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Lemon Balm Tea for Skin: Benefits and Side Effects

By Nancy H, PharmD
May 22, 2023
8 minutes


Talking about the discovery of lemon balm, it has been known for centuries in the time past. It is popularly known in North Africa, West Asia, the Middle East, and Europe. In addition, it has been beneficial not only for human consumption but also for medicinal purposes. Lemon Balm, also known as Melissa officinalis, Lamiaceae(1), has gained recognition worldwide in the medical industry because of its soothing properties and scintillating citrus aroma that distinguish it from other herbs. In addition to its incredible healing effects contributing to mood and cognitive development, lemon balm tea is also valuable and protective of the skin. It is an essential ingredient for so many uses, especially, skincare.

Overall, the purpose of this blog is to learn more about the possible benefits of lemon balm tea for the skin and its possible side effects.

Lemon Balm Tea

Lemon balm whose botanical name is Melissa officinalis, belongs to the mint herbs, Lamiaceae. Most people of old age in the Asian and European parts of the world are only used for flavoring their food, curing poisonous insect bites (2), and ensuring food digestion. Likewise, it is endemic in parts of North America and Africa. Lemon balm’s usefulness is beyond improving mood and cognitive function as it can also reduce stress and anxiety, promote sleep, improve appetite, and ease pain and discomfort from indigestion (including gas and bloating, as well as colic).

Additionally, lemon balm may relieve a variety of less serious conditions that affect the gastrointestinal tract. From Phytochemical investigations, the researchers confirmed that this plant has triterpenoids, phenolic acids, flavonoids, and volatile compounds. These properties are known to exhibit sedative and soothing effects on the body.

Benefits of Lemon Balm Tea for the Skin:

The benefits of lemon balm for the skin are numerous apart from other benefits to the body. It is important to discuss these benefits and to know the validity of applying lemon balm extract on the skin. When you know and apply this plant, it makes your skin remain glowing and prevents unexpected aging.

Decrease Ultraviolet Radiation on the Skin

One of the numerous benefits of lemon balm tea is the removal of ultraviolet radiation’s harmful effects on the body. UVB radiation’s effects (3) are described as invisible rays that emanate from the sun, cause sunburn, and darken and thicken the outer layer of one’s skin.

However, different studies have shown that lemon balm tea contains high levels of antioxidant properties like caffeic and rosmarinic acids. These acids can hinder UVB-induced oxidative and the damage is done to the human DNA in a skin cell model.

In other words, as part of lemon balm tea’s effect, it creates melanogenesis (4), a photoprotective component against UVB-induced skin damage ( 5).

In addition, it runs through the top layers of the skin and goes into the deeper cutaneous layers to continuously prevent the harmful effects of UV-B.

Suppress Glycation-associated Reactions

Most people did not know skin glycation (6) begins when sugar molecules of the body connect to the collagen proteins in the skin, and this condition results in arterial stiffness and inflexibility of one’s skin.

In the long run, this situation proceeds to the release of Advanced Glycation End-products (AGEs), which contribute to skin aging and tough skin one’s body.

However, a study has found that lemon balm tea can serve as an organic antiglycation (7) remedy to get rid of glycation-associated tissue damage in the blood vessels and skin of healthy adults. According to the research, it is validated through a series of tests that were carried out on the selected patients.

Cold Sore Treatment

As part of the benefits of lemon balm tea, different studies also show that it can cure and prevent cold sores from happening and spreading. Code sores are regarded as viral infections and painful fluid-filled blisters around the lips or mouth.

To find an organic remedy to this infection caused by herpes simplex virus (HSV), one of the research studies carried out in 1999 revealed that if lemon balm tea extract is applied to the affected area of cold sores for five days, four times per day, the symptoms will reduce and there will be a quick recovery.

This research also implied that lemon balm cream might prevent cold sore outbreaks on the skin if applied properly (8).

Antihistamine Effects

In addition to the benefits of lemon balm to the skin, it is no doubt that it has an antihistamine solution. A recent study validates that the properties of lemon balm tea have high levels of antihistamine effects on the body.

This remedy soothes and renders symptoms of itching, hay fever, pains, boils, hives, conjunctivitis, and reactions to insect bites or bee stings useless. For proper application, you should place the extracted lemon balm on the affected area of the body.

Relieving symptoms of atopic dermatitis

Lemon Balm RA properties with active antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and immunomodulatory (9) effects alleviate the occurrence of atopic dermatitis. This feat was validated in a study conducted by Lee et al. (2008). Patients with dermatitis that were examined, rubbed RA emulsion daily on their bodies and experienced the disappearance of erythema and skin water loss within 6 – 8 weeks.

In addition, the anti-inflammatory properties are

discovered in lemon balm tea, this plant may help curtail inflammation in the body. Most often, these inflammation-related issues result in skin disorders such as eczema and acne. Also, lemon balm tea helps the skin glow, complexion and improves skin health if it is applied moderately.

Bacteria, Fungi and Virus Treatment

From reliable research, it is confirmed that lemon balm has a high deposit of natural antimicrobial properties like citronellal and geranial (10). These properties work against various bacteria and fungi in the body. They are also beneficial in treating skin infections, preventing the growth of harmful microorganisms, and promoting overall skin health if properly used on the body.

Finally, numerous researches also confirmed that lemon balm tea can stop and impede the spread of viruses such as Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV), Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), and Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) through various mechanisms.

