For Anxiety, Fatigue, Stress, Insomnia
Lemon Balm. It isn't just for herpes anymore. Lemon balm has long been a treatment for herpes in Europe, used to control cold sores, shingles and other forms of the virus. Lemon balm can be taken orally as well as topically to control outbreaks. This treatment is not as well known in the US but is gaining in popularity. Lemon balm has many anti-viral components and can stop the herpes virus from replicating in your body. But there are many other uses for this member of the mint family.
Test Anxiety, Lemon balm has always had a reputation for calming: reducing stress and even helping with sleep problems. This spurred a study at Northumbria University in England where students were given either lemon balm or a placebo before tests. The study lasted several weeks and the students using lemon balm had significantly improved scores compared to the placebo group. The thinking is that the calming effect of the herb reduced anxiety and allowed the students to concentrate.
Another European use for Lemon balm is to teat thyroid problems. Whether overactive or under-active, constituents of lemon balm have the ability to regulate thyroid hormone production.
Because of the strong anti-viral elements and the ability to regulate the thyroid, lemon balm has recently gained popularity in treating Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Herbalists often combine lemon balm with the Ayurvedic herb, ashwaganda in treating this condition.
Some research shows that taking a specific lemon balm product (Cyracos) reduces symptoms in people with anxiety disorders. A product containing lemon balm plus 12 other ingredients has also been shown to reduce symptoms of anxiety such as nervousness or edginess.
Some research shows that taking lemon balm by mouth daily for 4 months seems to reduce agitation and improve symptoms of mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease. In one study, applying a lotion containing lemon balm oils to the face and hands reduced agitation in people with dementia. However, other research found no benefit.
Upset stomach (dyspepsia)
When a specific combination of lemon balm and peppermint leaf, German chamomile, caraway, licorice, clown's mustard plant, celandine, angelica, and milk thistle (Iberogast, Medical Futures, Inc) is used. This combination seems to improve acid reflux (GERD), stomach pain, cramping, nausea, and vomiting.
Taking a lemon balm by itself or along with other ingredients might improve the length and quality of sleep in healthy people and in those with insomnia or sleeping disorders.
Lemon balm, being a member of the mint family, is very easy to grow. The leaves can be quickly dried in an oven and crumbled for tea. You can also use it in a standardized liquid extract: Lemon Balm Alcohol-free Liquid Extract. If you, or anyone you know, suffers from any of these conditions, or needs a leg up in taking tests, give it a try. There are no noted safety warnings or interactions.
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