Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) or balm mint is a perennial herb from the mint family. Its leaves are used in teas and to add flavour to food. It is used in cosmetics for its soothing effect and the essential oil is used in aromatherapy and some alternative medicines. Its fresh leaves have a lemon scent and in aromatherapy the oil (sweet oil/common oil) is said to promote relaxation and calm. It is used as a mood uplifter and antidepressant because of its sweet aroma and tendency to relieve fatigue and stress. In ancient times it is said the greeks used it to ease tension, dress cuts and ease bites and stings.
Scientific studies have been done on this herb to research its properties and benefits. According to an article by the University Of Maryland Medical Center lemon balm combined with other herbs such as valerian, hops, and chamomile help to reduce anxiety and promote sleep.
In addition some studies suggest that it can help heal cold sores. This article also highlights that the herb has a high antibacterial activity and can fight against things like listeria monocytogenes and staphylococcus auerus.
Lemon balm is rich in antioxidants which include caffeic acids, chlorogenic acid, metrilic acid, flavonoids and eugenol which all help miminise free radical damage and act as an anti-inflammatory / anti-bacterial agent.