Lemon Balm

lemon balm

Used in this herbal tea recipe:

Happy Heart Tea

What Is Lemon Balm?

Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) is a perennial plant in the mint family. It grows up to of 70–150 cm (28–59 in) high. The leaves have a mild lemon scent similar to mint. It is native to south-central Europe and Central Asia, but now well cultivated in North/South America and many other areas. Lemon balm was introduced into Spain in the 7th century, from which its use and clutivation spread throughout Europe.

During summer, small white flowers full of nectar appear, which attract bees. That is why the plant is used to attract honey bees to make honey. In fact the term "Melissa" in its formal name is Greek for "honey bee".[1]

Historical Use Of Lemon Balm

Medicinal use of lemon balm can be traced back to over 2000 years ago by the Greeks and Romans. Lemon Balm is mentioned in Theophrastus’s Historia Plantarum, dated around 300 BC. In the Middle Ages Lemon Balm was referenced by herbalists, writers, philosophers, and scientists, with Swiss physician and alchemist, Paracelsus, calling it the "elixir of life". Lemon balm was introduced to North America by early pioneers, and apparently was one the herbs cultivated in Thomas Jefferson’s garden.

Lemon balm has most commonly been used to help calm stress and anxiety.

Modern Information About Lemon Balm

A 2018 study looked at the effect of Lemon Balm on patients with cardiovascular problems (specifically, with chronic stable angina). This group was chosen because these patients tend to have high levels of depression, anxiety, stress, and insomnia. The result of the study found that patients:

... had a significant reduction in scores of depression, anxiety, stress, and total sleep disturbance, compared with the placebo group.[2]

In 2014, a study was conducted to measure the anti-stress effects of lemon balm. It concluded that:

lemon balm treatments were generally associated with improvements in mood and/or cognitive performance. [3]

In 2013, the EMA (European Medicines Agency) stated that lemon balm leaf:

can be used for the relief of mild symptoms of stress and to aid sleep [4]

Important notice: information on this website should not be interpreted as medical advice. Do not take any herbal supplements without consulting your physician, especially if you are taking medication or have an illness. Never take herbal supplements unless advised by a physician if you are, or might be, pregnant, or breastfeeding. Do not give herbal supplements to children under the age of 18.


  1. Lemon Balm on Wikipedia
  2. Haybar H., Javid AZ., Haghighizadeh MH., Valizadeh E., Mohaghegh SM., Mohammadzadeh A. (2018). The effects of Melissa officinalis supplementation on depression, anxiety, stress, and sleep disorder in patients with chronic stable angina. Clinical Nutrition ESPEN. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29908682
  3. Scholey, A.,Gibbs, A., Neale,C., Perry, N., Ossoukhova, A., Bilog, V., Kras, M., Scholz, C., Sass, M., Buchwald-Werner, S. (2014). Anti-Stress Effects of Lemon Balm-Containing Foods. Nutrients. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4245564
  4. European Medicines Agency, Committee on Herbal Medicinal Products (HMPC) (2014). https://www.ema.europa.eu/en/medicines/herbal/melissae-folium . Melissae folium