Lemon Balm Leaf Extract

Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis), a member of the mint family, has long been considered a "calming" herb. It has been used since the Middle Ages to reduce stress and anxiety, promote sleep, improve appetite, and ease pain and discomfort associated with digestion (including flatulence and bloating as well as colic). Even before the Middle Ages, lemon balm was steeped in wine to lift the spirits, help heal wounds, and treat venomous insect bites and stings. Today, lemon balm is often combined with other calming, soothing herbs, such as valerian, to enhance the overall relaxing effect.

Insomnia and anxiety
Several studies have found that lemon balm combined with other calming herbs (such as valerian) helps reduce anxiety and promote sleep. Few studies have investigated the safety and effectiveness of oral lemon balm alone, however. For example, in one recent study of people with minor sleep disorders, those who ingested an herbal combination of valerian and lemon balm reported sleeping much better than those who ingested placebo pills. It is not clear from these studies, however, whether lemon balm itself (or the combined action of lemon balm and valerian) is responsible for these sleep-inducing effects.
 
Herpes
Some studies suggest that topical ointments containing lemon balm may help heal lip sores associated with herpes simplex virus (HSV). In one study of 116 people with HSV, those who applied lemon balm cream to their lip sores experienced significant improvement in redness and swelling after only two days. Although other symptoms, (such as pain and scabbing) did not improve, both the patients and their physicians reported that the lemon balm ointment was highly effective. Several animal studies also support the value of topical lemon balm for herpes lesions.

Other
Although few rigorous scientific studies have been conducted on lemon balm, many professional herbalists suggest that this herb is beneficial for a variety of health problems including Alzheimer's disease, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), indigestion, insomnia, and hyperthyroidism. Experimental laboratory studies also suggest that lemon balm has antioxidant and anti-HIV properties, but further studies are needed to confirm these findings.

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