Lemon balm is a relaxing, calming herb loved by bees and humans alike. It is a common ingredient in stress-reducing creams or supplements that aid sleep and rejuvenation. As a relative of the mint family, lemon balm has dense green leaves that emit a fresh lemon aroma. It is a lovely addition to any herb garden and complements other shrubs and flowers. If you have good soil and sunlight, lemon balm will grow easily!
How Does Lemon Balm Benefit The Skin?
Rich in caffeic and ferulic acids, both of which are antioxidants, lemon balm can help neutralize free radicals on the skin. Free radicals, which are commonly created by pollution, are oxidizing agents that cause damage to skin cells. If left unchecked, these free radicals can cause premature aging, including fine lines, dark spots, and wrinkles. Creams or salves that contain lemon balm work to increase circulation, while simultaneously tightening the skin.
Lemon balm exhibits antibacterial properties that work to cleanse pores and reduce the frequency of blackheads. Some anecdotal reports indicate that it may aid healing, being a natural remedy for insect stings, bites, cuts, and small wounds. Lemon balm contains rosmarinic acid, which works to benefit oily skin by reducing oil production. In turn, that effect may help reduce acne breakouts.
What Does The Research Say?
An in-vitro study that used lemon balm oil found it to be very effective against a series of human cancer cell lines. Lemon balm oil exhibits antioxidant activity, evidenced by a reduction of 1, 1-diphenyl-2-picryl-hydrazyl (DPPH). Another study from 2004 found that lemon balm may offer anti-tumor properties, but more research is necessary to determine this.
Lemon balm works to relax the blood vessels and offers antiviral activity. Historically, Greek and Latin cultures used lemon balm to calm nerves and treat fevers. In America, the Cherokee tribe used lemon balm to remedy digestive disorders and mitigate stress. Even today, lemon balm offers therapeutic properties that help soothe wounds, anxiety, acne, eczema, and even chickenpox.
What Is Lemon Balm Oil?
Lemon balm can also be found in oil form, but you can make your own lemon balm oil if you have the time. Please note that lemon balm oil is not the same as lemon balm essential oil, which is made by distilling lemon balm leaves. To make lemon balm oil, you have to crush the leaves and slowly heat them in a carrier oil, such as jojoba oil, almond oil, or fractionated coconut oil. This process can take a couple weeks before it is ready to use, and the longer you wait, the better. If you don’t have the time, though, you can buy lemon balm oil for the following DIY salve.
DIY Lemon Balm Salve
- 1 tablespoon candelilla wax
- 2 tablespoons jojoba oil
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 tsp lemon balm oil (not essential oil)
- Melt the wax with the jojoba oil and olive oil in a small saucepan over low heat. Once the wax is melted, you can stir in the lemon balm oil.
- Transfer this mixture to a metal storage tin and allow it to cool before placing the lid on. Use as needed, but do not use lemon balm if you have thyroid issues.