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Scientific Name:
Melissa officinalis
Family Name:
Lamiaceae
Common Name:
lemon balm
Evidence of Activity
Analytical Chemistry
Comparative studies of Melissa officinalis (lemon balm) ethanolic macerate, aqueous, and ethanolic extracts showed ethanolic macerate and aqueous extracts to exhibit anti-inflammatory properties in a carrageenan paw edema rat model while all three extracts provided antioxidant activity. Draginic 2022
Two phenolic acids, five flavonic aglycones, and six heterosides were revealed in Melissa officinalis (lemon balm) aerial parts using HPLC/DAD analysis, which demonstrated the existence of good antimicrobial and antioxidant activity. Abdellatif 2022
The bacteriostatic-bactericidal activity of Melissa officinalis (lemon balm) essential oil correlated to concentrations, chemotypes, and bacteria strains and was bactericidal against Staphylococcus aureus. Galgano 2022
The concentration level of gaseous phase composition of volatile organic compounds from Melissa officinalis (lemon balm) essential oil varied depending upon diffusion time. Itoh 2022
Melissa officinalis (lemon balm) was included in a study on genoprotective, antigenotoxic, and antitumor potential of methanolic, ethanolic, and aqueous extracts. Methanolic extracts had the best DPPH-scavenging and SOS-inducing activities, while ethanolic extracts exhibited the highest antigenotoxicity. Oalđe 2021
Essential oils from four species of plants with lemony scents, including Melissa officinalis, were extracted and examined. The largest proportion of essential oil in Melissa was caryophyllene (25%). Hirai 2021
Thirty-six compounds were identified in Melissa officinalis essential oil (MOEO) using GC-MS analysis. Molecular docking of MOEO demonstrated antioxidant activity through xanthine oxidoreductase inhibition. Rădulescu 2021
A study reports on the mineral content of Melissa officinalis (lemon balm) plants obtained in Algeria, as well as characterization of the essential oil extracted from the leaves by hydrodistillation and antimicrobial activity of the oil against Candida albicans and human pathogenic bacteria. Abdellatif 2021
A study characterized the composition of the volatile fraction of the essential oil from Melissa officinalis (lemon balm) obtained in Southern Italy via headspace solid-phase microextraction (HS-SPME) coupled with gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). Spadaccino 2021
Hydroethanolic solid-liquid extracts of lemon balm (Melissa officinalis), spearmint, and sage presented the highest phenolic and flavonoid contents, accompanied by high antioxidant and antimicrobial activity against four pathogens (S. enterica ser. Typhimurium, E. coli, L. monocytogenes, and S. aureus). Silva 2021
Phytochemical profiling of essential oils from 8 plant species traditionally used as teas, including Melissa officinalis, revealed a typical Lamiaceae pattern of monoterpenes and sesquiterpenes. Hajdari 2020
Shortbread cookies prepared with 0.1-0.2% of lemon balm extract scored highest for aroma, taste, and overall acceptability, in a study determining the effect of aqueous ethanolic extracts from lemon balm, hyssop, and nettles. Kozlowska 2019
Analysis of traditional herbal liquors suggests that most of the total phenolic compounds in lemon balm are extracted early in the one-month maceration process. Senica 2019
A study found rosmarinic acid to be the main compound in Melissa officinalis infusions. Caleja 2019
A simple, rapid and efficient method, based on injecting an aqueous mixture of a cationic detergent and 5-methyl salicylic acid into the hydroalcoholic plant extract, was developed for the extraction of phenolic compounds and their analysis in Melissa officinalis. Najafi AsliPashaki 2019
Total phenolic content and antioxidant activity of Melissa officinalis, Rosmarinus officinalis, and Salvia officinalis, cultivated in Romania, were assessed. Cocan 2018
Variability in essential oil constituents and levels of rosmarinic acid in 28 accessions of Melissa officinalis subsp. altissima and subsp. officinalis was assessed. Chizzola 2018
