Melissa officinalis

Plant family: Labiatae (Mint family)

Part used: leaf

Taste: aromatic, bitter

Historical commentary: Lemon balm was reputed to be a revitalizing herb in ancient times; it was well-known for its calming effects and, like other mints, for its benefits for the digestive system.


Sedative: for nervous tension, restlessness, irritability, and insomnia.

Digestive aid: relieves gas and bloating (carminative), improves appetite and alleviates gastric insufficiency and distress (stomachic).

Modern findings: Lemon balm has been shown to act as a sedative in laboratory animals and in clinical trials; the essential oil is not believed to be the active component for this action.

Dosage: 1.5-4.5 grams; the lesser amounts are adequate for digestive effects.

Active constituents: The essential oils (mainly citral and cintronellal) and the flavonoids (quercitrin and others) are probably responsible for the digestive effects; the constituents that are the basis of the sedative effects has not been determined.

Cautions: none known.

Künzle Formulas: Tea for Tension, Tea for Mood, Tea for Sleep.