The Benefits of Lemon Balm Extract

The Benefits of Lemon Balm Extract

The Benefits of Lemon Balm Extract

If you’ve walked the aisles at supplement stores and spent hours looking online for herbal supplements that can help support your health needs, you’ve probably seen lemon balm extract out there. While much easier to pronounce than many other herbal supplements, the benefits and uses of lemon balm extract are a little less well known than many other herbal ingredients out there.

Is lemon balm extract made from lemons? 

So, is lemon balm extract just an extract pulled from leaves on lemon trees? While that might seem logical, lemon balm is actually an entirely different herb. Named lemon balm for its lemon scent (Melissa Officinalis) is an herb from the same family as mint. It’s grown worldwide and found natively in Europe, North Africa, and West Asia (Healthline).  

Historically, lemon balm has been used in cooking, teas and consumed directly for a wide variety of purported benefits. These uses can be traced to pre-medieval times where lemon was used for stress and anxiety reduction, promoting sleep, improving appetite, helping indigestion, and even wound healing (Mount Sinai). More recently, lemon balm has developed extracts to concentrate what is believed to be the active ingredient that drives these benefits, rosmarinic acid (Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity).

What’s the research say about its benefits?

Like many herbal ingredients, lemon balm extract has been researched for various health benefits. However, the most studied appears to be its effect on stress and anxiety. A double-blind, placebo-controlled 2004 study evaluated a group of participants who had lab-induced stress. Participants received single doses of a placebo, 300mg of lemon balm extract, or 600mg of lemon balm extract. Those that received the lemon balm extract had significantly improved levels of calm as measured by the Defined Intensity Stressor Simulation battery (Psychosomatic Medicine).

Another study in 2014 also evaluated taking lemon balm extract on State-Trait Anxiety Inventory scores for those participants who received 300mg of lemon balm extract within 1 hour (Nutrients).

In addition to the acute benefits, a 2011 study looked into taking 300mg of lemon balm extract twice per day as a supplement for 15 days. Versus placebo, the participants that received the lemon balm extract showed 18% fewer anxiety manifestations, 15% less anxiety-associated symptoms, and a 42% lower rate of related insomnia (Mediterranean Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism).

Are there risks to taking lemon balm extract?

All of that sounds great but has it been studied for safety? Lemon Balm Extract is listed as GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe) by the FDA (Code of Federal Regulations). Certain people can have side effects, including headaches, nausea, and bloating. These side effects tend to increase as you take higher level dosages, so we recommend starting with 300mg of lemon balm extract and seeing how you react before taking any higher level dosages (VeryWellHealth).

Should I take lemon balm extract?

Lemon Balm has a long history of alleviating the effects of stress and anxiety and presents a great natural source of relief. We believe it’s a great herbal supplement to support the reduction of stress and anxiety symptoms. At Virtue, we recommend ensuring that you take the minimum studied beneficial dose of 300mg to ensure you’re getting the researched benefits of the herb. Additionally, make sure your supplement’s lemon balm extract is standardized to a minimum level of rosmarinic acid (the active compound in lemon balm) that is clearly spelled out on the label. For use in our Anxiety + Stress Relief formula, we sourced a high-quality lemon balm extract out of Albania that is standardized to deliver at least 5% rosmarinic acid to align with clinical studies. You can learn more about our sourced lemon balm extract here.
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