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Scientific Name:
Melissa officinalis
Family Name:
Lamiaceae
Common Name:
lemon balm
Evidence for Efficacy (Human Data)
Clinical Trials
A review focused on human studies concluded that Melissa officinalis (lemon balm) exhibits antimicrobial, antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antinociceptive, and neuro- and nephroprotective effects and may be helpful in treating depression, anxiety, palpitation, hypertension, sleeping difficulties, dementia, colic, metabolic problems, bruxism, Alzheimer's, and sexual disorders. Zam 2022
Although there is inadequate proof to strongly support and recommend the administration of herbal medicines for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, based on randomized controlled trials there is indication of the efficacy and safety of Melissa officinalis (lemon balm) L., and other herbs for the treatment of children and adolescents diagnosed with ADHD. Dutta 2022
In a study of adult females (N=21), application of a sodium proton exchanger 1 activator-containing Melissa officinalis (lemon balm) leaf extract cream significantly improved skin barrier functions by reducing skin surface pH and transepidermal water loss and increasing skin hydration. Jung 2022
In a randomized study in patients with oral lichen planus (N=60), recovery rate, pain, and burning mouth sensation significantly improved at 2 and 4 weeks after melissa (lemon balm) gel treatment with pain intensity decreasing more significantly than with triamcinolone 0.1% paste. Taghvaee 2022
In an 8-week, randomized, double-blind, controlled study (N=49), systolic and diastolic blood pressure significantly decreased compared to placebo in hypertensive patients after consuming Melissa officinalis (lemon balm) capsules (400 mg/day, three times/day). Shekarriz 2021
A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of 53 intensive care unit (ICU) patients either received placebo or were treated with quetiapine and Neurogol syrup, (valerian and Melissa officinalis), 5 mL every 12 hours for 5 consecutive days. 27 treated patients experienced significantly reduced agitation with statistical significance (p = 0.000), and reduced length of ICU stay. There was no statistical difference in the improvement of delirium. Alikiaie 2021
Compared with the control group, patients (60 total participants) with premature ventricular contraction taking Melissa officinalis (lemon balm) tea (2-g dried leaves/250 mL in hot water two times/day), plus lifestyle modifications experienced cardioprotective effects including significantly reduced frequency of 24-hour premature ventricular beats, significantly lower concentrations of triglyceride, total cholesterol, and fasting blood sugar. Kheirkhah 2021
In a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial (N=72), inhalation of two drops of Melissa officinalis (lemon balm) essential oil significantly decreased stress scores and heart rate, and remarkably reduced mean arterial pressure at 5 min following each aromatherapy session, in patients admitted to the emergency department with acute coronary syndrome. Veiskaramian 2021
In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial (N=100), Melissa officinalis (lemon balm) syrup significantly decreased pruritus intensity in patients with mild-to-moderate plaque psoriasis. Yargholi 2021
In an eight-week, randomized, double-blind, controlled trial (N=60), a lemon balm (Melissa Officinalis) with fennel fruit extract significantly improved scores on Menopause-Specific Quality of Life questionnaire compared with citalopram and placebo in postmenopausal women with sleep disturbance. Shirazi 2021
In a double-blind, randomized pilot study (N = 45), Melissa officinalis (2 g daily for 2-8 weeks) alleviated mild to moderate depression similarly to fluoxetine (20 mg). Araj-Khodaei 2020
A systematic review and meta-analysis of 7 RCTs found Melissa officinalis intake associated with reductions in total cholesterol and systolic blood pressure, no changes in fasting blood glucose, insulin, HbA1c, hsCRP, diastolic blood pressure, or other blood lipids, or any serious adverse events. Heshmati 2020
In a randomized placebo-controlled double-blind trial (n = 23), Melissa officinalis extract (500 mg of rosmarinic acid daily for 24 weeks) prevented cognitive decline in subjects with mild dementia due to suspected Alzheimer's disease, with no serious adverse events. Noguchi-Shinohara 2020
A homeopathic preparation of Melissa officinalis was more effective than placebo or a homeopathic preparation of Phytolacca decandra in reducing sleep bruxism in children. Tavares-Silva 2019
Melissa officinalis therapy is less effective than hydroxyzine for the treatment of sleep bruxism (teeth grinding) in children, according to a systematic review and meta-analysis. Ierardo 2019
In a single-blind clinical trial, Melissa officinalis (395 mg, in capsules, every 6 hours for 24 hours following childbirth) alleviated postpartum pain three hours after the first dose, and one hour after the subsequent doses, compared to mefenamic acid. Naderi Dastjerdi 2019
In a prospective, open-label study, a combination of melatonin, vitamin B6, and California poppy, passionflower, and lemon balm extracts (Novanuit® Triple Action) improved sleep quality, sleep onset latency, and total sleep duration in patients with insomnia. Lemoine 2019
