Updated: May 3
Most people would likely agree that we're living in challenging times and under significant mental and physical stress. Stress can cause mental health complaints including anxiety and low mood and also physical complaints that may present as a digestive issue. Anxiety and digestive-related symptoms are common complaints frequently seen by health practitioners, both conventional and naturopathic.
Fortunately, there are numerous options available to those seeking a natural approach to common ailments. Stress management is a term often mentioned when discussing anxiety, low mood, and various other diseases. Many are non-invasive yet effective techniques that can be part of a healthy lifestyle. These include walking in nature, yoga, listening to music, making music, healthy food choices, exercise, activity, sex, talking, social interaction, and laughter. And of course, there is a good old-fashioned cup of tea - herbal tea - in particular, Lemon balm tea. Perhaps it's not as fun as some of the others on the list, but it doesn't make it any less effective.
The Latin name for Lemon balm is Melissa officinalis. According to traditional herbal knowledge, it has a calming effect on the nervous and digestive systems. This makes it a useful herb for symptoms of mild anxiety and some digestive symptoms including bloating and flatulence. It is also reported to aid sleep, particularly if stress is causing difficulty sleeping. Herbalists make an infusion and drink it when cool enough (a fancy way of saying we make it into a cup of tea), but it could also be chilled once brewed and consumed cold if preferred. You might want to try adding some fresh mint for variety and additional digestive support, or if you want to mix it up a little more, add chamomile to the infusion. The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA)
acknowledge that based on traditional use, Lemon balm and Chamomile are used
for the relief of some digestive issues (1).
How is it taken?
A herbal infusion is a useful stress management option that's easy to fit into everyday life. If a cup of tea isn't your cup of tea - pun intended - Lemon balm can also be taken in capsule form or as a liquid extract and Chamomile is also available as a liquid extract. These can be easily carried around in your bag and taken on the go without needing to make a cup of tea. When taken as a tea, aim for 3 cups per day. According to some reputable authors, the daily maximum dosage of both Lemon balm and Chamomile is 12g (2). Most prepared tea bags are between 1g and 1.8g so three keeps you well within the recommended daily dosage.
Tip: Infuse the loose herbs or tea bag in a teapot, or cover the top of the cup while it's brewing. This will keep all of the herbal constituents in the infusion and stop the beneficial essential oils from evaporating. A little stevia or honey can be added for taste, but try it without first.
If possible, sit down and relax while drinking the tea. Take notice of the flavour and enjoy the aroma and taste. Savour the moment. This too is therapeutic and one of life's simple pleasures.
Disclaimer: The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. It is intended as a sharing of knowledge and information. You are encouraged to make your own health care decisions based upon your research and in partnership with a qualified health care professional. If you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition, consult your health care professional before using products based on this content.
Thomsen & Gennat (2009).