Balm herb


Melissa officinalis

Part Used : Dried aerial parts, or fresh in season.

Constituents : The whole complex of primary plant constituents and a characteristic array of secondary plant constituents are present. Pharmacologically important constituents include:

  • Volatile oil consisting mainly of citral and a whole range of terpenes, flavonoids, polyphenolics. triterpenic acids.

Actions : Carminative, nervine, anti-spasmodic, anti-depressive, diaphoretic, anti-microbial, hepatic.

Indications : Balm is an excellent carminative herb that relieves spasms in the digestive tract and is used in flatulent dyspepsia. Because of its mild anti-depressive properties, it is primarily indicated where there is dyspepsia associated with anxiety or depression, as the gently sedative oils relieve tension and stress reactions, thus acting to lighten depression.

The volatile oil appears to act on the interface between the digestive tract and nervous system. It has been described by some herbalist’s as being trophorestorative to the nervous system, similar in some ways to Oats. It may be used in migraine that is associated with tension, neuralgia, anxiety induced palpitations, insomnia. Balm has a tonic effect on the heart and circulatory system causing mild vaso-dilation of the peripheral vessels, thus acting to lower blood pressure. It can be used in feverish conditions such as influenza. Hot water extracts have anti-viral properties, possibly due in part to rosmarinic acid and other polyphenolics.

A lotion based extract maybe used for skin lesions of Herpes simplex, the anti-viral activity having been confirmed both laboratory and clinical trial. Its hormone regulating effects are well documented in the laboratory. Freeze-dried aqueous extracts inhibit many of the effects of thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) on the thyroid gland by interfering with the binding of TSH to plasma membranes and by inhibiting the enzyme iodothyronine de-iodinase in vitro.

It also inhibits the receptor binding and biological activity of immunoglobulins in the blood of patients with Graves disease, a condition which results in hyperthyroidism.

Preparations & Dosage : Infusion: pour a cup of boiling water onto 2-3 teaspoonfuls of the dried herb or 4-6 fresh leaves and leave to infuse for l0-l5 minutes, well covered until drunk. A cup of this tea should be taken in the morning and the evening, or when needed. Tincture: take 2-6 ml of the tincture three times a day.

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Written by David L. Hoffmann BSc Hons MNIMH

Explore Wellness in 2021