You might be familiar with lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) in culinary applications or as a tea infusion, but the use of this herb for smoking is a fairly recent development. However, it’s quickly gaining traction as an alternative to tobacco or marijuana.
In a herbal blend, lemon balm can add a sweet citrus flavor that pairs well with other mood-enhancing herbs. Its mild, soothing effect may be beneficial for anxiety or insomnia and it also helps to calm the nervous system. In addition to its mood-enhancing properties, lemon balm is said to be antiviral and may be helpful in easing the symptoms of colds and flu.
Its antispasmodic properties make it an ideal ingredient for a smoking blend to relieve stress and muscle tension. A study done in rats found that a specific compound in lemon balm may help to relax smooth muscles, which is an important consideration for people who suffer from conditions such as fibromyalgia or chronic pelvic pain syndrome.
This herb’s antidepressant properties are believed to be derived from its natural serotonin reuptake inhibitors. This can be beneficial for easing stress and promoting sleep, which is why it’s often added to herbal blends designed to aid in the management of insomnia or anxiety.
Like many other herbal ingredients, lemon balm can be smoked alone or in combination with other mood-enhancing herbs such as chamomile and valerian. It is also used with other ingredients that are known for easing pain, such as mullein and skullcap, or to provide relaxation, such as rhodiola rosea and linden flower.