If you or a loved one suffers from Alzheimer's, depression, anxiety, or stomach problems, then you might want to consider using an herb that sounds like a sour fruit. This herb has nothing to do with lemons, but its name is similar. And people have used it for hundreds of years to treat these ailments.
Lemon balm really has nothing to do with lemons, except that it has a slight lemony smell. It's a plant that's in the mint family. And more and more studies are confirming that this herb does live up to its folk traditions.
In the first study, found in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, researchers found that lemon balm may help Alzheimer's patients and those with severe dementia regain some of their cognitive functions. The researchers believe the benefits may come from helping calm the patients down. Alzheimer's patients often become anxious, fearful, and even angry. So the lemon balm may help them gain control of their emotions, which is a significant cognitive function.
Another study looked at individuals having sleep issues. In this study, 81% of those who took valerian and lemon balm had much better sleeping patterns compared to those who took a placebo.
Because of its calming and relaxing effects, lemon balm can be very effective for settling an upset stomach and digestive cramping. Many people who suffer from digestive issues often suffer from muscle spasms in their stomach area. These can be quite painful. And lemon balm can help calm them down. Lemon balm works in a similar way as magnesium, in that it relaxes your digestive muscles. This can help relieve constipation, spasms, and gas problems. It also can help relax your liver and gall bladder, helping them work more effectively.
There is one potential caveat with lemon balm. There are some reports that say it can interfere with the absorption of the thyroid medication thyroxine. So if you take this medication, you may want to stay away from lemon balm. There's no evidence that it hinders other, more natural thyroid medications. But you might want to talk to your doctor before taking it.
Otherwise, lemon balm might be a great way to help relieve stress, calm your nerves, and restore a healthy digestive system. You can find lemon balm extract and any health food store and online.
Your insider for better health,
Steve Kroening is the editor of Nutrient Insider, a twice-a-week email newsletter that brings you the latest healing breakthroughs from the world of nutrition and dietary supplements. For over 20 years, Steve has worked hand-in-hand with some of the nation's top doctors, including Drs. Robert Rowen, Frank Shallenberger, Nan Fuchs, William Campbell Douglass, and best-selling author James Balch. Steve is the author of the book Practical Guide to Home Remedies. As a health journalist, Steve's articles have appeared in countless magazines, blogs, and websites.
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Ballard CG, O'Brien JT, Reichelt K, Perry EK. Aromatherapy as a safe and effective treatment for the management of agitation in severe dementia: the results of a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial with Melissa. J Clin Psychiatry. 2002;63(7):553-8.