Treatment of Melissa officinalis samples with electron-beam and gamma irradiation modified the plant material phenolic content, generally increasing individual phenolic levels, especially those of lithospermic acid A. Pereira 2018
Quality of herbal teas, including lemon balm, was assessed by direct analysis in real time coupled with time of flight detector mass spectrometry (DART/TOF-MS). Prchalová 2017
The differences in plant morphology and composition of essential oils from Melissa officinalis and M. romana, grown in Sardinia, at different phenological periods were studied. The two plants were shown to be distinctly different on both counts. Usai 2016
The antioxidant capacities and total phenolics contents of Melissa officinalis extracts were some of the highest, among 13 plant extracts tested, on par with Origanum spp. and Rosmarinus officinalis. Fernandes 2016
Lemon balm stored as a tea showed high antioxidant capacity, compared with 35 other plants traditionally consumed in Spain as infusions. Jiménez-Zamora 2016
Rosmarinic acid content, as well as that of total phenolics were assessed in Melissa officinalis and five other species of the Lamiaceae family. Benedec 2015
Thirteen compounds were isolated from Melissa officinalis leaves, including ~8 isolated from this plant for the first time. [Article in Chinese] Ji 2015
The yield and composition of the essential oil of Melissa officinalis, growing wild in the "Piana del Sele" (Salerno, Southern Italy), were determined by GC-MS. Naviglio 2015
The levels of flavonoids (rutin, myricetin, quercetin, kaempferol) and phenolic acids (gallic, p-coumaric, rosmarinic, syringic, caffeic, chlorogenic, ellagic, ferulic) in methanolic extracts, infusions, and tinctures of Melissa officinalis were quantified. Arceusz 2015
The average contents of essential oils in dietary supplements, including herbal teas (sold in grocery stores), of lemon balm was found to be about 4-fold lower than in its raw infusion. Kowalski 2015
Commercially available Melissa officinalis teas were analyzed for the presence of pyrrolizidine alkaloids. Schulz 2015
Phenolic compounds in Melissa officinalis extracts were identified by capillary electrophoresis-mass spectrometry. Maringer 2015
The differences in the content and chemical composition of essential oil, hydrodistilled from first- and second-year-growth Melissa officinalis leaves, were explored by GC-MS. Two-year-old plants were shown to have a richer oil composition. Nurzyńska-Wierdak 2014
The highest chlorpyrifos levels, of all vegetables studied, were found in farm samples of lemon balm (2.423 mg/kg), in the survey of organophosphorus residue levels in vegetables cultivated or sold around Kwan Phayao Lake in Northern Thailand. Sapbamrer 2014
Polyphenol content was determined in ethanolic extracts of Lamiaceae herbs available in Romanian pharmacies, including Melissa officinalis. The highest polyphenol levels were obtained with 50% ethanol, and Melissa officinalis showed highest levels of hydroxycinnamic acids (4.15%). Aprotosoaie 2013
A simple and reliable HPLC-UV-vis method for the fingerprint analysis and quantitation of marker compounds in Melissa officinalis was developed. Arceusz 2013
The highest content of rosmarinic acid (81±4 mg/g), compared to 7 other Lamiaceae herbs, was found in lemon balm by diffuse reflectance infrared Fourier transform spectroscopy. Saltas 2013
Phenolic profiles of cultivated, in vitro cultured and commercial samples of Melissa officinalis infusions were determined. Barros 2013
Total phenolic content and antioxidative properties of commercial tinctures of Melissa officinalis were determined. Kowalczyk 2012
The content of mineral and trace elements (Al, B, Ba, Fe, Zn, Mn, Mg, K, Na, P, Cu, Sr, and Ca) in Melissa officinalis herb and its infusions, consumed in Poland, were determined. Pytlakowska 2012
The content of biomolecules and antioxidant potential of garden-cultivated, in vitro cultured, and two commercial samples (bags and granulated) of Melissa officinalis were compared. Dias 2012
The content of rosmarinic acid in Melissa officinalis was compared to that in 28 other species of the Lamiaceae family. Shekarchi 2012
