Melissa Officinalis Review
Melissa officinalis, known as Lemon Balm that belongs to the mint family, is a herb/tea traditionally said to induce calmness and improve cognition. It does appear effective at inducing calmness and reducing anxiety, but the cognitive enhancing properties are variable (appears to benefit if stressed, but otherwise it is merely sedative). It has been used for digestive problems, headahces, menstrual cramps, toothaches, and mental disorders including hysteria and melancholia. Moreover, it may also reduce the growth of some viruses.
It is also known as Lemon Balm, Melissengeist, Bee balm, Garden Balm, Melissa, Erva-cidreira.
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Benefits and Effectiveness
- Alertness - Decrease 
- Anxiety - Decrease 
- Attention - Neutral 
- Calmness - Increased 
- Memory - Increased 
- Stress - Decrease 
- Working Memory - Neutral 
What is Melissa Officinalis?
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.
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What is it made of?
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.
Is it safe?
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.
What benefits does Melissa Officinalis give?
- Mental Clarity, Concentration and Relaxation: Melissa Officinalis has been widely used in Europe because of its ability to treat insomnia and anxiety. It also treats sleep disorders and relieves stress and anxiety. Research studies show that Melissa Officinalis greatly increases a person’s ability to concentrate and perform picture and word tasks.
- Grave's Disease: Melissa Officinalis has been used in the past to treat Grave’s disease or hyperthyroidism, which is an auto-immune condition in which the thyroid gland produces excessive amounts of thyroid hormone. Melissa Officinalis was known by its ability to block the activity of the thyroid hormone in the body. Although some animal and laboratory studies reported that Melissa Officinalis could help reduce thyroid levels in the body, there no human studies that has been conducted to prove this claim.
- Insomnia and Anxiety: Numerous studies have used Melissa Officinalis and Melissa Officinalis/Valerian combinations to treat insomnia, anxiety, and stress. Results have shown enhanced sleep patterns, and reduced levels of anxiety and stress. One study has proven that Melissa Officinalis/Valerian combination is as effective as the prescription drug named Halcion. The German government that evaluates the effectiveness and safety of herbal products, known as Commission E has approved Melissa Officinalis for its ability to treat functional gastrointestinal complaints and nervous sleeping disorders. However, the United States does not have an agency to evaluate the effectiveness and safety of herbal products.
- Herpes and Antiviral Properties: Melissa Officinalis contains polyphenols which can significantly fight against shingles, herpes simplex virus, and other viral afflictions. It can also treat cold sores or oral herpes. Research have shown that Melissa Officinalis tremendously decreases the frequency of development of herpes. Some studies show that it reduces the severity and duration of herpes. A study that was conducted on 115 patients, a preparation of Melissa Officinalis in a lip balm showed effectiveness in treating mouth and lip sores associated with herpes simplex virus. Melissa Officinalis creams and ointments can speed up the healing process of sores caused by herpes simplex virus when applied to the genital and lips. Users of topical Melissa Officinalis reported to experience relief from symptoms like redness and itchiness.
- Alzheimer's Disease and Dementia: Melissa Officinalis contains essential oils, including citronellal & citral A and B, which are known to cause sedative effects. In one research study, Melissa Officinalis was observed by researchers to enhance and lengthen the attention span of persons who are suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. In studies conducted on both humans and animals, Melissa Officinalis, when taken orally appeared to have calming effects. Dementia is a chronic or persistent disorder of the mental processes caused by brain disease or injury and marked by memory disorders, personality changes, and impaired reasoning. Another interesting study used Melissa Officinalis aroma therapeutically to calm overexcited individuals who have dementia.
What is the proper way to take Melissa Officinalis?
On the off chance that you are suffering from sleeping difficulty, flatulence, bloating, or reduced ingestion, it is recommended that you consult your doctor or a drug specialist before taking Melissa Officinalis. Recommended doses are as follows:
- Capsules: Take 300 to 500 mg dried Melissa Officinalis, 3 times every day.
- Tincture: 60 drops of Melissa Officinalis daily.
- Tea: ¼ to 1 tablespoon (1.5 to 4.5 grams) of dried Melissa Officinalis herb in hot water. Steep and drink up to four times each day.
- Topical: Apply topical cream of Melissa Officinalis on the affected area three times a day or as recommended by the doctor or any specialist.
For treatment of herpes sores or cold sores, steep 2 to 4 teaspoons of crushed Melissa Officinalis leaf in a cup of boiling water for at least ten to fifteen minutes. Cool it down, then apply it to the sores using a cotton ball throughout the day.
Melissa Officinalis can be used topically in children who have cold cores. Consult your healthcare provider for appropriate dose for the child’s age.
Melissa Officinalis Special Precautions and Warnings
Children: Melissa Officinalis is possibly safe for children when taken at appropriate amounts through oral transmission for short periods of time.
Pregnant and Breast-feeding women: There is no enough evidence to prove if Melissa Officinalis is safe for pregnant and breast-feeding women. However, it is highly recommended that you should stay on the safe side and consult your doctor or a drug specialist before deciding to use Melissa Officinalis.
Surgery: Melissa Officinalis, when combined with medications used during and after surgery can cause excessive drowsiness. It is advisable to abstain from using Melissa Officinalis at least two weeks prior to your scheduled surgery.
Reviewer: Kathleen R. RN, PT
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Wiki Last Updated: 2016-02-13
Melissa Officinalis Dosage
Some reported side effects related with Lemon Balm use include nausea and vomiting, abdominal pain, dizziness, and wheezing.
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