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Melissa officinalis

Melissa officinalis                                 Common name:  Lemon balm

Family: Lamiaceae

Parts used: Aerial

Constituents: Volatile oil (citral, citronellal, citronellol, geraniol), polyphenols (chlorogenic, rosmarinic and caffeic acids), tannins, bitter principle, lavonoids (luteolin, quercitin, apigenin, kaempferol)

Medicinal actions:  Nervous system tonic & relaxant, carminative, sedative, diaphoretic, frebrifuge, antidepressant, anti-viral, anti-microbial, anti-thyroid, choleretic, mild analgesic, antispasmodic, anti-histamine, hepatic, cardiotonic

Medicinal use: Specific use for dyspepsia associated with anxiety and/or a depressive mood. It is indicated for someone with symptoms typical of hyperthyroidism (inhibits TSH binding to receptors): anxiety, restlessness, palpitations, headache, and excitability and also is a mild anti-depressant. It strengthens the brain and its resistance to stress/shock, and lifts the spirits. It has tonic effects on the heart and circulatory system and can be used topically for herpes and other viral infections. Can also be used topically for gout and internally for rheumatism and neuralgias.

Pharmacology: 

  • Anti-viral properties are mainly due to the oxidation products of caffeic acid and its derivatives.
  • Volatile oils citral, citronellal, citronellol, geraniol are anti-septic, antispasmodic, and calming to the nervous system.
  • Flavonoids & polyphenols may be responsible for inhibiting TSH and auto-antibodies from binding on TSH receptors (though it is not clear if decreases thyroid activity).

Pharmacy:  Capsules: 2-4 g QD. Infusion: 2 tsp/cup, BID. Tincture: (1:2, 45%), 3-6 ml TID  (maximum of 100 ml per week). Topically: poultice, compress, Herpelieve: apply 2 – 4 times daily.

Toxicity:  None expected within recommended doses. Theoretically may interfere with thyroid hormone activity and cause sleepiness.

Contraindications: None known.

Interactions: None reported. Use caution with CNS depressants and thyroid medications.

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