Lemon balm

Lemon balm
Lemon Balm (5744694087).jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Lamiales
Family: Lamiaceae
Genus: Melissa
Species:
M. officinalis
Binomial name
Melissa officinalis

Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis),[1] balm,[2] common balm,[3] or balm mint, is a perennial herbaceous plant in the mint family Lamiaceae and native to south-central Europe, the Mediterranean Basin, Iran, and Central Asia, but now naturalized in the Americas and elsewhere.[4]

It grows to a maximum height of 70–150 cm (28–59 in). The leaves have a mild lemon scent similar to mint. During summer, small white flowers full of nectar appear. It is not to be confused with bee balm (genus Monarda), although the white flowers attract bees, hence the genus Melissa (Greek for “honey bee”).

The leaves are used as a herb, in teas, and also as a flavouring. The plant is used to attract bees for honey production. It is grown as an ornamental plant and for its oil (to use in perfumery). The tea of lemon balm, the essential oil, and the extract are used in traditional and alternative medicine, including aromatherapy. The plant has been cultivated at least since the 16th century, but research is still being conducted to establish the safety and effects of lemon balm.

History and Domestication[edit]

Sources date the medicinal use of lemon balm to over 2000 years ago through the Greeks and Romans. Further mention is found in Theophrastus’s Historia Plantarum, dated to around 300 BC.[5] Lemon balm was formally introduced into Spain in the 7th century, from which its use and domestication spread throughout Europe.[5] Its use in the Middle Ages is noted by herbalists, writers, philosophers, and scientists, with Swiss physician and alchemist, Paracelsus, deeming it the “elixir of life”.[6][7] Lemon balm was introduced to North America with the arrival of early colonists, and is recorded to have been among the herbs cultivated in Thomas Jefferson’s garden.[8]

Uses[edit]

The plant is used to attract bees to make honey. It is also grown and sold as an ornamental plant. The essential oil is used as a perfume ingredient,[9] but the plant has other culinary and medicinal uses. Lemon balm is used in some toothpastes.[10]

Culinary[edit]

Lemon balm is used as a flavouring[9] in ice cream and herbal teas, both hot and iced, often in combination with other herbs such as spearmint. It is a common addition to peppermint tea, mostly because of its complementing flavor.[citation needed]

Lemon balm is also paired with fruit dishes or candies. Additionally, it can be used in fish dishes and is the main ingredient in lemon balm pesto.[11]:15–16 Its flavour comes from citronellal (24%), geranial (16%), linalyl acetate (12%) and caryophyllene (12%).[citation needed]

It is also one of the ingredients in Spreewald gherkins.[12]

Traditional medicine[edit]

“Melissa” (M. officinalis) essential oil

In traditional Austrian medicine, M. officinalis leaves have been prescribed for internal use—as a tea—or external application—as an essential oil—for the treatment of disorders of the gastrointestinal tract, nervous system, liver, and bile.[13] Lemon balm is the main ingredient of Carmelite water, which is still for sale in German pharmacies.[14]

In alternative medicine it is used as a sleep aid and digestive aid.[15]

Lemon balm essential oil is popular in aromatherapy.[16] The essential oil is commonly co-distilled with lemon oil, citronella oil or other oils.

Cultivation[edit]

M. officinalis is native to Europe, central Asia and Iran, but is now naturalized around the world.[11][17]

Lemon balm seeds require light and at least 20 °C (70 °F) to germinate. Lemon balm grows in clumps and spreads vegetatively, as well as by seed. In mild temperate zones, the stems of the plant die off at the start of the winter, but shoot up again in spring. Lemon balm grows vigorously; it should not be planted where it will spread into other plantings.

