Lemon balm does not sound like the latest tip when it comes to improving anxiety with natural plant compounds.
Currently, many people advocate lemon balm for anxiety. But does lemon balm fight anxiety?
Lemon balm does not only help with anxiety and sleep but also benefits your body. That’s why lemon balm is a new power food used by many biohackers.
Everything you need to know about lemon balm is explained in this article.
What is Lemon Balm?
Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) is probably one of the most common power foods. The plant can be found in almost every garden, but not many know about the special power of the herb.
The small green leaves spread a minty/lemony scent, especially in summer, it becomes even more intense as you rub the leaves between your fingers.
Lemon Balm contains numerous mild essential oils that can help with anxiety, insomnia and stomach discomfort.
The use of lemon balm has a long tradition. Already in the Middle Ages, it grew in every monastery garden and the rural population knew about the healing power for body and mind.
At that time, it was mainly taken because of its positive effect on the stomach and traditionally infused as melissa tea. But also many recipes with lemon balm were developed.
Lemon balm has an antispasmodic property that can be helpful for gastrointestinal and menstrual problems as well as anxiety. That’s why we all know the lemon balm from our youth.
Today, however, it is known that the plant has many more important mechanisms of action, which is why it is used in numerous supplements. The leaves of the plant contain, inter alia, rosemary and chlorogenic acid, essential oils and bitter and tannins.
Above all, lemon balm can: counteract anxiety and thus improve the cool-down phase before sleeping. The smoothing effect of lemon balm is based on the increased formation of the calming neurotransmitter GABA in the brain, but you will learn more about that later.
Take-home message # 1: Lemon balm is no longer a home remedy for stomach ache. Nowadays, we know of the numerous other mechanisms of action like helping with anxiety. Above all, lemon balm will be part of a good evening routine.
Lemon Balm for Anxiety
Now you know what lemon balm is so it’s time to get interesting because the plant matter can improve several processes in your body!
The Mashhad University of Medical Sciences has looked more closely at the individual modes of action and has been able to state the following: The anti-anxiety and neuroprotective effect of lemon balm has now been scientifically proven.
Low doses of balm also improve cognitive performance and strengthen the heart. In one study, San Martino University Hospital in Italy has looked more closely at the most well-known effects of lemon balm, as a natural sleeping aid and anxiety cure.
The researchers found that lemon balm reduces the effects of chronic stress such as anxiety, tension and insomnia. 20 stressed subjects with mild anxiety and sleep problems received a standardized lemon balm extract for this study. The anxiety was reduced by 25% due to the treatment, the sleep problems disappeared in 17 of the subjects and improved significantly in the other three.
The effect, according to the study, seems to be based on influence on the GABA mechanism. Strictly speaking, the regular intake of lemon balm should reduce the stress by inhibiting GABA catabolism.
But it is not at all: Lemon balm contains rosmarinic acid, which acts as a GABA transaminase inhibitor. So the melissa prevents the degradation of the neurotransmitter in the brain. GABA is so important for your sleep because the neurotransmitter lowers the activity of nerve cells in the brain.
Its inhibitory and calming effect on the synapses in the brain ensures that stress and anxiety signals only reach the processing centers in your brain at a low dose. Simply put, GABA helps you with anxiety and you’ll sleep more easily.
In addition to the effect of lemon balm as a natural sleep aid and anxiety cure, the plant compound has another important benefit, which was recently proven by a study by the University of Northumbria’s Human Cognitive Neuroscience Unit.
For example, the study found that taking a single 300 mg of lemon balm extract accelerates the processing and resolution of mathematical tasks without reducing the accuracy of the answers.
600 mg improves negative moods and has a soothing and relaxing effect. This was found in 18 healthy volunteers. This improvement in mental performance or memory enhancement is also due to the optimization of a neurotransmitter in the brain, namely acetylcholine.
Lemon balm is said to increase the activity of acetylcholine, the most important neurotransmitter in the brain.
Acetylcholine is needed for almost all important thinking processes in the brain because its concentration determines how fast the communication processes between your synapses take place.
If your brain is adequately supplied with acetylcholine, the stimulus and information forwarding runs smoothly. Simply put, the better you’re acetylcholine levels, the better your mental performance.
Thus, lemon balm can not only fight anxiety but also accelerate your cognitive processes and improve your mental performance. Sounds like an all-rounder, right?
Take-home message # 2: Lemon balm has three important mechanisms of action:
1. Fights insomnia as a natural sleep aid
2. Relieves tension and reduces anxiety
3. Improves your mental power
How to Consume Lemon Balm
For the correct intake of lemon balm there are numerous tips and tricks. Since the vegetable substance has a long tradition as a home remedy, especially the use as a tea is very common.
It is best to use two handfuls of lemon balm, preferably fresh from our own cultivation. Otherwise, dried melissa is also available in pharmacies and drugstores, it also contains the essential oils and rosmarinic acid, but in this case, the taste is barely present and the tea becomes an extremely bland affair.
The lemon balm is then poured over with hot water, taking care not to take boiling water, but only heated water. The tea should now be covered for 20 minutes.
When it comes to the question of the correct intake of lemon balm, it is also very important for which reason you want to use the plant substance. The tea has, besides its effect as a sleeping drug, the positive other side effects, such as fighting anxiety and benefits for the stomach and intestines.
However, if the melissa is intended to be used as a natural sleep aid, drinking tea is not optimal. The reason is simply that while the soothing power of lemon balm exists, the real power is only developed in combination with other substances.
Take-home message # 3: Lemon balm can be taken in a variety of forms. However, if you want to use melissa as a natural sleep aid, you should use capsules because the potency is greater.
Where to Buy Lemon Balm?
You are convinced of the positive effect of lemon balm and you want to buy it?
That’s easy. Either you use a tea or you combine the lemon balm with other substances for your good sleep, such as passionfruit, magnesium or L-Tryptophan.
These should be part of a good stack for your biohacking evening routine. The whole thing is topped only by melatonin, the natural sleep hormone. This determines your natural day-night rhythm and ensures that you get tired in the evening and fall asleep.
Conclusion – Lemon Balm for Anxiety
Consider trying lemon balm for anxiety? Then give it a try and convince yourself. I mean, who doesn’t want a restful and deep sleep – every night!