The lemon balm (melissa officinalis or true melissa) is an herb used for its healing properties, it is able to reduce stress and anxiety . 
It is known to calm the nerves and relax the body. 
Theoretically, soothing substances should also promote sleep, especially if insomnia is linked to nervousness and stress.

What is it for? Therapeutic Uses

Lemon balm and mood
Taking supplements based on lemon balm improves the level of relaxation and mood for many people. It is a lavender-like effect that also has calming and antiseptic properties. 
The lemon balm is especially useful as a sedative if taken in the form of essential oil.

Lemon balm and cold sore
Lemon balm is helpful in treating cold sores . 
It is able to reduce redness and swelling. 
It is infused with dried leaves and is applied with warm compresses. 
Scientific studies are still underway, but it has proved so effective that in Germany a remedy containing lemon balm has become very popular for the treatment of herpes.

Lemon balm for insomnia

Lemon balm has been used for centuries to treat insomnia. However, in recent studies in humans, this substance has been associated with other herbs used to promote sleep, such as valerian . 
It is not yet clear whether it is effective in improving sleep when taken alone. 
The antispasmodic and anxiolytic effect is due to the action in the limbic system of the brain and the thyroid gland.

How do I apply?

Internal
use Lemon balm for internal use is used to treat disorders of the nervous system or to treat indigestion caused by nervous disorders and / or excitability, to treat hyperthyroidism , depression , anxiety, palpitations and headache . 
It is often used in the treatment of insomnia and disorders of the nervous system in the gastrointestinal tract in children and adults. 
The fresh leaves of lemon are used in the kitchen to give lemon flavor in the soup, salads, sauces, vinegars with herbs and fish. It is also an ingredient of some liqueurs.
The dried leaves can be added to potpourri (jar with a mixture of dried flower petals), also produce cushions or sachets to perfume the drawers or cabinets.

External use
Applied externally, it is useful for treating herpes simplex , cold sores, decubitus (or pressure sores) and insect bites. Helps give relief in case of gout . 
You can rub the leaves against the skin to create a natural repellent against mosquitoes and mites, we can also keep the plant of the lemon balm on the terrace of the house because it is not appreciated by these insects.

Aromatherapy and Essential Oils
Lemon balm essential oil is useful for treating depression, relieving nervous tension and restoring calm.

With excellent antiviral properties, it is excellent for the treatment of herpes simplex (cold sores) and herpes zoster . 
It also helps to fight against nausea and gastritis . 
It has sedative, antispasmodic (limiting involuntary muscle contractions), antidepressant, bactericidal and stimulates blood flow in the uterus and pelvic region.

Side effects and contraindications

Lemon balm is safe when administered to adults for a short time. 
The safety of long-term treatment (over 4 months) is not yet known. Some studies have shown that lemon balm can be safe if taken in sufficient quantity by infants and children. 
When taken orally, lemon balm may cause some side effects, including nausea, vomiting , stomach pain , dizziness, and shortness of breath .

Among the contraindications is hypothyroidism , in addition people suffering from glaucoma can not take the essential oil of lemon balm.

Special Warnings and Precautions:
Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Due to a lack of reliable data, it is not recommended to take lemon balm during this time of life.

Surgery: Lemon balm could cause excessive drowsiness if combined with medications you take during and after surgery. 
It is advisable to stop taking lemon balm at least 2 weeks before scheduled surgery.

Interactions

Lemon balm can interact with sedative medications and may increase the effect. 
Some of these medicines are Lorazepam (Lorax®), Bromazepam (Lexotan), Diazepam (Valium), Alprazolam (Frontal), Lormetazepam, Zolpidem (Stilnox) and others.

Dosage of herbal supplements

For the treatment of mild to moderate Alzheimer ‘s disease : 60 drops  of Melissa’s mother tincture per day. 
To improve sleep in healthy adults, use a product that contains 80 mg of dry leaf extract of lemon balm and 160 mg of valerian extract 3 times a day for 30 days. 
This product should be taken once or twice a day and serves to improve sleep in children. 
For stomach pain (dyspepsia) use products that contain lemon balm associated with peppermint leaves, German chamomile, cumin, licorice, angelica and thistle. 
For cramps in breast-fed infants a product containing 164 mg of fennel, 97 mg of lemon balm and 178 mg of German chamomile twice daily for one week is recommended.

Applied on the skin
For cold sores cream or ointment containing 1% of soluble extract of lemon balm is used. It usually applies two or four times a day from the onset of symptoms for two days.

Did you know?

With its fragrant aroma, the plant attracts the bees, so the name melissa actually means bee in Greek. 
Lemon balm is a common ingredient added in wax for furniture. 
While the leaves have similar shape of mint, their aroma is the same as that of lemon.

The melissa plant may be helpful for people who are looking for a substitute for sleeping pills or other medicines for anxiety and promote sleep. This natural supplement seems to be safe for most people, although it is always best to consult the doctor.

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