Last update Oct. 17, 2022

Lemon Balm

Very Low Risk

Safe. Compatible. Minimal risk for breastfeeding and infant.

Leaves of plant are used. It contains essential oils (Citronella, Geraniol), flavonoids and tannins. Properties traditionally attributed but unproven are: antispasmodic, sedative, carminative and antiviral effects. It is used for relief of anxiety, insomnia, flatulence, abdominal spasms and topically to treat Herpes simplex. (, Ghazizadeh 2021, Shakeri 2016, Astani 2014, EMA 2013, Vargas 2012, Hassanzadeh 2011, WHO 2010 y 2004)

At latest update, relevant information on excretion into breast milk was not found.

Herb which is widely used by many cultures even in pregnancy (Kennedy 2013) and to treat infant's colicky pain (Savino 2005). Since it is non toxic at appropriate dose, a moderate and occasional consumption is believed to be compatible while breastfeeding.

Despite some publications (Saejueng 2022, Wesolowska 2021, Foong 2020, Özalkaya 2018), no good evidence on effectiveness as galactogogue of any plant has been documented (McBride 2021, ABM 2018, Mortel 2013, Zapantis 2012),  with the possible exception of fenugreek, torbagun and dates. The best galactagogue is frequent and at demand breastfeeding with correct technique in a self-confident mother. (ABM 2018 & 2011, Mannion 2012, Forinash 2012, O'Leary 1982)

Topical use is compatible while breastfeeding. Do not use on the breast, otherwise, do it after feeding the baby and cleanse thoroughly the surface before the next one.

Precautions when taking plant preparations (Anderson 2017, Powers 2015, Posadzki 2013, Efferth 2011, Kopec 1999, Hsu 1995):

  • Make sure they are from a reliable source: poisonings have occurred due to confusion of one plant with another with toxic properties (Hsu 1995), poisonings due to containing heavy metals extracted from the soil, and food poisoning due to contamination with bacteria or fungi. (Anderson 2017)
  • Do not take in excess; follow the recommendations of expert phytotherapy professionals. “Natural” products are not good in any quantity: plants contain active substances from which much of our traditional pharmacopoeia has been obtained and can cause poisoning or act as endocrine disruptors if consumed in quantity or for an exaggerated time because they contain phytoestrogens. (Powers 2015, Zava 1998)

Suggestions made at e-lactancia are done by APILAM team of health professionals, and are based on updated scientific publications. It is not intended to replace the relationship you have with your doctor but to compound it. The pharmaceutical industry contraindicates breastfeeding, mistakenly and without scientific reasons, in most of the drug data sheets.

Jose Maria Paricio, Founder & President of APILAM/e-Lactancia

Your contribution is essential for this service to continue to exist. We need the generosity of people like you who believe in the benefits of breastfeeding.

Thank you for helping to protect and promote breastfeeding.

José María Paricio, founder of e-lactancia.


Main tradenames from several countries containing Lemon Balm in its composition:


