Melissa Officinalis or lemon balm is considered to be a calming herb. It is a member of the mint family. People in the Middle Ages used Melissa Officinalis as means of remedy in treating stress and anxiety, increase appetite, promote sleep, and relieves stomach pain secondary to indigestion (including colic, bloating, and gas). Even before the Middle Ages, Melissa Officinalis has been steeped in wine to promote faster wound healing, lift the spirits, treat insect bites, and venomous strings. Nowadays, Melissa Officinalis is used in creams to relieve oral herpes (or cold sores), and is sometimes combined with different soothing, calming herbs like chamomile, valerian, and hops, to promote relaxation.
Melissa Officinalis is native to Europe. It is grown not only in gardens to attracts bees, but also in crops for cosmetic, and medicine purposes, as well as furniture polish manufacturing. This plant is grown all over the globe and can grow higher than two feet if not maintained. The leaves are somewhat alike with the mint leaves. Depending on the climate and soil, the leaves of this plant can range from dark green to yellowish green. If you rub your fingers on the leaves, it will smell like lemons.
Melissa Officinalis supplements are made from the leaves of the plant itself. Melissa Officinalis contains tannins, which plays a role for many of its antiviral effects. Essential oils made from Melissa Officinalis leaves has chemicals known as terpenes, which is responsible for the herb’s antiviral and relaxation effects. It also contains eugenol, which relieves muscle spasm and numbness, and gets rid of bacteria.
Melissa Officinalis is known to be safe when used in food amounts. There have been no reported negative effects of Melissa Officinalis when used by adults as a short-term medicine. However, there are no enough evidence that could prove its effects with long-term use. When administered orally, Melissa Officinalis can cause some negative effects such as abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, wheezing, and dizziness. When applied topically, one study stated that it could cause irritation and increases the incidence of cold sores. Some experts claim that Melissa Officinalis might be safe when taken at safe doses by children below the age of 12 years for up to a month, and by infants for up to 1 week.