Melissa: uses and effects on cognitive functions

Lemon balm has a very long medical history (its use has been documented since 80 BC) and a well deserved reputation in the field. Even Paracelsus advised her for her ability to revive mood, to support memory, and for a series of secondary cognitive benefits.

We discover its uses and effects on cognitive functions.

The lemon balm plant and its uses

Melissa officinalis is an aromatic plant belonging to Lamiaceae, a perennial herb, which owes its name to the interest that bees have towards it for the production of honey.

Although vaguely resembling mint (another lamiacea), its aroma is unmistakable, due to the presence of oils and terpenes such as citral, gerianiol, limonene, citronellal, which make it similar to citrus fruits such as lemon and cedar, and to that of lemongrass, with which it shares many of these essential oils.

Melissa is pleasant in aromatherapy, useful in cooking, effective in herbal and herbal medicine. It is a well-known, widely cultivated plant, present in the gardens and gardens throughout Italy and Europe, of which it is native.

Among its many uses it is used as:

  • insect repellent,
  • balsamic (in the form of oil or herbal tea),
  • Antibacterial.

It also has a good ability to reduce oxidative stress and the effects of limited but constant exposure to radiation : in fact, in many hospitals it is regularly administered to radiology staff.

Discover the uses of lemon balm for insomnia

Action on the cognitive abilities of lemon balm

In general, lemon balm has been considered a medicinal plant since the days of folk medicine, due to its moderate sedative, anxiolytic and calming properties . Modern science, through in vitro research, seems to indicate that lemon balm (especially its extracts) have a very positive effect in combating cognitive deficits associated with trauma and the improper use of drugs, and diseases such as Alzheimer's .

Advanced studies, with the so-called placebo control and double-blind tests, have confirmed these properties, unrelated to possible repercussions on human health, if not the classic contraindications of the use of lemon balm: do not administer in case of pregnancy and during lactation and avoiding recruitment in the event of hypothyroidism and glaucoma and other types of damage to the optic nerve.

During the experiments, in addition to a calm self-perception, the volunteers found increases in accuracy of attention, improvements in secondary memory and specific areas of short-term memory, especially the "working memory", directly connected to the vision and having to make decisions, especially with regards to behavior.

Lemon balm metabolites activate specific receptors of the frontal cortex, defined as nicotinic and muscarinic, and the higher the dose of lemon balm is taken, the more obvious are the improvements in the cognitive performance induced by it.

Other uses of lemon balm

Today lemon balm is used mainly for herbal teas and extracts, mother tinctures and essential oils. Once dried and crumbled, it becomes a spice not bad for flavoring salads with a light veil, especially fresh tomatoes with chopped onions.

Also excellent in a mixture of spices, along with sage, rosemary, perilla, with a little salt and dried and powdered lemon peel.

A melissa version of the famous Moroccan mint tea is a brilliant habit if we suffer from nerves or we have problems with insomnia; and again, the fresh leaves pounded in a mortar are exceptional when added and filtered in lemon or mandarin juice, to be served with ice in the middle of summer.

All these uses, and many others, are therefore mood regulators, memory enhancers, implementers of cognitive, calming, relaxing, soothing performances, inducing a good rest, both for the action on brain receptors and for the soothing effect on the general nervous system, both for the ability to induce relaxation also on the muscles during sleep .

Lemon balm herbal tea, properties and recipe

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