M. officinalis may be the “honey-leaf” (μελισσόφυλλον) mentioned by Theophrastus.[18] It was in the herbal garden of John Gerard, 1596.[19]

As of 1992 the major producing countries were Hungary, Egypt, Italy for herb, Ireland for essential oil.[20]

Cultivars[edit]

The many cultivars of M. officinalis include:

  • M. officinalis ‘Citronella’
  • M. officinalis ‘Lemonella’
  • M. officinalis ‘Quedlinburger’
  • M. officinalis ‘Lime’
  • M. officinalis ‘Variegata’
  • M. officinalis ‘Aurea’
  • M. officinalis ‘Quedlinburger Niederliegende’ is an improved variety bred for high essential oil content

Medical research[edit]

Sleep[edit]

Lemon balm, including lemon balm extract, has been shown to improve sleep quality.[21][22][5] Pediatric patients have displayed improvement in restlessness and dyssomnia with the ingestion of lemon balm extract.[21] Further evidence has demonstrated a significant reduction in levels of insomnia.[22]

Anxiety and Depression[edit]

Lemon balm is commonly associated with anti-stress and anti-anxiety.[23][24][25] Studies have shown a significant increase in calmness in healthy patients exposed to lemon balm when compared to placebo.[23] In addition, lemon balm ingestion is linked to improvement in mood and cognitive performance.[24][23] Gender and administration length appear to have an impact on the effectiveness of lemon balm as a treatment for depression in rats.[25]

Antioxidant[edit]

Several studies have demonstrated the lemon balm’s antioxidant activity, obtained through high amounts of flavonoids, rosmaric acid, gallic acid and phenolic contents.[26][27][6]

Additional Properties[edit]

Lemon balm has also been shown to possess antimicrobial, antiviral, antispasmodic and antitumoral properties.[27][6][28][29]

The composition and pharmacology and potential uses of lemon balm have been extensively studied, especially with regard to its traditional uses.[30] Randomized, double-blinded clinical studies in people, however, have been limited and have had few subjects. Those studies cannot be used for generalized conclusions about the safety or efficacy of lemon balm and its components; what doses are safe and effective is especially not clear.[30]

Chemistry[edit]

Lemon balm contains eugenol, tannins, and terpenes.[31] It also contains (+)-citronellal, 1-octen-3-ol, 10-α-cadinol, 3-octanol, 3-octanone, α-cubebene, α-humulene, β-bourbonene, caffeic acid, caryophyllene, caryophyllene oxide, catechin, chlorogenic acid, cis-3-hexenol, cis-ocimene, citral A, citral B, copaene, δ-cadinene, eugenyl acetate, γ-cadinene, geranial, geraniol, geranyl acetate, germacrene D, isogeranial, linalool, luteolin-7-glucoside, methylheptenone, neral, nerol, octyl benzoate, oleanolic acid, pomolic acid ((1R)-hydroxyursolic acid), protocatechuic acid, rhamnazin, rosmarinic acid, stachyose, succinic acid, thymol, trans-ocimene and ursolic acid.[32][33] Lemon balm may contain traces of harmine.[34]

Rosmarinic acid appears to be the most important active component, but the interaction of chemicals within lemon balm, and with chemicals in other herbs with which it has been commonly used in traditional medicines, is poorly understood.[30] Lemon balm leaf contains roughly 36.5 ± 0.8 mg rosmarinic acid per gram.[35]