A capillary zone electrophoresis method for the quality control of Melissa officinalis was developed. Acosta 2012
The volatile constituents of the essential oil of wild Melissa officinalis obtained from the Kurdistan province of Iran were determined. Taherpour 2012
The antioxidant activity, total phenolic and total flavonoid content of Melissa officinalis, growing in a region of Romania, were determined. Spiridon 2011
Pesticides (isoproturon, aziprotryne, hexazinone, flufenoxuron, methabenzthiazuron, procymidone, and α-cypermethrin) were measured in Melissa officinalis samples by a 2-D high-performance planar chromatography-diode array detector and HPLC after solid-phase extraction. Tuzimski 2011
M. officinalis and 5 other herbs grown on a family-managed farm in Italy showed a good microbiological and toxicological quality, regardless of preliminary washing or selection procedures. Vitullo 2011
Rosmarinic acid (RA) synthase was characterized in crude enzyme preparations from M. officinalis and showed high affinities for 4-coumaroyl- and cafeoyl-CoA as acyl donor and pHPL and DHPL as acceptor substrates. It is suitable for studies of the regulation of RA biosynthesis. Weitzel 2011
Treatment of M. officinalis with sucrose increased production of flavonoids such as caffeic acid via the biosynthetic pathway of phenylpropanoids; abundance changes in some primary and secondary metabolites were somewhat interlocked with each other in response to sucrose. Kim 2011
UV/Vis spectrophotometric methods and HPLC analysis were used to assess content of total phenols, flavonoids, flavan-3-ols and tannins in lemon balm and 5 other plants; ABTS radical scavenging and FRAP assays were used was used to obtain data on these plants' antioxidant capacities. Komes 2011
EOs obtained from lemon balm and Laurus nobilis with solvent-free microwave extraction contained substantially higher amounts of oxygenated compounds and lower amounts of monoterpenes than oils obtained by conventional methods, along with differences in compositions and contents of the EOs. Uysal 2010
Bioassay-guided fractionation of lemon balm identified and isolated rosmarinic acid and triterpenoids, ursolic acid and oleanolic acid as active principles in in vitro inhibition of rat brain GABA transaminase, an enzyme target in the therapy of anxiety, epilepsy and related neurological disorders. Awad 2009
Lemon balm extract screened for AChE inhibition inhibited the enzyme in a time and dose-dependent manner; the most potent fractions of the extract, identified as cis- and trans-rosmarinic acid isomers and a rosmarinic acid derivative, showed more inhibitory activity than the extract. Dastmalchi 2009
Chemical assays of lemon balm, chamomile, and lemongrass investigated their antioxidant capacity; results indicated that M. officinalis could be considered an effective agent in the prevention of various neurological diseases associated with oxidative stress. Pereira 2009
The levels of organochlorine pesticides were meausured in infusions of Melissa officinalis by a novel method. Budziak 2008
Lemon balm essential oil and 8 other EOs from Turkish plants were obtained by supercritical carbon dioxide (SCCO2) extraction and steam distillation, and were analyzed by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. Topal 2008
Spectrophotometric and HPLC methods of Romanian lemon balm revealed 0.64% flavonoids expressed in rutoside and 8,962% phenyl-propane derivatives expressed in caffeic acid, and 6 polyphenolic compounds: caftaric acid, caffeic acid, p-cumaric acid, ferulic acid, luteolin and apigenin. Hanganu 2008
Antiviral activity of hydroalcoholic extract of lemon balm leaves reduced the cytopathic effect of Herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) on Vero cells in comparison with acyclovir in this assay. Mazzanti 2008
Spectrophotometric analysis tested AChE and BChE inhibitory activities of 19 EOs - including lemon balm - and their isolated constituents, and found that most of the EOs had a very high inhibitory activity (over 80%) against both enzymes, but that the single components were not as active as the EOs. Orhan 2008
