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Scientific Name:
Melissa officinalis
Family Name:
Lamiaceae
Common Name:
lemon balm
Evidence of Activity
Pharmacodynamics
Melissa officinalis (lemon balm) extract exhibited low to moderate inhibitory activity on quorum sensing-related processes, including swarming and swimming motilities, and biofilm formation of Escherichia coli. Panayi 2022
Melissa officinalis (lemon balm) hydroalcoholic extract, which contains polyphenols including caffeic and rosmarinic acids, demonstrated antioxidant activity in vitro, combated lipid peroxidation, and inhibited food-associated bacterial growth. Mascoloti 2022
By reducing protein expression in the electron transport chain and triggering a reactive oxygen species-mediated oxidative stress response, proteome analysis revealed that a hot water extract of Melissa officinalis (lemon balm) exhibits antitumor effects in colorectal cancer cells. Kuo 2022
While different extraction parameters, (at 40 and 60 °C and 250 bar), had different effects, all of the supercritical CO2 and methanol extracts, (1, 2.5, 5, 7.5, and 10%), of Melissa officinalis (lemon balm) exhibited antifungal activity inhibiting two strains of Fusarium species and significantly reducing ergosterol content and synthesized mycotoxins. Uwineza 2022
Toxicity of a 60% ethanol extract of Melissa officinalis (lemon balm) was determined in mice fibroblast cell lines and exhibited substantial antiradical action, and inhibition of collagenase and elastase enzymes. Şeker 2022
Mice treated with 25 mg/kg of Melissa officinalis (lemon balm) essential oil, which contains citronellal, demonstrated very weak acetylcholinesterase inhibition but showed a significant decrease in motor impairment arising from acute anxiety. Effects were associated with modification of voltage-gated Ca2+ channels or muscarinic receptors and may be due to the synergistic and/or antagonistic interactions of the oil's constituents and not dependent on its main constituent. Stojanović 2021
The crude extract and methanol fractions of Melissa officinalis (lemon balm) were among the most effective Iranian botanicals tested against influenza A virus. Mehrbod 2021
An extract of lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) dose-dependently significantly increased type I collagen production in fibroblasts from patients with osteogenesis imperfecta, a genetic disease caused by mutations in type I collagen gene. Collagen type III and matrix metalloproteinase (MMP-1, -2, -9) activity was unchanged or decreased. Sutkowska 2021
Melissa officinalis (lemon balm) essential oils showed tyrosinase inhibitory activity, correlating with citral and (+)-citronellal content. Capetti 2021
Melissa officinalis constituents melitric acid A and salvanolic acid A showed affinity to SARS-CoV-2 main protease in a molecular docking study. Elekofehinti 2020
Melissa officinalis essential oil glycerosomes inhibited herpes simplex virus type 1 infection of mammalian cells in vitro, without producing cytotoxic effects. Vanti 2020
A combination of L-theanine, Magnolia officinalis, and Melissa officinalis showed anxiolytic- and antidepressant-like activities in animals, related to a neuroprotective effect and with a possible involvement of the endocannabinoid system. Borgonetti 2020
Lemon balm essential oil was one of the most active oils tested for inhibitory activity against Helicobacter pylori. Korona-Glowniak 2020
A hot water extract of Melissa officinalis, containing 67 compounds identified using mass spectrometry, induced cell cycle arrest and apoptosis and inhibited the migration ability in human colorectal cancer cells. Kuo 2020
A molecular docking study of Melissa officinalis constituents showed salvianolic acid C, ellagic acid, and naringenin as potential inhibitors of glycogen synthase kinase-3ß, implicated in stroke, type 2 diabetes, and Alzheimer disease. Iwaloye 2020
A novel method to differentiate essential oils by their biochemical effects compared the effects of Melissa, copaiba, mandarin, and turmeric on several signaling pathways in HepG2 cells. Urasaki 2019
