Melissa officinalis (Lemon Balm, balm, Melissa, sweet balm)

  • Pharmacy Author:
    Omudhome Ogbru, PharmD

    Dr. Ogbru received his Doctorate in Pharmacy from the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy in 1995. He completed a Pharmacy Practice Residency at the University of Arizona/University Medical Center in 1996. He was a Professor of Pharmacy Practice and a Regional Clerkship Coordinator for the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy from 1996-99.

  • Medical and Pharmacy Editor: Jerry R. Balentine, DO, FACEP
    Jerry R. Balentine, DO, FACEP

    Jerry R. Balentine, DO, FACEP

    Dr. Balentine received his undergraduate degree from McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland. He attended medical school at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine graduating in1983. He completed his internship at St. Joseph's Hospital in Philadelphia and his Emergency Medicine residency at Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center in the Bronx, where he served as chief resident.

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GENERIC NAME: Melissa officinalis

BRAND NAME: Lemon Balm, balm, Melissa, sweet balm

PRESCRIPTION: No

GENERIC AVAILABLE: Yes

USES: Lemon balm may be used digestive aid, increase appetite, flatulence, genital herpes, and insomnia and anxiety.

Discuss all herbs and supplements you are currently taking with your health care professional.

SIDE EFFECTS: Side effects of lemon balm are:

  • hypersensitivity reactions,
  • sedation, and
  • skin irritation.

DRUG INTERACTIONS: Lemon balm might interact with thyroid medications and sedatives.

PREGNANCY AND BREASTFEEDING SAFETY: Pregnant women should not take or use lemon balm. Women who are breastfeeding should not take or use lemon balm.

PREPARATIONS: Lemon balm is available in tea, tincture, and cream or ointment formations.

STORAGE: Due to many manufacturers producing each formulation, storage requirements may vary based on individual product.

DOSING:

  • Tea: Use 1.5 to 4.5 gram leaf in 150 ml water to prepare 1 cup of tea, as needed.
  • Tincture: Take 2 to 6 ml by mouth 3 times a day.
  • Cream/ointment: Apply 1% of a 70:1 extract to the affected area(s) 2 to 4 times a day for up to 14 days.

DRUG CLASS AND MECHANISM: Lemon balm is a plant used as an herbal supplement. It may have antiviral activity against some viruses, for example, the herpes virus as well as calming effects. It active compounds in lemon balm are caffeic acid and tannins.

Medically reviewed by Eni Williams, PharmD

REFERENCE: Science.gov.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/4/2016

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