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Lemon Balm for Headaches

Lemon Balm for Headaches


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 has traditionally been used for centuries to relieve a variety of health conditions. It is still used by people to improve mood and cognitive health and relieve various headaches. Being a calming herb, lemon balm ease stress and anxiety, relieve headache and migraines, promote calmness and help you get a peaceful sleep.

Lemon balm supplements are available in pills, capsules, liquid extract, and tea form which are widely used to enjoy its lemony taste and perk of benefits. This article details the benefits of lemon balm for headaches and other body systems and the possible risks or side effects associated with inappropriate consumption.


What is Lemon Balm?

Lemon balm, also known as Melisa officinalis, is a lemon-scented herb belonging to Lamiaceae, the same family as mint. This herb originated from North Africa, Europe, and West Asia and is now widely grown all over the world.

It has been used for reducing tension and anxiety, promoting sleep, enhancing appetite, and easing stomach pain and discomfort since the Middle Ages. Even before the Middle Ages, lemon balm was steeped in wine to cheer people up, aid in the healing of wounds, and treat dangerous insect bites and stings. Today, to aid in relaxation, lemon balm is frequently blended with other relaxing, soothing herbs including valerian, chamomile, and hops. Additionally, it is utilized in creams to treat cold sores (oral herpes).


Is Lemon Balm Effective for Headaches?

If you have experienced the excruciating pain of a severe headache or migraine episode, you would be aware of how challenging it can be to perform mental tasks like working or driving while your head is pounding.

However, there are other things you can do if you have a headache than merely curl up in bed and wait for it to pass. Sleeping or resting can really be beneficial. There are various traditional natural remedies to relieve headaches and migraine symptoms. Lemon balm is a herb best known for its calming and relaxing properties and is claimed to be beneficial in headaches and migraine. It is effective in headaches resulting from stress and anxiety.

It is used in various supplement forms including capsules, pills, liquid extracts, tinctures, and lemon balm tea. It works as a vasodilator, dilates capillaries, and help manage migraine headache. Lemon balm is a nervine tonic and has been used with other herbs such as cinnamon, chamomile, passionflower, and nutmeg to treat neuralgia and various headaches. Studies revealed that lemon balm helps relieve headaches particularly if occur due to stress and anxiety. Calming and relaxing properties of lemon balm might help you unwind, relieve tension and soothe your muscles. Consumption of lemon balm supplements helps dilate blood vessels and relieve headaches. In case of recurrent headaches, it is advised to take 300-600mg three times a day.

How Does it Work?

It is hypothesized that lemon balm affects brain gamma-aminobutyric (GABA) levels. GABA is a brain chemical that helps to regulate mood, low levels of GABA can cause agitation and anxiety because it prevents neurons from being overexcited. By blocking the GABA-T enzyme, which breaks down GABA, lemon balm greatly lowers excitatory transmission in the brain by increasing the amount of GABA that is available there. Despite its ability to have synergistic effects when used with other herbs, rosmarinic acid is the primary component of lemon balm responsible for this function.

Other Benefits of Lemon Balm: 

Can Relieve Stress and Anxiety

Lemon balm is known to have the potential to reduce the symptoms of stress and anxiety, help you unwind, and elevate your mood. A study concluded that the consumption of lemon balm helps decrease the negative mood and create a sense of calmness and alertness.

For stress and anxiety, it is advised to take 300 mg capsule twice daily or 600 mg capsule in a single dose.

May Enhance Cognitive Health

Lemon balm supplements have potential to boost memory, learning, and concentration. According to a study on elementary school children, the consumption of lemon balm preparations helps improve cognitive performance, enhanced mood, and improved concentration.

Help Relieve Sleep Problems

Studies revealed that lemon balm also helps treat insomnia and sleep problems associated with PMS. Lemon balm when used in combination with other herbs such as valerian, helps treat restlessness in children. It possesses a bioactive compound, rosemarinic acid which has the potential to treat insomnia and improve sleep quality. According to a study including 900 children, 80% of children showed improvement in sleep quality and 70% of children showed improvement in restlessness.

Alleviate PMS Symptoms

In a 2015 study, women in their teen years who took lemon balm capsules reported fewer PMS symptoms. Lemon balm supplements are also known to improve menstrual cramps and a study revealed that these supplements are effective as a placebo. To minimize menstrual cramps and PMS symptoms it is advised to take 1200 mg daily divided into 2 or 3 doses.

 Regulate Hormone Levels

More than 12% of Americans suffer from thyroid disorders, and one of the two most prevalent thyroid illnesses, hyperthyroidism, can be helped by a lemon balm.

When attempting to control an overactive thyroid, natural health practitioners frequently utilize lemon balm extract as one of their therapy options. According to research, these extracts, especially in those with Grave's disease, prevent substances from attaching to the thyroid receptor that causes the thyroid to over-activate. 

Have Antioxidant and Anti-inflammatory Properties

Lemon balm possesses phytochemicals that contain potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. These antioxidant compounds fight free radicals, reduce oxidative stress, prevent cellular damage, and reduce the risk of chronic diseases. In addition to its antioxidant properties, lemon balm also lessens chronic inflammation and aids in disease prevention.

Possible Risks or Side Effects

Lemon is considered safe to use and well tolerated by people, however in some people, it may cause skin rash, nausea, headache, and heart palpitation.

Lemon balm supplements may interact with sedatives and thyroid drugs, it is necessary to consult with your doctor if you are also taking sedatives (for anxiety or sleeplessness) or thyroid-regulating drugs.

It is unclear whether lemon balm interacts with Antiretroviral medications. Lemon balm should not be used at this time if you are HIV-positive and receiving treatment.

How to Take Lemon Balm?

You can drink tea made from lemon balm (6 – 12g of the dry herb daily). However, it is advised to take a therapeutic dose in the form of a tincture (liquid extract) or capsules containing 500 mg of dry extract daily if you are suffering from excessive levels of anxiety.

Although there are no known contraindications and lemon balm is generally safe and well-accepted, it is always better to get the advice of a trained herbalist to determine your specific needs before beginning any herbal medicine treatment.


Bottom Line

Lemon balm is a herb with relaxing and calming properties that help relieve stress and anxiety, improve sleep, and reduce PMS symptoms. Lemon balm supplements have been used to relieve headaches and migraine by interacting with brain chemicals and dilating capillaries. It also helps relieve digestive problems, promote heart, and brain health, fight infections, and prevent diseases.


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