sore throat
- Runny nose
- Stuffy nose
- Watery eyes
- Fever (albeit most people with a cold always don’t experience fever)
- Difficulty breathing
- Loss of taste
- Post-nasal drip in which mucus drips down the throat
Causes of cold
There are more than 200 viruses that may contribute to developing a cold, but rhinoviruses are the most prevalent type. A cold-causing virus commonly spread from person to person either through close personal contact such as shaking hands and sharing eating utensils or through the air when a sick person talks, sneezes, or coughs.
Risk factors of cold
A large number of factors may increase the risk of developing a cold, including, but aren’t limited to:
- Age - children and infants are more likely to have colds than healthy adults
- Season - although a person may get a cold at any time of the year, these conditions are common during the changing of seasons, especially during the fall and winter
- Close contact - close contact with a person who has a viral infection of a cold-causing virus may increase your risk of getting a cold
Complications of cold
If not controlled, a cold increases the risk of developing a range of other conditions as well, such as:
- Acute sinusitis
- Ear infection called otitis media
What is lemon balm?
Lemon balm or otherwise called common balm or scientifically Melissa officinalis is a lemon-scented perennial herb from the Lamiceae or mint family that natively grows in North Africa, West Asia, and also parts of Europe. The leaves of the plant have long been used in medicine for many different purposes ranging from treating colds to improving digestive health to relieving stress and anxiety.
Potential benefits of lemon balm for cold
Lemon balm possesses several medicinal properties including antiviral, diaphoretic, calmative, stomachic, carminative, and anti-inflammatory, just to name a few.
The diaphoretic actions of lemon balm can help induce sweating for breaking out fevers. The antiviral properties of lemon balm can hugely help to inhibit cold-causing viruses from entering the linings of the cells of the respiratory tract. This can help reduce symptoms of viral infections as well. This is the reason why lemon balm is widely used to treat cold sores.
Lemon balm is also useful in reducing mucus production and clearing congestion, which in turn can help open up nasal and lung passages. It has a mild lemony flavor that can help improve the taste. Lemon balm is also helpful in calming digestive discomforts associated with colds and flu.
How to use lemon balm
Lemon balm is available in a number of forms including capsules, teas, lotions, liquid extracts, and creams. The use of lemon balm for cold often combines both external and internal to get the benefits from the inside out.
For oral use, doses of lemon balm often equate to 600 mg to 1600 mg per day which can be taken in two to three split doses throughout the day. Doses depend on the severity of symptoms and may widely vary from person to person. Therefore, it’s always the best idea to work with a naturopathic doctor to figure out the best recommended dose.
Precautions and side effects
Lemon balm seems to be safe for most otherwise healthy individuals. Side effects are usually uncommon and easily reversible. Common side effects include headaches, skin rashes, nausea, and heart palpitations.
People taking thyroid medications or sedatives or any medications should ask their healthcare providers before using lemon balm. Pregnant and breastfeeding women should also consult with a licensed doctor prior to using it.
There are several potential benefits and uses of lemon balm for colds and associated symptoms. It has antiviral, diaphoretic, calmative, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and anti-spasmodic properties, all of which can help with colds in many different ways. But people should consult a licensed doctor before using it, especially if they’re on medications for any underlying conditions.
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