Medicine from your garden: Lemon BalmAlso known by its botanical name Melissa, Lemon balm is a herb used primarily for insomnia and anxiety. It also has anti-inflammatory, analgesic and antispasmodic properties, which make it a valuable supporting herb in the treatment of pain related sleep deprivation. These traditional uses are backed by clinical studies, which further show this herb to be useful for viruses, cognitive function, to slow heart rate and have a protective effect on the liver. Available in supplements for anxiety and insomnia, an alternative gentle way to use this herb is as a tea or as fresh leaves in a salad.
When to use Lemon BalmThe following are specific conditions for which this herb is indicated:
- Herpes used topically
Care neededAlthough a well tolerated herb, even natural medicines need care. Always tell your doctor of any supplements you are taking. Care should be exercised using Lemon Balm in the following situations:
- when taking barbiturates as there may be an increased sedative effect
- when taking cholinergic drugs, which might be used for glaucoma, COPD and Parkinson’s
- in pregnancy as safety has not been established
- in hypothyroidism as it may inhibit thyroxine