A Melissa officinalis based product (1000 mg daily for 3 months) decreased the levels of triglycerides in type 2 diabetics, as well as both systolic and diastolic blood pressure (BP) in those patients who had elevated levels of either systolic (≥130 mmHg) or diastolic (≥85 mmHg) BP. Nayebi 2019
Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) essential oil reduced agitation and irritability in nursing home residents with or without dementia. Watson 2019
A herbal treatment with a combination of Melissa officinalis and Nepeta menthoides improved insomnia, as well as associated anxiety and depression, in human participants of a randomized, placebo-controlled trial. Ranjbar 2018
A hydroalcoholic extract of Melissa officinalis (700 mg/d, in capsules twice daily for 12 weeks) improved glycemic control (FBS, HbA1c), β-cell activity, lipid profile (triglycerides, HDL-cholesterol), and markers of inflammation (hs-CRP) in individuals with type 2 diabetes. Asadi 2018
A Cochrane review of clinical trials using dietary modifications for reducing infantile colic cites one study in which an extract of Foeniculum vulgare, Matricariae recutita, and Melissa officinalis was more effective than placebo. Gordon 2018
A hydroalcoholic extract of Melissa officinalis (700 mg/d for 12 weeks) modified serum levels of apolipoprotein A-I and total to HDL- and LDL- to HDL-cholesterol ratios, compared to placebo, as well as reduced ICAM-1, AST, and ALP levels similarly to placebo, in patients with type 2 diabetes. Asadi 2018
Oral powdered Melissa officinalis (3 g/d, for eight weeks) decreased serum levels of lipids (triglycerides, total and LDL-cholesterol), malondialdehyde, and hs-CRP, while increasing those of paraoxonase 1, in subjects with chronic stable angina, compared to placebo. Javid 2018
Melissa officinalis supplement (3 g/day for 8 weeks) significantly reduced scores of depression, anxiety, stress, and total sleep disturbance, in patients with chronic stable angina, compared with placebo. Haybar 2018
An aqueous extract of Melissa officinalis (500 mg twice a day for 4 weeks) increased sexual function index in women with decreased sexual desire, compared to placebo. Darvish-Mofrad-Kashani 2018
A combination of Melissa officinalis dry powder (1000 mg) and freeze-dried aqueous extract of Nepeta menthoides (400 mg) was found effective in relieving insomnia, in a randomized, triple-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial conducted in Tehran (Iran). Ranjbar 2018
Melissa officinalis was included in a review of RCT's of traditional Iranian medicinal plants with evidence supporting their use for alleviation of symptoms of premenstrual syndrome. Maleki-Saghooni 2018
A combination of valerian, passion flower, lemon balm, and butterbur extracts attenuated self-reported anxiety in a randomized, placebo-controlled, double blind study in healthy subjects. Meier 2018
Combination of extracts of Salvia officinalis, Rosmarinus officinalis, and Melissa officinalis improved verbal recall in subjects under 63, in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Perry 2018
Administration of Melissa officinalis (two 600-mg capsules per day during the menstrual cycle, for 3 months) decreased psychosomatic symptoms scores, anxiety, sleep disorder, and social function disorder in female adolescents with premenstrual syndrome, compared with placebo. Heydari 2018
A mixture of Matricaria chamomilla, Melissa officinalis and tyndallized Lactobacillus acidophilus (HA122) reduced daily crying time by 44.95% (95% CI, -58 to -30), with the response rate of 95% (57 out of 60 patients), which was more effective than simethicone, in the treatment of infantile colic. Martinelli 2017
Consumption of lemon balm tea for 6 weeks reduced brachial-ankle pulse wave velocity (a measure of arterial stiffness) and improved skin elasticity and color, in healthy Japanese subjects (31-65yo), compared to barley tea control. Yui 2017
A positive, albeit low, degree of evidence was found for the effectiveness of Melissa officinalis preparations in the treatment of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder in children in the systematic review of controlled clinical trials. Anheyer 2017
Melissa officinalis leaf powder (1000-mg capsules 3x day, for 2 months) decreased LDL and AST levels, but not cholesterol, fasting blood glucose, triglyceride or creatinine, in patients with borderline hyperlipidemia. Jandaghi 2016
Use of a Melissa officinalis-containing tincture did not affect muscle activity in children with bruxism. Bortoletto 2016
Combinations of standardized extracts of Matricaria chamomilla and Melissa officinalis, and Lactobacillus sp. were superior to the control treatment in diminishing infantile colic. Ummarino 2015
The safety, tolerability and pharmacokinetics of a single dose of Melissa officinalis extract were assessed in healthy individuals. No adverse event was reported by any of the participants due to the study treatment. Food intake increased the exposure to rosmarinic acid. Noguchi-Shinohara 2015
A lyophilized extract of Melissa officinalis, administered for 14 days, reduced self-reported frequency of palpitation episodes and the number of anxious patients, in adults suffering from benign heart palpitations. Alijaniha 2015
Administration of a Melissa officinalis essence (1200 mg) daily for three consecutive menstrual cycles relieved premenstrual cycle symptoms in high-school girl-students. Akbarzadeh 2015
