Report on Lemon Balm Side Effects and Usage

Lemon Balm

Natural health supplements sometimes have unexpected side effects or interactions with medication that can lead to adverse reactions that are sometimes life threatening. The following is a list of cautions that you should be aware of before using Lemon Balm (

). These are referred to as drug/herb interactions.

Warning 1 – Central Nervous System Depressants: may increase the sedative effects of central nervous system depressants.

Warning 2 – Barbiturates: Using lemon balm with ACE inhibitors may increase the sedative effects of barbiturates causing too much sleepiness.

Warning 3 – Iron salts: May decrease the absorption of iron salts.

Warning 4 – Surgery: Lemon balm may cause too much drowsiness if combined with drugs used during and after surgery. Stop using lemon balm at least two weeks before surgery.

Used as a natural health remedy: lemon balm is used internally for the following benefits and conditions:

  • anti-spasmodic
  • anxiety
  • attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • bloating
  • diaphoretic (causes sweating)
  • diarrhea
  • headache
  • high blood pressure
  • improve cognitive performance and enhance learning
  • intestinal gas (flatulence)
  • menstrual cramps
  • mental disorders, including hysteria and melancholia
  • nervous system tonic
  • pain relief of toothache
  • rapid heartbeat due to nervousness
  • releave stress
  • restlessness
  • sedative
  • swollen airways
  • upset stomach
  • vomiting
  • wound healing
  • Lemon Balm decreases the production of the thyroid hormone thyroxine, which may make it an effective adjunctive treatment for Grave’s disease.
  • As a sleep aid, lemon balm improves the quality of sleep when taken with valerian.
  • Herpes labialis (cold sores, HSV): A lip balm of 1% lemon balm extract seems to shorten the healing time, prevent the spread of infection, and reduce the symptoms of cold sores.
  • Alzheimer’s disease: Using a standardized extract of lemon balm by mouth daily for 4 months seems to improve symptoms and the reduce agitation of mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease.
  • GERD and Dyspepsia (upset stomach): When lemon balm is used with a combination of peppermint leaf, caraway, licorice, German chamomile, clown’s mustard plant, celandine, angelica, and milk thistle, the combination seems to improve acid reflux, abdominal cramps, stomach pain, nausea, and vomiting.
  • Lemon balm is inhaled as aromatherapy to reduce the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Colic: Research from a clinical trial shows that breast-fed infants with colic who are given a multi-ingredient product containing fennel, lemon balm, and German chamomile twice daily for a week cried for a shorter period of time than other breast-fed infants with colic. This may lead to a future product however, treating infants and children under 2 years old with any herbal preparation is hazardous and should not be done without consulting with your doctor.

Side Effects of Lemon Balm

The proper use of lemon balm produces no known side effects or toxicity. However, large amounts of lemon balm taken by mouth may cause:

  1. Nausea
  2. Vomiting
  3. Abdominal pain
  4. Dizziness
  5. Wheezing

Other side effects may also occur when using lemon balm. (See form below)

Lemon balm is also known as Bee Balm, Blue balm, Balm Mint, Cure-all, Garden Balm, Sweet Mary, Honey plant, and Sweet Balm.

As with any herb, a serious allergic reaction is possible. Seek immediate medical attention if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction. These may include a rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, or trouble breathing.

Return to the Herb List.

For questions and answers about the side effects of herbs see the Herb Forum

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