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Scientific Name:
Melissa officinalis
Family Name:
Common Name:
lemon balm
Evidence of Activity
Animal Studies
A Melissa officinalis (lemon balm) ethanolic extract administered for 7 days to myocardial ischemia/reperfusion injury rats dose-dependently improved cardiodynamic parameters, preserved cardiac architecture, decreased fibrosis, and markedly decreased prooxidants. Draginic 2022
Oral administration for 84 days of a 1:1 combination of lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) and corn silk (Zea mays fruit) extracts dose-dependently significantly inhibited high fat diet-induced weight gain, adipocyte hypertrophy, and lipogenic gene induction, as well as inhibited increases in glycated hemoglobin, glucose, and insulin in mice, comparable to metformin, without affecting food consumption. Cho 2022
Melissa officinalis (lemon balm) administered for 3 weeks to rats with autoimmune myocarditis dose-dependently significantly improved echocardiographic parameters; reduced inflammatory infiltrate and collagen content in heart tissues; decreased pro-oxidant production; and improved antioxidant defense systems, cardiac function, and myocardial architecture. Draginic 2022
Administration of Melissa officinalis (lemon balm) essential oil provided protection against epileptic-induced seizures and mortality, as well as ameliorated seizure severity, fear-avoidance, depressive-like behavior, cognitive deficits, oxidative stress, and neuronal cell loss in mice, effects associated with the voltage-gated sodium channel blockade. Chindo 2021
Melissa officinalis (lemon balm) extract prevented neuronal loss, oxidative stress, and inflammation, decreased lipid peroxidation, Cox-2, PGE2, and BDNF, downregulated glial fibrillary acidic protein, enhanced GSH and antioxidant enzymes, upregulated Nrf2 and HO-1 mRNA abundance, and increased the nuclear translocation of Nrf2 in the hippocampus of epileptic rats. Abd 2021
Two week administration of Melissa officinalis (lemon balm) extract, with rutin and rosmarinic acid as the main flavonoid and phenolic, significantly improved performance tasks associated with learning and memory and reversed decreases in hippocampal brain-derived neurotrophic factor and nitric oxide synthase gene expression in rats with streptozotocin-induced diabetes. Naseri 2021
An aqueous extract of Melissa officinalis (lemon balm) enhanced skin hydration, while reducing erythema and transepidermal water loss following topical administration in mice, as well as showed selective toxicity towards human melanoma cells, but not normal keratinocytes, in vitro. Sipos 2021
Lemon balm and its major constituent rosmarinic acid ameliorated liver fibrosis and damage in an animal model of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis. Kim 2020
Melissa officinalis extract ALS-L1023 reduced weight gain, hyperglycemia, restored ß-cell mass markedly impaired by a high-fat diet, and attenuated pancreatic inflammation, boosting the expression of fatty acid-oxidizing enzymes, in a rat model of type 2 diabetes. Shin 2020
Dietary intake of a Melissa officinalis extract suppressed amyloid beta aggregation and amyloid A deposition in the organs of mice. Lin 2020
Lemon balm extract ALS-L1023 ameliorated obesity and improved insulin sensitivity via activation of hepatic PPARa in high-fat diet-fed obese C57BL/6J mouse model. Lee 2020
A 2:1 mixture of lemon balm and dandelion leaf extracts synergistically alleviated ethanol-induced liver injury by inhibiting hepatic lipid accumulation and enhancing antioxidant and anti-inflammatory defenses, in vivo. Choi 2020
Isopulegol, a monoterpene found in lemon balm inhibited both acute and chronic inflammation, as shown by decreased albumin extravasation, leukocyte migration and inflammatory cytokine exudate levels, in carrageenan/dextran- and foreign body-induced animal models. Ramos 2020
A study revealed differences in the chemical profiles of extracts (MOE70, MOM80, and MOE96) of Melissa officinalis leaves obtained with different alcohol levels, which prevented breast cancer progression in vitro and in vivo. Ghiulai 2020
An extract (ALS-L1023) of Melissa officinalis decreased weight gain, reversed insulin resistance, and normalized glycemia in high-fat diet-fed obese female mice. Lee 2020
A hydro-alcoholic extract of Melissa officinalis (75-150 mg/kg, for 14 days) ameliorated anxiety- and depressive-like behaviors, also lowering oxidative stress and serum corticosterone levels, in a mouse model of stress-induced depression. Ghazizadeh 2020
