Skip to main content Skip to search Skip to top navigation Skip to footer

Natural Health Products

Explore our library for useful information on natural health products.

Search by first letter


Lemon balm

Scientific Name(s)

Melissa officinalis L. (Lamiaceae)

Common Name(s)

lemon balm, melissa

  • How is this product usually used?
  • What is this product used for?

      Lemon balm is used in traditional herbal medicine as a sleep aid, especially in cases of difficulty sleeping or restlessness due to mental stress. It has also been used traditionally to help with digestive problems such as stomach upset and heartburn or indigestion.

      Studies showed promising effects of topical 1% lemon balm extractextractto get, separate, or isolate a desired active ingredient cream in the treatment of herpes simplex virus infections. People have also used it to treat agitation in dementia, anxiety, infant colic, irritable bowel syndrome, and restlessness, and to improve mental performance. However, there is insufficient data to confirm the effectiveness of lemon balm for these conditions and more research is needed to confirm its benefits.

      Your health care provider may have recommended this product for other conditions. Contact a health care provider if you have questions.

  • What else should I be aware of?

      Taken by mouth, lemon balm is usually well tolerated in recommended doses up to 30 days in otherwise healthy adults. Side effects can include drowsiness, sedation, headache, nausea, vomiting, abdominalabdominalrelating to the stomach and intestines pain, dizziness, sleep disturbances, and wheezing. When it is applied to the skin, it can cause local skin reddening, irritation, pigmentation, tingling, and a burning sensation.

      Lemon balm can cause drowsiness. Do not drive or engage in other activities requiring alertness if the product affects you in this way.

      Lemon balm may lower your blood pressure and therefore should be used with caution if you are taking medications with similar properties. It can also lower your blood sugar levels and people with diabetes should use lemon balm with care.

      Do not take lemon balm with alcohol or other medications or health products with sleep-inducing properties (e.g. antidepressants, lorazepam). Using these products together can cause excessive drowsiness and sleepiness. Lemon balm may also interact with the following agents:

      • thyroid replacement therapy (e.g., levothyroxine)
      • diabetic medications
      • medications that can lower blood pressure
      • other agents that are metabolized by the liver's cytochrome P450 enzyme system

      Do not use lemon balm if you are allergic to it. If you experience a severe allergic reaction (swelling of the face and throat, difficulty breathing), stop using the supplement and seek medical attention.

      If your symptoms persist or worsen, contact your heath care provider.

      If you are taking lemon balm to help sleep, consult your health care provider if you still have trouble sleeping after using lemon balm for more than 3 weeks.

      It is not known whether lemon balm is safe for in pregnant and breast-feeding women to use. Talk to your doctor if you are pregnant or breast-feeding before using this supplement.

      Before taking any new medications, including natural health products, speak to your physician, pharmacist, or other health care provider. Tell your health care provider about any natural health products you may be taking.

  • Source(s)

All material © 1996-2019 MediResource Inc. Terms and conditions of use. The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

Back to Top