Lemon balm (Latin name: Melissa officinalis) is a type of mint. Its leaves have traditionally been used as a herbal remedy, including for depression and anxiety.
It is not clear how lemon balm might help depression.
There is very little scientific evidence on whether lemon balm works for depression. One small study gave people with heart disease either lemon balm extract or a placebo, and found that people who took the lemon balm had slightly lower symptoms of depression compared to those who took the placebo. However, not all of the people who took part in this study had clinical depression.
More evidence of better quality is needed to better understand how lemon balm might help depression.
Dietary supplements and herbal remedies may produce side effects or have negative interactions with prescribed medications or other supplements. If you are thinking of using lemon balm, ask your doctor or pharmacist it if might interfere with other medications or supplements you are taking.
You can buy lemon balm as a tea, supplement or extract from health food shops.
Given the lack of evidence on lemon balm, it cannot be recommended as a treatment for depression.
Last reviewed and updated: 1 November 2019