Gallery[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ “Lemon balm”. University of Maryland Medical Center. Apr 5, 2011. Retrieved Oct 18, 2014.
  2. ^ Wikisource Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). “Balm” . Encyclopædia Britannica. 3 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
  3. ^ Melissa officinalis. Natural Resources Conservation Service PLANTS Database. USDA. Retrieved 6 July 2015.
  4. ^ Kewe World Checklist of Selected Plant Families
  5. ^ a b c Kennedy, D.O.; Scholey, Andrew B.; Tindsley, N.T.J.; Perry, E.K.; Wesnes, K.A. (2002-07-01). “Modulation of mood and cognitive performance following acute administration of Melissa officinalis (lemon balm)”. Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior. 72 (4): 953–964. doi:10.1016/S0091-3057(02)00777-3. ISSN 0091-3057.
  6. ^ a b c “Lemon Balm: An Herb Society of America Guide”. www.herbsociety.org. 2007. Retrieved 2018-12-10.
  7. ^ Deni., Bown (1995). Encyclopedia of herbs & their uses. Dorling Kindersley. ISBN 978-0789401847. OCLC 32166152.
  8. ^ Zirkle, Conway (December 2001). “Thomas Jefferson’s Garden Book. Edwin Morris BettsThomas Jefferson and the Scientific Trends of His Time. Charles A. BrowneJefferson and Agriculture. Everett E. EdwardsPapers Read before the American Philosophical Society in Celebration of the Bicentennial of Thomas Jefferson. Thomas Jefferson”. Isis. 37 (1/2): 84–85. doi:10.1086/347980. ISSN 0021-1753.
  9. ^ a b “Taxon: Melissa officinalis L.. USDA: U.S. National Plant Germplasm System. Retrieved 8 October 2016.
  10. ^ Dousti, Mashta; et al. (2012). “Evidence-based Traditional Persian Medicine”. In Rastogi, Sanjeev; Chiappelli, Francesco; Ramchandani, Manisha Harish; Singh, Ram Harsh. Evidence-based practice in complementary and alternative medicine : perspectives, protocols, problems, and potential in Ayurveda. Berlin: Springer. p. 88. ISBN 9783642245640.
  11. ^ a b Herb Society of America. 2007 Lemon Balm: An Herb Society of America Guide Archived 2015-02-18 at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spreewald_gherkins[circular reference]
  13. ^ Vogl, S; Picker, P; Mihaly-Bison, J; Fakhrudin, N; Atanasov, AG; Heiss, EH; Wawrosch, C; Reznicek, G; et al. (2013). “Ethnopharmacological in vitro studies on Austria’s folk medicine-An unexplored lore in vitro anti-inflammatory activities of 71 Austrian traditional herbal drugs”. Journal of Ethnopharmacology. 149 (3): 750–71. doi:10.1016/j.jep.2013.06.007. PMC 3791396. PMID 23770053.
  14. ^ Hiller, Sabine (September 6, 2010). “FOOD Using lemon balm in the kitchen”. The Mayo News. Retrieved May 2, 2012.
  15. ^ “Monograph: Lemon Balm”. Health Canada. 17 March 2008. Retrieved 8 October 2016.
  16. ^ Masters, Susanne (22 February 2013). “The benefits of lemon balm”. The Guardian.
  17. ^ United States Department of Agriculture, “PLANTS Profile for Melissa officinalis,” http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=MEOF2. Retrieved July 2, 2010.
  18. ^ Theophrastus, Enquiry into Plants, VI.1.4, identified as “M. officinalis” in the index of the Loeb Classical Library edition by Arthur F. Hort, 1916 etc.
  19. ^ As “Melissa” (Common Blam) in both issues of Gerard’s Catalogus, 1596, 1599: Benjamin Daydon Jackson, A catalogue of plants cultivated in the garden of John Gerard, in the years 1596–1599, 1876;
  20. ^ Axtell, B.L.; Fairman, R.M (1992). “Melissa officinalis”. Minor oil crops. Rome: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. ISBN 978-92-5-103128-5.
  21. ^ a b Muller, S.F.; Klement, S. (2006-06-12). “A combination of valerian and lemon balm is effective in the treatment of restlessness and dyssomnia in children”. Phytomedicine. 13 (6): 383–387. doi:10.1016/j.phymed.2006.01.013. ISSN 0944-7113. PMID 16487692.
