Lemon balm: characteristics of the miracle herb
Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) is probably one of the oldest and most underrated superfoods. It belongs to the mint family and is often called lemon balm because of its characteristic scent. The essential oils citral, geraniol and nerol contained in the leaves and flowers of the plant are responsible for the scent, as well as some therapeutically effective tannins such as rosmarinic acid and flavonoids. The small green leaves spread a minty/lemon fragrance, especially in summer, which becomes even more intense if you rub the leaves between your fingers. In the kitchen, lemon balm is often used as a tea or to flavour various meat dishes, but it can also be used to refine desserts.
Although it can be found in almost every good herb garden, many people are still unaware of lemon balm's special powers.
Top 3 benefits of lemon balm
1. Natural remedy bloating
Can't seem to find a natural way to fight bloating? It's time you meet: lemon balm!
Its use as a therapeutic agent dates back to the 14th century, when nuns of the Carmelite monastery used lemon balm to make an alcoholic tonic, popularly known as Carmelite water.
Today, lemon balm is used in traditional medicine both as a digestive tonic.
This effect can be attributed to the rosmarinic acid it contains and its antioxidant as well as antimicrobial properties. Lemon balm helps relaxing the muscles in the intestines, which can relieve digestive problems.
2. It can help against stress
More than just a digestive tonic, lemon balm can be used as a sleep aid! The antioxidants it contains can help against oxidative stress, which is an imbalance in free radicals in your body and can lead to premature ageing of the skin.
But even more than that, lemon balm has a calming and anti-anxiety effect which has been praised in traditional medicine for centuries.
3. It may help against menstrual cramps
By supporting your body and relaxing the muscles, lemon balm may help relieve some of the discomfort and pain caused by menstrual cramps. A study led in 2015 on 100 high school girls showed that the group taking lemon balm reported a significant reduction in symptoms (the study was led over 3 menstrual cycles).
How to use lemon balm
As mentioned above, lemon balm as a dried herb is mainly used as a tea or seasoning and in dietary supplements or medicines for bloating and discomfort.
From the herb garden straight into your superfood smoothie: lemon balm is one of 6 ingredients in our new mix. Add 2 tsp of the Gut Feeling mix to water directly in the morning or after a heavy meal.