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Topical lemon balm is not associated with any significant side effects, although allergic reactions are always possible. Oral lemon balm is on the FDA's GRAS (generally recognized as safe) list. However, according to one study, lemon balm reduces alertness and impairs mental function; for this reason, individuals engaging in activities that require alertness, such as operating a motor vehicle, should avoid using lemon balm beforehand. 1 In addition, one animal study suggests that if lemon balm is taken at the same time as standard sedative drugs, excessive sedation might occur. 2
Interactions You Should Know About
If you are taking sedative medications, use of oral lemon balm might amplify the effect, potentially leading to excessive sedation.
- Kennedy DO, Scholey AB, Tildesley NT, et al. Modulation of mood and cognitive performance following acute administration of Melissa officinalis (lemon balm). Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2002;72:953-964.
- Soulimani R, Fleurentin J, Mortier F, et al. Neurotropic action of the hydroalcoholic extract of Melissa officinalis in the mouse. Planta Med. 1991;57:105-109.