Reduce Skin Issues Caused by Stress

As part of its advantages, lemon balm tea has the effect of calming and relieving stress in the body. It can also hinder the negative impact of regular chronic stress on the skin. This stress inflates the inflammatory activities on the skin which result in old age unexpectedly. But with lemon balm, this chronic stress can be reduced and give vitality to the body by ensuring the proper circulation of blood.

Facial cleanser

One of the benefits I enjoy about the application of lemon balm to the skin is its ability to cleanse my face from pimples, and acne and remove blackheads. Yes, if used moderately and consistently, it clears pores, blackheads, and whiteheads from the face because it is an alternative antiseptic solution.

Insect repellent

One of the advantages of lemon balm tea is that you can use it as an alternative to a bug repellent. Mosquitoes and other bugs find it difficult to attack your skin at night or in an open place when you apply this balm. The procedure is very simple; all you need to do is to blend some lemon balm leaves and apply them to your skin. Ensure it does not affect your eyes.

Heal Bruises and Reduce Swelling

Lemon balm also contains tannins which is a type of polyphenol that can help heal bruises and reduce swelling on your body. Researchers reveal that tannins have astringent properties that help inhibit blood vessels and also ameliorate inflammation.

Finally, lemon balm is traditionally useful to ease the pain associated with arthritis. The anti-inflammatory properties of lemon balm help a lot in that it reduces inflammation and pain in the joint.

The Side Effects of Lemon Balm

Is there any medicinal solution that doesn’t have side effects? There is none. So also lemon balm tea. There are a lot of indications that reveal the negative impact of lemon balm if it is overused or not moderately used. Some of these side effects are discussed below:


Lemon balm has sedative properties and these can cause drowsiness if not moderately used on the skin. A large amount of this plant on your skin can take the whole day from you, sleeping and getting inactive. So it is advisable to follow your health provider’s prescriptions. Also, avoid engaging in heavy machinery that can weigh you down if you have rubbed this balm on your body. It is too risky.

Reactions to Allergies

If you are allergic to some things, you should take caution when applying lemon balm to your body. If the lemon balm is not properly or moderately applied, it can cause body itching, irritation, inability to breathe properly, choking, and lots more. We suggest you consult your healthcare provider to know if it is okay for you to apply lemon balm on your skin. Don’t assume it will be effective as it is on others; it may result in another thing.

Interactions with medications

One of the noticeable side effects of lemon balm is its interaction with medications negatively, especially, sedative and thyroid drugs. If you are on prescription medication for thyroid or sedatives, you should seek your doctor’s cleared before you apply lemon balm. This will save you unexpected and unusual drowsiness and breathing difficulty.

Skin Irritation

When lemon balm is overused on the body, it can trigger skin irritation. Skin irritation occurs when your skin has contact with something uncomfortable for your body. Your skin becomes red, itchy, hot, inflamed, bumpy, and painful. The right step to take if you find yourself in this situation is to stop using the lemon balm and meet your healthcare provider immediately. Not doing so may lead to or worsen the situation.


As part of the precautions to be taken, don’t overuse lemon balm if you have an allergy to the sun. This may allow your skin to be hypersensitive to sunlight and get burns. This health issue is called photosensitivity. The usual reaction In your skin occurs when UV radiation has access to your skin which may lead to discoloration or sunburn. You should avoid overusing lemon balm on your skin if you have once experienced discomfort staying in the sun or tanning bed.

Final Note

Lemon balm tea has a lot of health benefits for the skin apart from being used for mood and cognitive development. This usefulness is validated through some research studies that revealed the active properties in the plant like rosmarinic acid, triterpenoids, phenolic acids, flavonoids, and volatile compounds. All of these work as antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and skin-soothing properties. However, to avoid experiencing the side effects of lemon balm tea on the skin, it is advisable to apply this highly effective medicinal plant moderately after the order of your doctor’s prescription.


1. Medically reviewed by Jillian Kubala, MS, RD, Nutrition — By Christine Richardson — Updated on February 15, 2023 5011

2. Antiviral Potential of Melissa officinalis L.: A Literature Review Amirhossein Behzadi* Sadegh imani, et al.


3. National Cancer Institute

5011 .

4. Lemon balm extract (Melissa officinalis, L.) promotes melanogenesis and prevents UVB-induced oxidative stress and DNA damage in a skin cell model, Almudena Pérez-Sánchez, Enrique Barrajón-Catalán, et al


5. Lemon balm extract (Melissa officinalis, L.) promotes melanogenesis and prevents UVB-induced oxidative stress and DNA damage in a skin cell model Almudena Pérez-Sánchez et al


6. Lemon Balm Extract was Reported to be Safe in Providing Beneficial Effects for Glycation-associated Tissue Damage, Arterial Stiffness, and Skin Elasticity. Mariann Garner-Wizard, et al


7. Beneficial Effects of Lemon Balm Leaf Extract on In Vitro Glycation of Proteins, Arterial Stiffness, and Skin Elasticity in Healthy Adults, Shintaro Yui et al.


8. 10 Benefits of Lemon Balm and How to Use It

Medically reviewed by Debra Rose Wilson


9. Assessment of Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis L.) Hydrogels: Quality and Bioactivity in Skin Cells

Kristina Ramanauskienė,


10. Melissa officinalis L. – A review of its traditional uses, phytochemistry, and pharmacology, Abolfazl Shakeri et al


Nancy H, PharmD
I am Nancy a licensed pharmacist with extensive knowledge in the healthcare industry. I enjoy writing on a variety of topics including; disease management, dietary supplements, nutrition, fitness, functional medicine, and lifestyle changes for optimal health. Below is my Linkedin profile
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