“You cannot always control what goes on outside. But you can always control what goes on inside.”

Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis)

for Anxiety & Stress


Anxiety, the mood of fear, worry, and uneasiness can be severely disruptive to quality of life yet medications for the management of anxiety are often either ineffective, addictive, habit-forming or poorly tolerated. Lemon Balm has been shown to be safe, effective and well-tolerated for managing anxiety.


See Also:


Alternative Therapies for Anxiety & Stress:

Animal-Assisted Therapy

Cognitive Behavior Training (CBT)


Meditation & Mindful Exercise

Music Therapy

Yoga & Tai Chi



Antidepressants used for Anxiety


Gabapentin & Lyrica (Gabapentinoids)




Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis)


Records concerning the use of Lemon Balm date back over 2000 years. It was included entries in the Historia Plantarum (approximately 300 B.C.) and the Materia Medica (approximately 50 – 80 B.C. and was recommended by Paracelsus (1493– 1541) for anxiety. In keeping with its long history of safe use, no side effects have been identified.


Lemon Balm has been evaluated for it’s benefit in anxiety at doses of 300mg, 600mg and 900mg. Interestingly, the dose associated with the best improvement of mood  was the lowest dose, 300 mg. The higher doses were more sedating but not more effective for anxiety.


Lemon Balm is widely used with another plant, Valerian (Valeriana officinalis), for relieving sleep difficulties, tension, restlessness, and irritability. While few studies have looked at the effects of Melissa by itself for sleep, several have evaluated the effects of a Valerian/Melissa combination on sleep quality which have demonstrated the combination to be equivalent to 0.125 mg of triazolam (a short-acting benzodiazepam used for sleep).


Based on a recent literature review, it was concluded that extracts of M. officinalis are effective in reducing anxiety and stress due to its action on the central nervous system, particularly the cholinergic and GABAergic systems, though its exact mechanism of action is still controversial. The GABA-A receptors are ionic channels that mediate the effects of GABA, producing an inhibitory action through the opening of chloride channels preventing a neuronal action potential. This is seen as the mechanism of action of diazepam (Valium) and is believed to be one of the possible mechanisms of action of Lemon Balm.



Anxiety & StressCAM Treatment

Anxiety & Stress, CAM Tx – Overviews

  1. What Can CAM Do for Anxiety?
  2. Complementary and alternative medicine in the treatment of anxiety and depression – 2008


Anxiety & Stress, CAM Tx – Natural, Herbal Options Overviews

  1. Dietary_and_botanical_anxiolytics – 2012
  2. Natural Nutritional Supplements for Anxiety and Depression Treatment
  3. Herbal remedies for anxiety – a systematic review of controlled clinical trials. – PubMed – NCBI
  4. [Medicinal plants for the treatment of generalized anxiety disorder: a review of controlled clinical studies]. – PubMed – NCBI
  5. Plant-Based Medicines for Anxiety Disorders, Part 1 – A Review of Preclinical Studies – 2013
  6. Plant-Based Medicines for Anxiety Disorders, Part 2 – A Review of Clinical Studies with Supporting Preclinical Evidence. – PubMed – NCBI
  7. Complementary and alternative medicine in the treatment of anxiety and depression – 2008



Anxiety & Stress, CAM TxLemon Balm (Melissa Officinalis)

  1.  Anxiolytic properties of Melissa officinalis and associated mechanisms of action – A review of the literature – 2015
  2. modulation-of-mood-and-cognitive-performance-following-acute-administration-of-single-doses-of-melissa-officinalis-lemon-balm-2002
  3. Lemon balm | University of Maryland Medical Center
  4. melissa-officinalis-l-a-review-of-its-traditional-uses-phytochemistry-and-pharmacology-2016



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