lemon balm toxicity

Melissa officinalis toxicity

Can melissa be toxic?

Herb lemon balm (Melissa officinalis), in appropriate medical uses, presents no toxicity, although you have to take into account a number of side effects and contraindications.

However, lemon balm essential oil is extremely toxic. Therefore, it is required to use it is well diluted.

Even diluted, it should not be taken in certain situations.

Why lemon balm essential oil is toxic?

A drawing of the plant

Melissa essential oil, which is extracted from the plant, is toxic because it presents a number of components with toxic properties. Among them, the most important are:

  • Citral
  • Protocatechuic acid: Toxic to the kidneys and liver
  • Benzaldehyde: narcotic
  • Methyl eugenol: narcotic
  • Eugenol: nerve, central nervous system depressant
  • Linalool: central nervous system depressant
  • Geraniol: emetic (vomit)
  • Myrcene: irritant
  • Citronellal: irritant
  • Citronellol: irritant
  • Eugenol: irritant
  • Thymol: irritant

What are the symptoms of intoxication with essential oil of lemon balm?

Lemon balm essential oil is very toxic undiluted.

In large doses, it produces narcosis and it is considered a narcotic.

Doses above 2 g per day have produced hypotension, slow heartbeat and difficulty breathing.

Among the main symptoms which balm essential oil poisoning can cause, we include the following:

  • Tremors
  • Seizures
  • Drowsiness
  • Hallucinations
  • Muscle weakness
  • Respiratory problems
  • Seizures

punto rojoMore information on lemon balm.

This article was endorsed by Montserrat Enrich - Journalist specializing in edible wild plants and plant uses.
Written by Editorial Botanical-online team in charge of content writing

21 November, 2023

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