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14 Lemon Balm Benefits + Easy Tea Recipe

Lemon balm benefits the body in a spectrum of amazing ways, but it also carries risks. Discover how you can incorporate the bright flavor and support of lemon balm into your healthy living routine. 

a lemon balm plant in a mason jar with lemon slices on a blue napkin

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I grow my own lemon balm here on the farm. It’s easy as pie to pull off. I use a jug sowing method in the spring to start my seeds and they come up really easily. From there, the perennial plant (which is a member of the  mint family) grows and spreads on its own and will stay vigorous right up until frost.

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    Lemon balm is a wonderful container herb–if you don’t have space for it to spread in the ground, just put this little wonder in a pot.

    But what does it actually do for you? More than you might realize!

    **Of course, you should never start any herbal therapies until you talk to your doctor and get the green light. So make sure you do that first–especially if you have any health conditions or take prescription medications.**

    Lemon Balm Benefits

    1. Lowers triglycerides–When used aromatically (that means you breathe it in) Melissa essential oil (which is lemon balm) has been shown to lower triglycerides which could impact a variety of other health conditions.
    2. Treats heart palpitations–Use caution if you plan to try lemon balm for any kind of heart rhythm issue, but studies have shown that lemon balm can help reduce episodes of palpitations in some people.
    3. Natural antibacterial–With its ability to fight a spectrum of bacteria inside the body, lemon balm has shown particular effectiveness against candida–a type of yeast that can cause brain fog, digestive issues, exhaustion and more.
    4. Treats diabetes–Primarily for type 2 diabetes, studies have shown that lemon balm extract or oil is beneficial in the reduction of blood sugar levels. It is not a replacement for insulin.
    5. Calms anxiety–Despite some studies from outside sources who conflict this statement, many people say that lemon balm benefits their battle with anxiety.
    6. Treats insomnia–Lemon balm is said to help calm and offers a mild sedating effect that promotes sleep.
    7. Improves cognitive function and focus–A study of young adults who took lemon balm internally found an improvement in mood and the ability to focus.
    8. Helps manage ADHD in children–Perhaps thanks to its calming effect, lemon balm reduces hyperactivity and impulsiveness and improves focus for some school children.
    9. Fights the herpes virus–Even though there’s no way to ever get the herpes virus out of your body, you can focus on preventing outbreaks and that means keeping the virus under control. For cold sore sufferers, lemon balm reduced outbreaks, duration and pain/itching. Plus there’s no viral resistance to the herb over time so it can be used repeatedly.
    10. Fights cancer–Lemon balm has been shown to cause cancer cell death in the deadly brain cancer called glioblastoma multiforme. It has also shown a positive effect on certain types of breast, liver, and some types of leukemia.
    11. Battles inflammation--Chronic inflammation can support a variety of diseases and trigger pain in the body. Lemon balm has shown to reduce inflammation throughout the body.
    12. Manages overactive thyroid–Known as Grave’s Disease, lemon balm stops certain substances that trigger the thyroid from binding to receptor cells and helps slow down an over active thyroid.
    13. Soothes constipation–Studies are still being done but early research shows that lemon balm, peppermint and angelica root may be helpful treatments for constipation.
    14. Reduces PMS symptoms–When taken in a capsule form, lemon balm reduced those pesky mood swings, weight gain and bloating in high school age women.

    When to use caution with lemon balm

    Just because you can grow it, certainly doesn’t mean lemon balm benefits everyone. You should avoid lemon balm if you have a hypothyroid because it can negatively effect your thyroid medications.

    Some people have had allergic reactions to lemon balm ranging from anaphylactic responses and rashes. Use caution if lemon balm is new to you.

    And of course, if you are nursing or pregnant ask your doctor before you start using lemon balm.

    a close up of the leaves of the lemon balm plant in a blue mason jar

    Where to buy lemon balm

    This part can get so very tricky. Always make sure you are buying oils from reputable brands like DoTerra or Young Living. Remember you’re looking for Melissa. A little goes a very long way and while it is expensive, you don’t want to use a brand that may have additives or sketchy ingredients. Lemon balm benefits can only be as good as the source you get them from.

    For a capsule, you may consider one like this:

    If you’d like to know more about dosages, you can check this post.

