Tea Advisory Panel

Lemon Balm Tea

(Melissa officinalis L.)

 

Background:

Traditionally, infusions of lemon balm have been drunk to relieve mental stress and anxiety, aid sleep and to provide symptomatic relief of mild gastrointestinal complaints including bloating and flatulence.1 A European Medicines Authority report confirmed these uses are “well documented in recognised handbooks."2

 

Health properties:

A 2003 study of 20 volunteers given extracts of lemon balm up at varying doses found that self-rated calmness increased “significantly” an hour and 2.5 hours after taking 300mg of the extract. 

A 2004 trial of 18 volunteers who were subjected to stress found lemon balm increased calmness and reduced alertness. Curiously, the study found lemon balm also increased the speed of mathematical processing with no reduction in accuracy.3

A trial with Alzheimer’s patients noted a reduction in agitation in the lemon balm group compared to those who received a placebo.

Lemon balm appears to protect against DNA damage. A 2011 trial involving 55 radiology staff members found significant improvement in plasma levels of catalase, superoxide dismutase and glutathione peroxidise, which are all markers for cell damage, and a pronounced reduction in plasma DNA damage.4

 

References

1 http://www.ema.europa.eu/docs/en_GB/document_library/Herbal_-_HMPC_assessment_report/2013/08/WC500147187.pdf page 16

2 http://www.ema.europa.eu/docs/en_GB/document_library/Herbal_-_HMPC_assessment_report/2013/08/WC500147187.pdf  page 19

3 http://www.ema.europa.eu/docs/en_GB/document_library/Herbal_-_HMPC_assessment_report/2013/08/WC500147187.pdf page 16

4 http://www.ema.europa.eu/docs/en_GB/document_library/Herbal_-_HMPC_assessment_report/2013/08/WC500147187.pdf page 17

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