Lemon balm contains chemicals that seem to have a sedative, calming effect. Taking lemon balm by mouth for 4 months may reduce agitation, improve thinking, and reduce symptoms of Alzheimer disease. Lemon balm aromatherapy has also been used in people with Alzheimer disease. But there's no reliable evidence supporting a benefit of this form of lemon balm.
Some research shows that taking a specific lemon balm product (Cyracos by Naturex SA) reduces symptoms in people with anxiety disorders. Also, early research shows that taking a product containing lemon balm plus 12 other ingredients (Klosterfrau Melissengeist by Klosterfrau) reduces anxiety symptoms such as nervousness or edginess. Applying a lip balm containing an extract of lemon balm (LomaHerpan by Infectopharm) to cold sores seems to shorten healing time and reduce symptoms if applied at the early stages of infection. Taking lemon balm (Cyracos by Naturex SA) twice daily for 15 days improves sleep in people with insomnia. Taking lemon balm in combination with other ingredients also seems to improve sleep quality in people with sleeping disorders. Early research shows that taking 1-2 tablets of a specific product containing lemon balm and valerian root (Euvegal forte by Schwabe Pharmaceuticals) once or twice daily might decrease sleep problems associated with restlessness in children under age 12. It's unknown if the effect of this latter product is due to lemon balm, valerian, or the combination. Early research shows that taking a single dose of lemon balm increases calmness and alertness in adults under mental stress.
Other early research shows that adding lemon balm to a food or drink reduces anxiety and improves memory and alertness during mental testing. Lemon balm also appears to reduce anxious behavior in children during dental exams. Taking lemon balm along with other ingredients at a low dose appears to reduce anxiety during psychological stress in a laboratory. But taking the combination at a higher dose appears to worsen stress-induced anxiety. Early research shows that taking a single dose of lemon balm improves accuracy but slows performance on a timed memory test. Other early research shows that taking lemon balm in combination with other ingredients seems to improve word recall in adults under 63 years of age. But it doesn't seem to be beneficial in older adults. Giving certain products containing lemon balm and other ingredients to infants with colic for 1-4 weeks seems to reduce crying time. It may also increase the number of infants in whom colic resolves. The products used in research include ColiMil by Milte Italia SPA, ColiMil Plus by Milte Italia SPA, and Calma-Bebi by Bonomelli. It's unclear if lemon balm helps reduce agitation in people with dementia. Early research shows that taking lemon balm with fertilized egg powder does not improve symptoms of depression compared to taking fertilized egg powder alone. A specific product containing lemon balm and other ingredients (Iberogast by Steigerwald Arzneimittelwerk GmbH) seems to improve acid reflux, stomach pain, cramping, nausea, and vomiting. A similar combination product also containing lemon balm (STW 5-II by Steigerwald Arzneimittelwerk GmbH) seems to improve stomach and intestinal symptoms in people with indigestion. Early research shows that taking lemon balm after labor reduces post-labor pains about as effectively as taking the drug mefenamic. A long-term disorder of the large intestines that causes stomach pain (irritable bowel syndrome or IBS). Emotional distress caused by extreme focus on a physical symptom (somatic symptom disorder). Long-term swelling (inflammation) of the airways in the lungs (chronic bronchitis). More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of lemon balm for these uses. When taken by mouth : Lemon balm is LIKELY SAFE when used in food amounts. Lemon balm is POSSIBLY SAFE when taken by mouth in medicinal amounts, short-term. It's been used safely in research for up to 4 months. Side effects are generally mild and may including increased appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dizziness, and wheezing. Not enough is known about the safety of lemon balm when used long-term.
When applied to the skin : Lemon balm is POSSIBLY SAFE for adults in medicinal amounts. It may cause skin irritation and increased cold sore symptoms.
Special Precautions & Warnings: Pregnancy and breast-feeding : There isn't enough reliable information to know if lemon balm is safe to use when pregnant or breast-feeding. Lemon balm is POSSIBLY SAFE when taken appropriately by mouth for about one month. Lemon balm might lower blood sugar levels in people with diabetes.