Melissa officinalis essential oil inhibited methicillin-susceptible Staphylococcus pseudintermedius isolated, associated pyoderma in dogs, with a minimum inhibitory concentration value of 1:2048 (v/v). Nocera 2020
Treatment with a Melissa officinalis extract for two weeks reportedly modified gut microbiota and the caecum metabolome in obese mice. Brochot 2019
A study demonstrated that a hydroethanolic extract of Melissa officinalis leaf modifies the intestinal motility in the jejunum and ileum, but not antrum and colon, in rats. Aubert 2019
Nerol, found in lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) essential oil, showed antiarrhythmic effects and decreased the contractility of cardiomyocytes in isolated guinea pig hearts and in vitro. de Menezes-Filho 2019
Melissa officinalis essential oil, nanoencapsulated in chitosan, induced 100% mortality of Tribolium castaneum, one of the two most common insect pests of plant products throughout the world, on contact and as a fumigant. Upadhyay 2019
A preparation of Boswellia serrata resins, Aloe vera polysaccharides and Matricaria chamomilla and Melissa officinalis polyphenols (orally once daily for two weeks) decreased abdominal pain and promoted healing of the lesions better than dexamethasone, in a rat model of colitis. Parisio 2019
Intrathecal administration of Melissa officinalis (5-20 mg/kg) alleviated acute and chronic formalin-induced pain and blocked heat-induced pain, with no adverse effect on the motor function, in rats. Rastgarian 2019
A decoction of Melissa officinalis ssp. altissima ameliorated psoriases, enhancing the skin barrier function and reestablishing skin physiology, in a mouse model. Dimitris 2019
Rosmarinic acid, a major constituent of interest in lemon balm, administered orally at 10-50 mg/kg, decreased fructosamine concentrations and the homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR), and increased reduced glutathione levels, in rat model of estrogen deficiency. Zych 2019
Melissa officinalis ameliorated visceral hypersensitivity and abnormal defecation pattern in a rat model of irritable bowel syndrome. Dolatabadi 2018
Melissa officinalis extract, administered for 10 weeks, improved sperm parameters and chromatin structure in a rat model of varicocele. Rezakhaniha 2018
Extracts of Melissa officinalis, Hypericum perforatum, Valeriana officinalis, Crataegus monogyna, and Serratula coronata, individually or in combinations, were evaluated for their antidepressant activities, in rats. Kandilarov 2018
A lemon balm extract (ALS-L1023; for 15 weeks) ameliorated increases in visceral adipose tissue mass, angiogenesis, inflammation, body weight, hepatic and serum lipids, and liver injury markers, in high-fat diet-fed ovariectomized mice. Kim 2017
A lemon-balm extract, ALS-L1023, reduced body weight gain (without affecting calorie intake), suppressed hepatic inflammation and steatosis, reducing serum ALT and AST levels, and improved lipid metabolism in high-fat diet-fed mice. Kim 2017
Intra-peritoneal injection of Melissa officinalis extract (150mg/kg, once daily for 2 weeks) in conjunction with intra-muscular dexamethasone (1mg/kg, once daily for 7 days) improved motor and sensory functions, compared with no treatment, in rats with spinal cord injury. Hosseini 2017
A standardized extract of Melissa officinalis (250-750 mg/kg p.o., for 10 days) ameliorated cardiotoxicity of doxorubicin in rats, while augmenting the anticancer effects of the drug against human breast cancer cells in vitro. Hamza 2016
Pretreatment with a combination of Boswellia serrata and Melissa officinalis extracts (200-400 mg/kg for 4 weeks, and, i.p., prior to scopolamine injection) reversed memory impairments induced by scopolamine injection in rats. Mahboubi 2016
Intraspinal grafting of human umbilical cord blood stem cell in conjunction with Melissa officinalis (150 mg/kg, i.p., daily for 14 days) improved motor and sensory function and reduced loss of motor neurons in rats with spinal cord injury. Hosseini 2016
Pretreatment with a methanolic extract of Melissa officinalis (150-300 mg/kg, single dose) decreased ulcer index in rats subjected to water immersion stress or indomethacine treatment to induce gastric ulcer. Saberi 2016
A 50%-ethanolic extract of Melissa officinalis leaves (200 mg/kg p.o., for 28 days), but not rosmarinic acid (10 mg/kg p.o.), improved long-term memory, in scopolamine-treated rats. Ozarowski 2016
ALS-L1023, an extract of Melissa officinalis, inhibited angiogenesis and adipogenesis in vitro, and decreased adipose tissue mass, adipocyte size, and mRNA levels of adipose tissue angiogenic factors and MMPs, in high-fat diet-fed, obese mice. Woo 2016
