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In the modern world stress and conditions affecting the nervous system are increasing. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics in 2007, almost half (45% or 7.3 million) of 16 million Australians (aged 16-85 years) met the criteria for a diagnosis of a stress or mild anxiety related condition at some point in their life1.
With such a growing number of people suffering from stress or mild anxiety related conditions you may wonder what would be suitable complementary medicine options which may assist with the symptoms of stress and mild anxiety.
Melissa officinalis commonly known as Lemon Balm, has been used for centuries in traditional Western herbal medicine for mild anxiety and stress. It has been referred to by traditional herbalist as “sovereign to the brain, strengthening the memory and powerfully chasing away melancholy”.
More recently, scientific evidence supports the health benefits of Lemon Balm for mild anxiety related symptoms and sleep disturbances.
Clinical research of a specific extract in Lemon Balm, known as rosmarinic acid has shown positive mood lifting benefits 2. Rosmarinic acid is believed to inhibit the breakdown of GABA (Gamma Aminobutyric Acid). GABA is a naturally occurring brain chemical or neurotransmitter that directs signals from your nerve cell to a specific target cell. The key role of GABA is to have a calming effect on you and your nervous system. GABA can reduce excessive brain activity and promote a state of calm.
The rush of everyday life, external complexities and change can be quite overwhelming for some and this is where Lemon Balm may be able to assist. Lemon Balm also has anti-anxiety properties. It is used to promote relaxation and a deep, restful sleep. Lemon balm is also able to assist in reducing the associated symptoms of mild anxiety and stress such as irritability, nervousness and digestive complaints associated with nervous tension.http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Lookup/4125.0main+features4310Jan%202013
2. J Et al (2010). Mediterr J Nutr Metab 4:211–218