Content and distribution of calcium, magnesium, iron and copper in M. officinalis and five other species was determined via AAS method. [Article in Polish] Raczuk 2008
Electron spin resonance spectroscopy demonstrated the high phenolic content and radical scavenging, antibacterial, and antiproliferative activities of extracts of M. officinalis from Serbia. Canadanović-Brunet 2008
A method utilising isotachophoresis and capillary zone electrophoresis in the column coupling configuration for the determination of rosmarinic, p-coumaric, ferulic, caffeic, and chlorogenic acids, and flavonoid quercitrin in a methanolic extract of Melissa herb was developed. Safra 2007
In an HPLC evaluation, rosmarinic acid content in commercial M. officinalis tinctures was significantly higher in tinctures made from dried plant material compared to fresh plant tinctures, having implications for herbal practitioners in the choice of tinctures for treating Herpes simplex infection. Sanchez-Medina 2007
M. officinalis, peppermint (Mentha x piperita), and sage (Salvia officinalis) were evaluated for water-soluble polyphenolic compounds using HPLC and HPTLC and were found to deliver polyphenols in high amounts. Fecka 2007
Six new triterpenes (1- 6) and four known compounds (quadranoside III, salvianic acid A, rosmarinic acid, and luteolin) were isolated from dried stems and leaves of M. officinalis and free radical scavenging and antimicrobial activities of the extracts and of rosmarinic acid were evaluated. Mencherini 2007
Investigations showed composition of flavonoid compounds and phenolic acids in lemon catnip are similar to those in lemon balm. Modnicki 2007
Chemical compositions and antioxidant activities of essential oils obtained by supercritical carbon dioxide extraction and steam distillation, from 9 Turkish plants including Melissa officinalis were studied. Topal 2007
Enantioselective capillary GC on Supelco beta-DEX 225 column & isotope-ratio mass spectrometry, coupled online with capillary GC on HP5 column were used for origin-specific analysis & authenticity control of essential oils, e.g. lemon, lemongrass, citronella, lemon balm oil. Nhu-Trang 2006
7 Bulgarian medicinal plants including Melissa officinalis considered to be a rich source of water-soluble antioxidants and/or phenolic compounds (Trolox equivalent antioxidant capacity 4.06+/-0.31 mM/quercetin equivalents 1370.09+/-41.38 microM) as compared to other foreign plants studied. Ivanova 2005
The analysis of the oil composition of Melissa officinalis is performed by GC and GC/MS. Great differences in the contents of citral, citronellal, linalool, nerol, geraniol beta-caryophyllene and beta-caryophyllene oxide among the populations were found. Patora 2003
Matrix solid-phase dispersion was used for the liquid chromatographic determination of rosmarinic, caffeic and protocatechuic acids, phenolic compounds present in Melissa officinalis. Ziaková 2002
Six flavonoids including luteolin, luteolin 7-O-beta-D-glucopyranoside were isolated from leaves of lemon balm (Melissa officinalis L., Lamiaceae). Their structures were determined on the basis of spectral data (UV, 1R, 1H NMR, 13C NMR and FAB MS). Patora 2002
Luteolin 3'-O-beta-D-glucuronide (1) was isolated from the leaves of Melissa officinalis subsp. officinalis and characterized by spectroscopic analysis. Heitz 2000
Screening of fresh plant material for glycosidic bound volatile compounds applying a modified, simple method using gas chromatography showed that in Melissa officinalis and Mentha spicata relatively large amounts of glycosidic bound eugenol and some aliphatic alcohols were present. Svendsen 1989
[Flavonoids of the leaves of Melissa officinalis L. (Lamiaceae)] [Article in French] Mulkens 1987
Different oil-samples of Melissa officinalis were analysed by capillary GC/MS, using fused silica columns and E.I.-Mass-spectrometry. Comparing the observed mass-spectra with those of a spectral collection, 70 compounds of the oil were identified. [Article in German] Tittel 1982
History of Record
ORIGINAL RESEARCH BY: Michael C. Tims, PhD. Candidate
March 2002
MAJOR REVISION BY: J Mohanasundaram, MD, PhD
October 2007
LATEST UPDATES BY: Julie Dennis
November 2022