A hydroalcoholic extract of Melissa officinalis, administered orally prior to pentobarbital injection, decreased sleep onset and prolonged sleep duration, in mice. Combinations of M. officinalis and Lavandula angustifolia extracts showed additive effects. Hajhashemi 2015
ALS-L1023, an extract of Melissa officinalis leaves, prepared by a two-step organic solvent fractionation, inhibited VEGF- and bFGF-induced endothelial cell proliferation and suppressed MMP activity, in vitro, and reduced body weight gain, adipose tissue mass, and adipocyte size, in obese mice. Park 2015
An aqueous extract of Melissa officinalis had a protective effect against an experimental cardiac injury, reducing the heart rate, blood pressure, and MDA levels; however, the highest dose in the study may have intensified the injury of ischemic heart, in rats. Joukar 2015
The safety and effects of administration of an aqueous extract of Melissa officinalis for 1 week on the electrocardiogram parameters of rats were assessed. Joukar 2015
An extract of Melissa officinalis inhibited choroidal neovascularization in mice. Roh 2015
A hydroalcoholic extract of Melissa officinalis ameliorated CaCl2-induced arrhythmias in rats. Akhondali 2015
Addition of a lemon balm-containing herbal mixture to feed improved the oxidative stability, lowered cholesterol and TI index, and increased PUFA content in the muscle of pigs. Hanczakowska 2015
Oral administration of Melissa officinalis essential oil completely reversed hyperalgesia in diabetic rats, also restoring euglycemia and reducing the body weight of the animals. Hasanein 2015
An aqueous extract of Melissa officinalis reduced depressive-like behavior in rats via decrease in serotonin turnover rate. Lin 2015
An 80%-ethanolic extract of Melissa officinalis leaves, administered i.p., enhanced learning and memory in naïve rats, and ameliorated learning deficits in scopolamine-treated animals, via inhibition of acetylcholinesterase activity. Soodi 2014
A Melissa officinalis leaf extract suppressed choroidal neovascularization in rats. Lee 2014
Melissa officinalis supplementation improved weight gain and feed conversion ratio in organically produced broilers, inhibiting lipid peroxidation but not affecting the chemical and fatty acid composition of the muscle. Kasapidou 2014
An alcoholic extract of Melissa officinalis decreased the activity of liver enzymes in hypercholesterolemic rats. Zarei 2014
An aqueous extract of Melissa officinalis, administered i.p., showed a mild protective effect against reperfusion-induced lethal ventricular arrhythmias in rats. Joukar 2014
An ethanolic lemon balm leaf extract reduced hyperglycemia, insulin resistance, plasma triacylglycerol, nonesterified fatty acids, and LDL/VLDL cholesterol levels in insulin-resistant obese mice, and activated peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors in human primary adipocytes in vitro. Weidner 2014
Melissa officinalis leaf essential oil was characterized and, administered orally, ameliorated experimentally induced paw edema in rats, showing anti-inflammatory potential. Bounihi 2013
A Melissa officinalis and Passiflora caerulea infusion decreased plasma corticosterone levels in mice under chronic immobility-induced stress. Feliú-Hemmelmann 2013
Melissa officinalis protected cultured neurons against hypoxia in vitro; while its oil ameliorated oxidative stress and pro-inflammatory cytokines increase in the hippocampus of rats subjected to transient hippocampal ischemia. Bayat 2012
Melissa officinalis extracts from Turkey showed cytotoxicity to breast cancer cells in vitro, and tumor volumes in rats. Saraydin 2012
An ethanolic extract of Melissa officinalis, administered for 10 days, showed anxiolytic (similar to diazepam) and antidepressant effects in rats. Gender-specific differences and treatment duration effects were noted. Taiwo 2012
Melissa officinalis essential oil, orally administered, reduced plasma triglycerides in human apolipoprotein E2-transgenic mice, via inhibition of SREBP-1c-dependent fatty acid synthesis. Jun 2012
An aqueous extract of Melissa officinalis ameliorated oxidative stress, induced by chronic exposure to manganese, in the brains of mice. Martins 2012
The effects of supplementation of the diet of broiler chickens with 0.2% of a lemon balm extract combined with 1% clove flower bud powder were studied. Petrovic 2012
An ethanolic, but not aqueous, extract of Melissa officinalis showed antigenotoxic effects in mice. Neither of the extracts themselves exhibited genotoxic or mutagenic effects. de Carvalho 2011
