Lemon balm

Melissa officinalis Helps anxiety, insomnia and concentration

As a traditional remedy for restlessness and anxiety, lemon balm is ideal for women who find themselves worrying more or becoming more sensitive to stress during and after menopause. Its relaxing properties can also help with sleep disturbances. Lemon balm helps promote feelings of calmness and can be beneficial as a mood lifter when you're feeling emotionally flat. It has also been used to promote mental function, and preliminary research indicates that it may help memory and concentration. 0 I >( )S \( i I. Infuse 1 to 2 teaspoons of fresh aerial parts of lemon balm in boiling water; drink 1 cup 2 to 3 times per day, with the last cup 30 to 60 minutes before bed.

Cautions

• Do not take any of the herbs listed on these pages if you have a history of hormone-sensitive tumors, endometriosis or uterine fibroids, except under the supervision of a healthcare professional.

• Do not take black cohosh if you are taking any prescription medication, except under medical supervision.

• Do not take black cohosh except under medical supervision if you have a history of liver disease, as some authorities believe that black cohosh may occasionally cause severe liver damage. These instances are extremely rare, but potentially very serious. If you experience minor side effects, such as mild, reversible stomach upset and skin problems, stop using the herb and seek medical advice.

• Do not confuse black cohosh with blue cohosh (Caulophyllum tholictroides), which you should only take under medical supervision.

• Do not take red clover isoflavones if you are taking warfarin or anticoagulant medication, except under medical supervision.

• Due to its astringent nature, sage tea has sometimes been reported to cause dryness and irritation of the mouth. If this occurs, try reducing the dose of sage relative to the amount of water used, and make sure you drink plenty of water throughout the day.

Sage may reduce the absorption of minerals such as calcium and iron, so separate doses by at least 2 hours. Lemon balm may interact with some pharmaceutical medications, so consult your doctor or pharmacist before taking it. For the safe and appropriate use of St. John's wort, see Depression and anxiety, page 211.

Do not use the herbs on this page if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, except under the advice of a healthcare professional.

Popular in dried form for teas, lemon balm was called the "elixir of life" by Paracelsus (page 49).

Pregnancy

Only (he safest of herbal medicines are recommended for women to use during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

Gather calendula flowers from early summer onwards, then dry them in a cool, dark place.

Continue reading here: Ginger

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