Pregnancy is a special time in a woman's life—it can be beautiful and picturesque, or nine months of unease and morning sickness—but there is no denying that it is, indeed, special. Numerous types of pharmaceutical medications aren’t recommended for pregnant women, so many expecting mothers seek safe, natural options to support both their own and their little one’s health.
One of the most popular herbs used by expecting mothers is lemon balm (Melissa officinalis), a fragrant, sweet-smelling plant in the mint family. Pregnant women across the globe have turned to lemon balm for generations—dating as far back as the medieval era—using the herb to help ease the aches and pains while waiting for their little ones to arrive.
Lemon balm can be enjoyed in many different forms—including capsules, tinctures, and powders—but the most popular way is to enjoy a delicious, sweet smelling cup of lemon balm tea.
Here are the ways modern women can benefit by using lemon balm during pregnancy.
Relieves Stress and Anxiety
Though pregnancy is an exciting, life changing time, it also comes with its fair share of stress and anxiety. Not only are high levels of stress bad for your health, they can negatively affect your growing baby, too. Lemon balm is known for its calming effects on the nervous system, helping to reduce feelings of anxiety and panic, soothing you in the process. Many pregnant women find comfort in sipping a warm cup of lemon balm tea or adding a few drops of lemon balm essential oil to their bathwater—sounds like a perfect, relaxing spa night!
1. Helps You Get a Good Night’s Rest
Hormonal changes and physical discomfort (you can say that again!) can make it challenging for expecting mothers to get a good night's sleep. Many pregnant women may even develop mild to severe insomnia while expecting, and lack of sleep can be dangerous for both your mind and body. Lemon balm's gentle sedative properties may aid in improving both your sleep quality and duration. Enjoying a cup of lemon balm tea before bedtime or using a pillow spray infused with lemon balm essential oil may promote a more restful sleep.
2. Soothes Your Digestive System
Morning sickness, indigestion, and bloating are all common—and often recurring—issues during pregnancy. Lemon balm has traditionally been used to relieve gastrointestinal discomfort and support healthy digestion, making it a fantastic herb for pregnant women. Drinking lemon balm tea or incorporating fresh lemon balm leaves into meals can help ease these symptoms.
3. Alleviates Nausea
With a tiny human stomping around near your stomach, it’s not uncommon for you to feel nauseous during pregnancy. Fortunately, the gentle aroma and soothing properties of lemon balm make it a popular choice for relieving the nausea associated with morning sickness—or the intense, heightened sense of smell. Inhaling lemon balm essential oil or sipping on lemon balm tea may provide relief for expectant mothers experiencing these discomforts.
4. Antioxidant and Anti-inflammatory Properties
Lemon balm contains both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, both of which can help support your overall health and well-being during pregnancy. These properties help reduce oxidative stress and inflammation, which can cause pain and uncomfort during this delicate time.
5. Soothing Skin Care
Your body goes through a number of head-scratching changes while you’re pregnant. The majority of us develop tiger stripe-like stretch marks, some pregnant women experience uncomfortable skin concerns like itchiness, rashes, or inflammation. Lemon balm's gentle nature makes it suitable for topical use. Lemon balm can be infused into vitamin E-enriched infused oils and creams, which will hydrate and soothe your skin.
6. Supports Your Immune System
As mentioned, pregnancy does all sorts of strange things to your body. Since many of your nutrients are going towards your little one, your immune system can become weaker while pregnant, making you more susceptible to sickness and infections. Lemon balm has antiviral and immune-boosting properties, which can help support your immune system to keep you and your baby healthy.
Love Your Body Like You Love Your Little Ones
Whether your pregnancy is the glowing kind or the tough kind, know that it will all be worth it when your bun in the oven is ready to come out! Until then, lemon balm is a fantastic herb to use during your pregnancy, as it can help support both you and your baby’s health. Better yet, lemon balm is one of the most enjoyable and relaxing herbs to consume.