Ob-X, a combination of Melissa officinalis, Morus alba, and Artemisia capillaris, decreased body weight gain (by 27%) and visceral adipose tissue mass (by 15%), inhibited hepatic lipid accumulation, and significantly decreased circulating glucose levels, in genetically obese mice. Yoon 2011
Lemon balm extract increased cell proliferation, neuroblast differentiation, and integration into granule cells by decreasing serum corticosterone levels as well as by increasing GABA levels in mouse hippocampal dentate gyrus. Yoo 2011
Ob-X, an anti-angiogenic herbal composition composed of Melissa officinalis, Morus alba, and Artemisia capillaris, reduced adipose tissue mass in mice with nutritionally induced obesity. Kim 2010
An essential oil of Melissa officinalis (terpin-4-ol, 15.8%; caryophyllene oxide, 13.2%; sabinene, 12.9%; beta-pinene, 12.1%; and trans-caryophyllene, 10.2%) produced medium larvicidal activity, compared with other herbs tested, against the West Nile virus mosquito Culex pipiens. Koliopoulos 2010
A mixture of equal parts of Thymus vulgaris, Melissa officinalis, and Echinacea purpurea, with or without Camellia sinensis (black tea), added to the diet at 3-4%, did not produce anthelminthic effects against Ascaris suum in pigs. van Krimpen 2010
Hepatic glucokinase and GLUT4, and adipocyte GLUT4, PPAR-gamma, PPAR-alpha and SREBP-1c expression, were significantly up-regulated in diabetic mice treated with lemon balm essential oil, and glucose-6-phosphatase and phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase expression was down-regulated. Chung 2010
Cyracos, a Melissa officinalis extract, significantly reduced anxiety-like reactivity in mice in the elevated plus maze dose-dependently, but no significant effect was observed in the open field task. Ibarra 2010
The anxiolytic effects of luteolin, a major component of lemon balm essential oil, were examined in rats. Raines 2009
A hydroalcoholic extract of Melissa officinalis showed no antiamnesic effects in scopolamine-induced mouse model of amnesia. Orhan 2009
Lemon balm extract produced dose-dependent inhibition of acetic acid-induced visceral pain and caused significant inhibition of both early (neurogenic pain) and late (inflammatory pain) phases of formalin-induced licking in mice. Guginski 2009
A mouse study evaluating herbal formulations containing Matricaria recutita, Foeniculum vulgare, and M. officinalis extracts on upper gastrointestinal transit significantly and dose-dependently inhibited gastrointestinal transit both in control and in croton oil-treated mice. [Article in Italian] Savino 2008
A dual radioligand binding and electrophysiological study, on a range of ligand-gated ion channels, performed with a M. officinalis essential oil, inhibited binding of TBPS to the rat forebrain GABA-A receptor channel, but had no effect on NMDA, AMPA or nicotinic acetylcholine receptors. Abuhamdah 2008
Ob-X, a mixture of three herbs, Morus alba, Melissa officinalis and Artemisia capillaris, regulates body weight gain, adipose tissue mass, and lipid metabolism in part through changes in the expression of hepatic PPARalpha target genes in in high-fat diet-induced obese mice. Lee 2008
It is suggested that Melissa officinalis extract exerted an hypolipidemic effect and showed a protective effect on the liver of hyperlipidemic rats. Bolkent 2005
8 mg/Kg of rosmarinic acid present in Melissa officinalis, Salvia officinalis & several other plant families was enough to increase locomotion & motivation of rats, but not in 1, 2 or 4 mg kg(-1), suggesting that in lower doses, this compound can produce anxiolytic-like effect. Pereira 2005
The immunostimulating activity of the Melissa officinalis was analysed in mice and compared with that of a synthetic compound—levamisole. Results confirmed the effect of water extracts from leaves of Melissa on the immune system, in both humoral and cellular response. Drozd 2003
Extracts from Melissa officinalis and 8 other plants singly and combined produced dose dependent anti-ulcerogenic activity in rats. Khayyal 2001
Comparative analysis of effects lyophilised aqueous extracts of Melissa officinalis L and 3 other herbs on the performance of mice found significant sedative effect. Coleta 2001
A lyophilised hydroalcoholic extract of Melissa officinalis L. showed peripheral analgesic activity and sedative properties in tests with mice. Soulimani 1991
History of Record
ORIGINAL RESEARCH BY: Michael C. Tims, PhD. Candidate
March 2002
MAJOR REVISION BY: J Mohanasundaram, MD, PhD
October 2007
November 2022