    How to make lemon balm tea

    I love my lemon balm tea–and while my recipe isn’t very scientific, it’s delicious and I enjoy a steaming cup several times a week and it never seems to make me feel sleepy.  Even my kids enjoy it!

    fresh lemon balm leaves

    Lemon Balm Tea

    Lemon balm tea is a delicious way to enjoy the bright flavor and health benefits of lemon balm. 
    Prep Time 2 minutes
    Cook Time 2 minutes
    Total Time 4 minutes
    Servings 1 person
    Author Rachel Ballard


    • 1/4 cup fresh lemon balm leaves chopped
    • 1 cup water
    • 1 teaspoon raw honey optional


    • Chop the lemon balm leaves to release their oils. Set aside. 
    • Heat the water in a cup in the microwave or on the stove until boiling. 
    • Mix the leaves and water in a mug and allow to stand 10 minutes to steep. 
    • Stir in honey and strain if desired. Drink warm. 


    Calories: 29kcalCarbohydrates: 7gProtein: 1gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 16mgPotassium: 64mgFiber: 1gSugar: 6gVitamin A: 478IUVitamin C: 4mgCalcium: 27mgIron: 1mg
    Tried this recipe?Tag us on Instagram @feastandfarm and hashtag it #feastandfarm
    Course easy
    Cuisine American
    Keyword lemon balm tea

    You can certainly enjoy lemon balm fresh on salads, or in your favorite recipes, too. Be brave! Experiment with its bright flavor.

    What’s your favorite way to use lemon balm? Tag me on Instagram @feastandfarm and show me your lemon balm creations!

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      1. @Rachel Ballard, Sage has a blue-green soft velvety “fuzzy” leaf. It may not have a lemony aroma though.

    1. I’d like to get a plant. Any suggestions where if possible in southern California? I live 68 miles east of Los Angeles in San Bernardino county. Thank you for any ideas.

      1. Edna I’m not sure what your stores stock this time of year (here in Kentucky you can’t get any plants in the garden centers now) but any retailer like Lowe’s or a garden center should have some you can buy in a pot. –Rachel

      2. @Edna Halbrook, Plant it once, and it will overtake your yard. Most nurseries carry it. I live in Texas, and it hopped from my neighbor’s yard. It’s everywhere. Some people would think it’s a weed. My yard is all native plants so I let my lemon balm go crazy. Smells nice and is very hardy! Even the two week freeze didn’t deter it.

      1. Hi Laura, I really prefer it as a tea, but it would be great tossed into a salad as a bright flavor or in a simple syrup for lemonade. It might even be good in small doses on fish. Anywhere you would use a lemon, you could give it a try. –Rachel

    2. Regarding the thyroid question I have under active thyroid and I’m following the a Medical Mediums advice on how to balance the thyroid naturally and one of the things he advices is Lemon Balm Ive taken two capsules a day for months with no ill effects. I hope that helps as doctors are not trained Rd in herbal medicine how can they advise?? Regards Maggie

      **Feast and Farm does not give or endorse any type of medical advice.**

      1. Maggie have you seen any positive effects for your thyroid? Mine is underactive as well.

      2. @Maggie,
        Dear Maggie, thank you for sharing your experience with lemon balm. I’ve been dealing with hypothyroidism for almost 3 decades. I’m sick of it ? I’m carefully going to have a cup of lemon balm tea ?. Thanks again for sharing.

    3. 5 stars
      I love the aroma. I have it growing in a pot on my balcony. I harvest/pick a few leaves, place them in a cup and pour boiling water over them and let it steep for a while and drink it before bed. Great way to unwind into sleep.

    4. I have lots of this herb growing in my garden this summer, so I added to my frozen lemonade drink, similar to the Israeli “lemonana” drink. Delicious!

    5. It seems interesting this lemon balm and I want to try it but I am worried because I had my partial thyroidectomy more than 15 years ago no maintenance of tablets am I safe to take it?

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    About the Author

    Rachel Ballard, RN, BSN brings more than 20 years of professional nursing expertise to Feast and Farm. With a love for nutrient dense foods that support wellness, she works to distill complex health information and current trends into recipes that fuel the best version of yourself. Read more about Rachel here.