A standardized Melissa officinalis preparation, administered in a beverage or yogurt, improved self-rated mood aspects and/or cognitive performance in healthy young adults, with some behavioral "costs" at certain doses, the latter effects being dependent to some degree on the delivery matrix. Scholey 2014
A combination of valerian root and lemon balm extracts increased ability to focus, reduced hyperactivity and impulsiveness, and improved social behavior and sleep, in primary school children with restlessness, concentration difficulties and impulsiveness. Gromball 2014
Valerian/lemon balm use reduced levels of sleep disorders in women 50-60 years of age. Taavoni 2013
The anti-inflammatory potential of Melissa officinalis against ultraviolet-B-induced erythema was evaluated. [Article in German] Beikert 2013
Antidepressant effects of Melissa officinalis in combination with fertilized egg powder were studied. Solberg 2011
A Melissa officinalis extract reduced anxiety symptoms and insomnia, with 95% of the subjects responding to the treatment, 70% achieving full remission for anxiety, 85% for insomnia, and 70% for both, in a pilot trial in stressed volunteers with mild-to-moderate anxiety and sleep disturbances. Cases 2011
Melissa aromatherapy is not superior to placebo or donepezil, in the treatment of agitation in people with Alzheimer's disease in this RDBPGPC study. Burns 2011
Lemon balm infusion markedly improved oxidative stress condition and DNA damage in radiology staff when used as a dietary supplement for radiation protection. Zeraatpishe 2011
Addition of herbs, including M. officinalis, to a cold dessert, Gran Soleil, reduced the number of dyspeptic events and their intensity in study participants, more than the cold dessert alone. Gasbarrini 2010
A combination of lemon balm leaf, valerian root, passionflower herb, with and without butterbur root, ameliorated depression and anxiety in patients with somatization disorder and undifferentiated somatoform disorder. Melzer 2009
Results of T-test analysis in 32 irritable bowel syndrome patients who received Carmint, a herbal medicine which includes Melissa officinalis, Mentha spicata, showed severity & frequency of abdominal pain/discomfort were significantly lower in Carmint group than placebo group. Vejdani 2006
A combined valerian/lemon balm preparation was investigated in an open, multicentre study of 918 children <12 yrs suffering from restlessness and nervous dyskoimesis and found to be well tolerated and effective in treatment of younger children with restlessness and dyssomnia. Müller 2006
A double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized, balanced cross-over experiment with 24 healthy volunteers who received 3 separate single doses of combined Melissa officinalis and Valeriana officinalis showed that they possess anxiolytic property. Kennedy 2006
Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial with 93 breastfed colicky infants shows colic in infant improves within 1 week of treatment with an extract based on Matricariae recutita, Foeniculum vulgare and Melissa officinalis. Savino 2005
The electrical activity of the human brain was monitored using charge mode technology (Laplacian estimates) after exposure to a lozenge containing 4 different herbal preparations including lemon balm and oat in 16 healthy volunteers. Dimpfel 2004
Results of double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized, balanced crossover experiment, with 18 healthy volunteers showed that 600-mg dose of Melissa ameliorated the negative mood effects of the DISS, with significantly increased self-ratings of calmness & reduced self-ratings of alertness. Kennedy 2004
The effect of cholinergically active dried leaf of Melissa officinalis on cognition and mood were assessed in a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind, balanced crossover study in 20 healthy, young participants and it was shown that M. officinalis improved cognitive performance and mood. Kennedy 2003
Melissa officinalis extract is of value in the management of mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease and has a positive effect on agitation in such patients aged between 65 and 80 years. Akhondzadeh 2003
A placebo-controlled trial was conducted to determine the value of aromatherapy with essential oil of Melissa officinalis for agitation in 72 people with severe dementia and it was shown an overall improvement in agitation and quality of life. Ballard 2002
A randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind, balanced-crossover study investigated the acute effects on cognition and mood of a standardized extract of Melissa officinalis in 20 healthy, young participants and it was shown that calmness was elevated and alertness was reduced. Kennedy 2002
Double-blind placebo controlled comparative study of commercially available herbal preparation (Iberogast, STW-5*) containing lemon balm leaves and 9 other herbs, showed significant improvment of dyspeptic symptoms compared to placebo. Madisch 2001
Clinical trial found topical treatment with balm mint cream [1% Lo-701--dried extract from Melissa officinalis L] shortened the healing period, prevented spreading of infection and reduced itching, pain, swelling, tautness and erythema of herpes labialis outbreaks. Koytchev 1999
[Double blind study as evidence of the therapeutic effect of Melissengeist on psycho-vegetative syndromes (author's transl)]. [Article in German] [No abstract] Büchner 1974
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