Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis) is a perennial herb from the mint family that has been well-regarded in traditional medicine for centuries. Its uses range from addressing anxiety, insomnia, digestive issues, headaches, and even skincare. This article aims to provide a concise, factual overview of Lemon Balm, shedding light on its active ingredients and evidence-backed benefits.
Critical Components of Lemon Balm
Lemon Balm houses several noteworthy compounds, such as ursolic acid, oleanolic acid, and rosmarinic acid. Rosmarinic acid has been found to inhibit GABA transaminase, effectively keeping your brain's GABA around for longer in your nerve synapses (1). Additionally, it contains antioxidant and anti-inflammatory flavonoids like apigenin and luteolin (2). These components contribute to the herb's medicinal properties.
Addressing Anxiety, Stress, and Sleep
Scientific studies have explored Lemon Balm's impact on anxiety and sleep disorders. Proprietary extracts administered twice a day showed reductions in anxiety and insomnia in humans (3). Similar results were observed in mice studies (4,5). The herb's ability to inhibit GABA transaminase, increasing the presence of the inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA, forms the basis of its calming effects. A 2021 systematic review of 10 randomized controlled trials affirmed the improvement in anxiety and depressive symptoms with Lemon Balm use (6).
Sleep Quality Enhancement with Valerian and Lemon Balm
A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial involving 98 participants investigated the combination of valerian and Lemon Balm. The study revealed a statistically significant improvement in sleep quality in the valerian/lemon balm group without an increase in serious adverse effects compared to the placebo group (7).
Nootropic and Neuroprotective Traits
Lemon Balm's potential interactions with the acetylcholine/muscarinic/nicotinic system have been explored. In a trial with 20 healthy individuals, improvements in memory tasks and visual information processing were noted after one ingestion (8).
Side Effects of Lemon Balm
While generally well-tolerated, Lemon Balm may have side effects. At very high doses, some individuals may experience mild gastrointestinal discomfort. In rare cases, Lemon Balm can cause skin irritation, especially in those with sensitivities. Less well documented is its ability to cause stimulation at high dosages rather than relaxation. It's advisable to start with lower doses and monitor for any adverse reactions.
Understanding Lemon Balm Dosing
Lemon Balm can be taken by itself but its powers are enhanced by combining with other synergistic ingredients (e.g. passionflower or valerian root). When taken by itself, use a lower dosage for relaxation and a higher dosage (that could be standardized to rosmarinic acid content) for nootropic effects.
Unwind+ offers a Lemon Balm supplement with 60mg of a potent 40:1 extract per standard two-capsule dose derived from 2400mg of Melissa officinalis. This careful formulation aims to provide a substantial dose of active ingredients without causing stimulation, as high doses of Lemon Balm can be stimulating for some individuals due to its rosmarinic acid content. Unwind+ excels by combining Lemon Balm with other complementary ingredients to promote GABA's relaxing actions in the brain.
In conclusion, Lemon Balm stands out as a herb with diverse applications, ranging from anxiety and sleep aid to potential cognitive benefits. Unwind+ offers a straightforward solution, providing a balanced dose without unnecessary additives. Whether you're seeking relaxation, better sleep, or cognitive support, Lemon Balm's natural properties may offer a practical and evidence-backed solution. Consider this herb part of your wellness routine for a straightforward approach to better health.
This article is for educational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice.
- Cases J, Ibarra A, Feuillère N, Roller M, Sukkar SG. Pilot trial of Melissa officinalis L. leaf extract in the treatment of volunteers suffering from mild-to-moderate anxiety disorders and sleep disturbances. Med J Nutrition Metab. 2011 Dec;4(3):211-218. doi: 10.1007/s12349-010-0045-4. Epub 2010 Dec 17.
- Ibarra A, Feuillere N, Roller M, Lesburgere E, Beracochea D. Effects of chronic administration of Melissa officinalis L. extract on anxiety-like reactivity and on circadian and exploratory activities in mice. Phytomedicine. 2010 May;17(6):397-403. doi: 10.1016/j.phymed.2010.01.012. Epub 2010 Feb 18.
- Ghazizadeh J, Sadigh-Eteghad S, Marx W, Fakhari A, Hamedeyazdan S, Torbati M, Taheri-Tarighi S, Araj-Khodaei M, Mirghafourvand M. The effects of lemon balm (Melissa officinalis L.) on depression and anxiety in clinical trials: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Phytother Res. 2021 Dec;35(12):6690-6705. doi: 10.1002/ptr.7252.
- Kennedy DO, Wake G, Savelev S, Tildesley NT, Perry EK, Wesnes KA, Scholey AB. Modulation of mood and cognitive performance following acute administration of single doses of Melissa officinalis (Lemon balm) with human CNS nicotinic and muscarinic receptor-binding properties. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2003 Oct;28(10):1871-81. doi:10.1038/sj.npp.1300230.