LEMON BALM

[Melissa officinalis]  This highly aromatic, sweet-smelling, bee-attracting herb was a favourite in medieval “elixirs of youth”. These days it is most often employed as a tonic for its soothing effects on the central nervous system and digestion. It makes a pleasant tasting tea which is considered to raise the spirits through being both calming and antidepressant. In addition, balm’s antispasmodic action reduces tension and cramping in muscles, and its carminative effect eases gas in the gastro-intestinal tract. This combination of qualities sees lemon balm used in situations where anxiety leads to digestive problems or headache.

Certain constituents of lemon balm have antiviral activity, most notably deterring the viruses that cause herpes. Balm is also used in cases of “female discomforts” such as menstrual cramps, and for insomnia. Further, balm is reputed to normalise thyroid function.

Externally, lemon balm is used for cold sores, insect stings, painful swellings and cuts.

ACTIONS include: nerve tonic, antispasmodic, carminative, antiviral, antibacterial, antihistamine, diaphoretic (promotes sweating), relaxant, antidepressant.

CAUTION: Consult your vet and herbalist before using lemon balm concurrently with thyroid drug treatment.

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