Lemon balm - Melissa officinalis (in the Lamiaceae or Mint family)
Part used: Flowering herb.
Taste/Smell: Slightly lemon smell and taste, sweet, sour, aromatic.
Tendencies: Slightly warm.
Dosage: Infusion: 1 tablespoon per cup of water; or 1:0.8 fresh + dry liquid extract: 10-60 drops 1-4 times per day in a little water.
Mental picture and specific indications: Lemon balm is indicated with anxiety, restlessness, palpitations, headache, depression, hypertension and irritability associated with stress or hyperthyroidism.
Use: (a) Nervine, (b) Sedative, (c) Mild antidepressant, (d) Mild antispasmodic, (e) Vasodilating hypotensive, (f) Carminative, (g) Diaphoretic, (h) Antiviral.
Lemon balm is used for digestive problems, especially if due to nervousness. It is used as a hot tea for colds, migraines, insomnia, depression and hypertension especially if associated with stress. The essential oil has been used externally to treat herpes simplex with positive results in multiple clinical trials. The diagnostic picture for Lemon balm is one associated with hyperthyroidism: anxiety, restlessness, palpitations, headache and irritability. It interferes with the binding of TSH to thyroid cell membranes, inhibits iodothyronine deiodinase, thereby preventing incorporation of iodine into T4 synthesis and peripheral conversion of T4 to T3 and blocks the thyroid binding of the stimulating auto-antibodies found in Graves' disease.
Contraindications: It is contraindicated with hypothyroidism and in pregnancy unless used under the guidance of a qualified health care practitioner.