After seeing the Dr. Oz segment on “Middle Age Cures”, I feel I must write more on the subject. For anxiety or stress, it would be taken orally, but only as a tea or a tincture. A tincture is what they were actually giving the woman on the show. I know they showed the bottle marked “Lemon Balm Oil”, but this was totally, and irresponsibly wrong.
Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) is an herbal nervine. A nervine is an herb that works on helping the nervous system combat stress and nervous exhaustion. Lemon balm makes a wonderful nerve tonic. Lemon balm is calming, and soothes the nerves. It is considered a sedative herb. One, however, does not take it in oil form.
Lemon balm makes a wonderfully delicious, slightly lemony tea. You many drink 3-5 cups a day to combat anxiety. Any more than that would be overdoing it.
As a tincture, lemon balm is concentrated into alcohol. The herb soaks in vodka, brandy, or grain alcohol for 4-6 weeks to absorb the medicinal value of the herb. It is then strained and bottled into a dark glass jar. A tincture has a shelf life of about 5 years.
On the Dr. Oz show, he put too many droppers into her glass. The normal dosage for lemon balm tincture would be 1-2 droppers 3-4 times a day. It is usually put into warm water, or a tea. This helps the alcohol to evaporate. Lemon balm, can also be taken as a glycerite, if you are sensitve to alcohol. The dosage would be the same. It can be mixed with other herbs, but should be used alone at first to see the results.
Lemon balm oil is meant to treat skin inflammations such as bites, scratches, and minor wounds. It is also widely used for herpes, herpes cold sores and shingles. Lemon balm oil contains eugenol, which kills bacteria and has been shown to calm muscles and numb tissues. It also contains tannins that contribute to its antiviral effects, as well as terpenes that add to its soothing effects on the skin. It is made using a carrier oil such as sweet almond or apricot. It steeps in the oil for 8 weeks. It is then strained. It is also made into a ointment and salve for use on the skin. It is never to be taken orally.
Please remember, herbs are potent medicine, and must be used with respect. More, does not equal better results. You can overdose on herbs the same way you can with prescription drugs. It is best to find a clinical herbalist, or other health care professional with extensive knowledge in herbs before taking any herbal regimen.
For more information on using lemon balm to treat stress and anxiety visit Lemon Balm Herb for Anxiety.