  1. Vanaclocha B, Cañigueral S. 1992 - - Disponible en: Consulted on June 9, 2022 Abstract
  2. Saejueng K, Nopsopon T, Wuttikonsammakit P, Khumbun W, Pongpirul K. Efficacy of Wang Nam Yen herbal tea on human milk production: A randomized controlled trial. PLoS One. 2022 Jan 31;17(1):e0247637. Abstract Full text (link to original source)
  3. Wesolowska A, Pietrzak B, Kociszewska-Najman B, Wielgos M, Czajkowski K, Wietrak E, Karzel K, Borszewska-Kornacka MK. Barley malt-based composition as a galactagogue - a randomized, controlled trial in preterm mothers. Ginekol Pol. 2021;92(2):118-125. Abstract
  4. Ghazizadeh J, Sadigh-Eteghad S, Marx W, Fakhari A, Hamedeyazdan S, Torbati M, Taheri-Tarighi S, Araj-Khodaei M, Mirghafourvand M. The effects of lemon balm (Melissa officinalis L.) on depression and anxiety in clinical trials: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Phytother Res. 2021 Dec;35(12):6690-6705. Abstract
  5. McBride GM, Stevenson R, Zizzo G, Rumbold AR, Amir LH, Keir AK, Grzeskowiak LE. Use and experiences of galactagogues while breastfeeding among Australian women. PLoS One. 2021 Jul 1;16(7):e0254049. Abstract Full text (link to original source)
  6. Foong SC, Tan ML, Foong WC, Marasco LA, Ho JJ, Ong JH. Oral galactagogues (natural therapies or drugs) for increasing breast milk production in mothers of non-hospitalised term infants. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2020 May 18;5:CD011505. Abstract Full text (link to original source)
  7. Özalkaya E, Aslandoğdu Z, Özkoral A, Topcuoğlu S, Karatekin G. Effect of a galactagogue herbal tea on breast milk production and prolactin secretion by mothers of preterm babies. Niger J Clin Pract. 2018 Jan;21(1):38-42. Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  8. ABM: Brodribb W. ABM Clinical Protocol #9: Use of Galactogogues in Initiating or Augmenting Maternal Milk Production, Second Revision 2018. Breastfeed Med. 2018 Jun;13(5):307-314 Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  9. Anderson PO. Herbal Use During Breastfeeding. Breastfeed Med. 2017 Abstract
  10. Shakeri A, Sahebkar A, Javadi B. Melissa officinalis L. - A review of its traditional uses, phytochemistry and pharmacology. J Ethnopharmacol. 2016 Jul 21;188:204-28. Abstract
  11. Powers CN, Setzer WN. A molecular docking study of phytochemical estrogen mimics from dietary herbal supplements. In Silico Pharmacol. 2015 Mar 22;3:4. Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  12. Astani A, Heidary Navid M, Schnitzler P. Attachment and Penetration of Acyclovir-resistant Herpes Simplex Virus are Inhibited by Melissa officinalis Extract. Phytother Res. 2014 Abstract
  13. Posadzki P, Watson LK, Ernst E. Adverse effects of herbal medicines: an overview of systematic reviews. Clin Med (Lond). 2013 Abstract Full text (link to original source)
  14. Committee on Herbal Medicinal Products. Community herbal monograph on Melissa officinalis L., folium. EMA 2013 Full text (in our servers)
  15. Posadzki P, Watson L, Ernst E. Contamination and adulteration of herbal medicinal products (HMPs): an overview of systematic reviews. Eur J Clin Pharmacol. 2013 Abstract
  16. Mortel M, Mehta SD. Systematic review of the efficacy of herbal galactogogues. J Hum Lact. 2013 May;29(2):154-62. Abstract
  17. Kennedy DA, Lupattelli A, Koren G, Nordeng H. Herbal medicine use in pregnancy: results of a multinational study. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2013 Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  18. Vargas Corrales, Verónica. Elaboración de té aromático a base de plantas cedrón (aloysia citrodora) y toronjil (mellisa officinalis) procesado con stevia (stevia rebaudiana bertoni) endulzante natural, utilizando el método de deshidratación. Tesis doctoral. Universidad Técnica de Cotopaxi. 2012 Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  19. Zapantis A, Steinberg JG, Schilit L. Use of herbals as galactagogues. J Pharm Pract. 2012 Abstract
  20. Mannion C, Mansell D. Breastfeeding self-efficacy and the use of prescription medication: a pilot study. Obstet Gynecol Int. 2012;2012:562704. Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  21. Forinash AB, Yancey AM, Barnes KN, Myles TD. The use of galactogogues in the breastfeeding mother. Ann Pharmacother. 2012 Oct;46(10):1392-404. Abstract
  22. Efferth T, Kaina B. Toxicities by herbal medicines with emphasis to traditional Chinese medicine. Curr Drug Metab. 2011 Abstract
  23. Hassanzadeh G, Pasbakhsh P, Akbari M, Shokri S, Ghahremani M, Amin G, Kashani I, Azami Tameh A. Neuroprotective properties of melissa officinalis L. Extract against ecstasy-induced neurotoxicity. Cell J. 2011 Abstract
  24. WHO. World Health Organization. WHO monographs on medicinal plants commonly used in the Newly Independent States (NIS). WHO monographs. 2010 Full text (in our servers)
  25. [No authors listed] Management of insomnia: a place for traditional herbal remedies. Prescrire Int. 2005 Abstract
  26. Savino F, Cresi F, Castagno E, Silvestro L, Oggero R. A randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial of a standardized extract of Matricariae recutita, Foeniculum vulgare and Melissa officinalis (ColiMil) in the treatment of breastfed colicky infants. Phytother Res. 2005 Abstract
  27. WHO. World Health Organization. Geneva. WHO monographs on selected medicinal plants. Volume 2. WHO monographs. 2004 Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  28. Kopec K. Herbal medications and breastfeeding. J Hum Lact. 1999 Jun;15(2):157-61. Review. No abstract available. Abstract
  29. Zava DT, Dollbaum CM, Blen M. Estrogen and progestin bioactivity of foods, herbs, and spices. Proc Soc Exp Biol Med. 1998 Abstract
  30. Hsu CK, Leo P, Shastry D, Meggs W, Weisman R, Hoffman RS. Anticholinergic poisoning associated with herbal tea. Arch Intern Med. 1995 Abstract
  31. O'Leary RM. Sulpiride improves inadequate lactation. Br Med J (Clin Res Ed). 1982 Sep 18;285(6344):807. No abstract available. Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)

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