  22. ^ a b Cases, Julien; Ibarra, Alvin; Feuillère, Nicolas; Roller, Marc; Sukkar, Samir G. (December 2010). “Pilot trial of Melissa officinalis L. leaf extract in the treatment of volunteers suffering from mild-to-moderate anxiety disorders and sleep disturbances”. Mediterranean Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism. 4 (3): 211–218. doi:10.1007/s12349-010-0045-4. ISSN 1973-798X. PMC 3230760. PMID 22207903.
  23. ^ a b c Kennedy, David O.; Little, Wendy; Scholey, Andrew B. (2004-07-01). “Attenuation of Laboratory-induced Stress in Humans After Acute Administration of melissa officinalis (lemon Balm)”. Psychosomatic Medicine. 66 (4): 607–613. doi:10.1097/01.psy.0000132877.72833.71. ISSN 0033-3174. PMID 15272110.
  24. ^ a b Scholey, Andrew; Gibbs, Amy; Neale, Chris; Perry, Naomi; Ossoukhova, Anastasia; Bilog, Vanessa; Kras, Marni; Scholz, Claudia; Sass, Mathias (2014-10-30). “Anti-Stress Effects of Lemon Balm-Containing Foods”. Nutrients. 6 (11): 4805–4821. doi:10.3390/nu6114805. ISSN 2072-6643. PMC 4245564. PMID 25360512.
  25. ^ a b Ferreira, Vania M.; Silva, Monica V.; Silveira, Damaris; Barros, Marilia; Lucena, Greice M.; Leite, Franco B.; Taiwo, Adefunmilayo E. (2012-03-01). “Anxiolytic and antidepressant-like effects of Melissa officinalis (lemon balm) extract in rats: Influence of administration and gender”. Indian Journal of Pharmacology. 44 (2): 189–92. doi:10.4103/0253-7613.93846. ISSN 0253-7613. PMC 3326910. PMID 22529473.
  26. ^ Dastmalchi, Keyvan (2008-04-01). “Chemical composition and in vitro antioxidative activity of a lemon balm (Melissa officinalis L.) extract”. LWT – Food Science and Technology. 41 (3): 391–400. doi:10.1016/j.lwt.2007.03.007. ISSN 0023-6438.
  27. ^ a b Miraj, Sepide; Rafieian-Kopaei; Kiani, Sara (September 2016). “Melissa officinalis L: A Review Study With an Antioxidant Prospective”. Journal of Evidence-Based Complementary & Alternative Medicine. 22 (3): 385–394. doi:10.1177/2156587216663433. ISSN 2156-5872. PMC 5871149. PMID 27620926.
  28. ^ BAHTIYARCA BAGDAT, Reyhan (January 2006). “THE ESSENTIAL OIL OF LEMON BALM (Melissa officinalis L.), ITS COMPONENTS AND USING FIELDS”. Journal of the Faculty of Agriculture, OMU. 21: 116–121.
  29. ^ Ulbricht, Catherine; Brendler, Thomas; Gruenwald, Joerg; Kligler, Benjamin; Keifer, David; Abrams, Tracee Rae; Woods, Jen; Boon, Heather; Kirkwood, Catherine DeFranco (2005). “Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis L.): an evidence-based systematic review by the Natural Standard Research Collaboration”. Journal of Herbal Pharmacotherapy. 5 (4): 71–114. ISSN 1522-8940. PMID 16635970.
  30. ^ a b c Shakeri, Abolfazl; Sahebkar, Amirhossein; Javadi, Behjat (2016). “Melissa officinalis L. – A review of its traditional uses, phytochemistry and pharmacology”. Journal of Ethnopharmacology. 188: 204–228. doi:10.1016/j.jep.2016.05.010. PMID 27167460.
  31. ^ Ehrlich, Steven D. (January 2, 2015). “Lemon balm”. University of Maryland Medical Center. Retrieved June 23, 2017.
  32. ^ “Feature extracts – Melissa officinalis. naturalcompounds.com. 2012. Archived from the original on March 10, 2016. Retrieved December 24, 2013.
  33. ^ Taylor, Leslie (December 17, 2012). “Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis)”. Tropical Plant Database (rain-tree.com). Leslie Taylor. Retrieved June 23, 2017.
  34. ^ Harrington, Natalie (2012). “Harmala Alkaloids as Bee Signaling Chemicals”. Journal of Student Research. 1 (1): 23–32.
  35. ^ Shekarchi, Maryam; Hajimehdipoor, Homa; Saeidnia, Soodabeh; Gohari, Ahmad Reza; Hamedani, Morteza Pirali (2012). “Comparative study of rosmarinic acid content in some plants of Labiatae family”. Pharmacognosy Magazine. 8 (29): 37–41. doi:10.4103/0973-1296.93316. PMC 3307200. PMID 22438661.

External links[edit]

  • A Modern Herbal, 1931, by Maud Grieve. ISBN 0-486-22798-7, electronic version: Lemon Balm
  • University of Maryland Complementary and Alternative Medicine Guide: Lemon Balm. Last reviewed 1/2/2015 by Steven D. Ehrlich, NMD