Melissa officinalis extract increased the expression of brain-derived neurotrophic factor in human neural cells, as compared to valerian (Valeriana officinalis), St. John's wort (Hypericum perforatum), and passionflower (Passiflora incarnata) extracts, in vitro. Gonulalan 2019
Potential anti-cancer activity of Melissa officinalis extracts (obtained by supercritical-CO2 and ultrasonic-assisted extraction methods) was investigated, in comparison with Achillea millefolium, Calendula officinalis, and Origanum majorana. Mouhid 2018
Extracts of Melissa officinalis inhibited the growth of a lung cancer cell line, the ethanolic extract being the most potent. Magalhães 2018
Essential oil of Melissa officinalis cultivated in France exhibited stronger acaricidal effects against Dermatophagoides farinae and D. pteronyssinus adults, compared to oils from Ireland and Serbia. Park 2018
Ethanolic extracts of Melissa officinalis stems, at or above 100 μg/mL, were found to be highly cytotoxic to healthy human keratinocytes, while the leaf extracts showed cytotoxicity at higher concentrations; both extracts exerted toxicity on human breast cancer cells, in vitro. Moacă 2018
The potential activity of Melissa officinalis essential oil against Helicobacter pylori was investigated. Knezevic 2018
Melissa officinalis essential oil was found to contain citronellal (37.33%), thymol (11.96%), citral (10.10%), β-caryophyllene (7.27%), and showed strong antibacterial effects against food-borne bacteria (especially S. aureus), as well as antioxidant properties. Ehsani 2017
An extract of Melissa officinalis showed antiviral activity, inhibiting plaque formation, cytopathic effect, and viral protein synthesis in cells infected with enterovirus 71, endemic to the Asia-Pacific region. Chen 2017
An extract of Melissa officinalis (100 μg/ml) down-regulated RNA expression of multiple cancer- and angiogenesis-related genes (e.g., VEGF-A, Bcl-2, Her2, and hTERT) in human prostate, breast and lung cancer cell lines. Jahanban-Esfahlan 2017
The chemical composition of supercritical-CO2 and hydroethanolic (50:50) extracts of Melissa officinalis was assessed. The hydroethanolic extract had a more potent antioxidant activity; however, the opposite was true for the cytotoxic activities of the extracts. García-Risco 2017
An acidic fraction of Melissa officinalis protected cultured mouse cerebellar granule neurons from amyloid β cytotoxicity. The effects were associated with inhibition of acetylcholinesterase activity. Soodi 2017
The inhibitory potential of neral from Melissa officinalis against Bordetella petrii, a causative agent of various human infectious diseases, was assessed and compared to those of compounds from garlic, cinnamon, and green tea, among others. Rath 2016
Melissa officinalis essential oil showed the most potent amoebicidal properties against Acanthamoeba castellanii cysts and trophozoites in vitro, compared to the oils of Mentha x piperita and Ocimum basilicum. [Article in Turkish] Ergüden 2016
Antispasmodic and spasmolytic activity of Melissa officinalis EPS upon mice gastrointestinal tract: an ex vivo pilot study. [No abstract] Aubert 2016
Melissa officinalis aerial part extract (100-500 μg/mL) increased the viability of human endothelial cells upon exposure to H2O2, in vitro. Safaeian 2016
Melissa officinalis essential oil was one of the most active against Leishmania amazonensis in vitro. Andrade 2016
An aqueous extract of Melissa officinalis was reported to be highly effective against Herpes simplex virus in vitro. Moradi 2016
An aqueous, but especially 70%-ethanolic extracts of Melissa officinalis, as well as rosmarinic acid (the main constituent of the extracts) exhibited cytotoxic effects on glioblastoma cells in vitro. Ramanauskiene 2016
Lemon balm essential oil was one of the most effective eliminators of Candida albicans, C. glabrata, and C. tropicalis in vapor contact assay. Mandras 2016
An extract of Melissa officinalis increased the survival of UVB-irradiated human keratinocytes, decreasing intracellular production of reactive oxygen species, DNA damage, and DNA damage response, and promoted melanogenesis, in vitro. Pérez-Sánchez 2016
Lemon balm leaves were tested for the potential to inhibit GABA(A) receptor in vitro. Sahin 2016
An extract of Melissa officinalis (ALS-L1023) ameliorated oxidative stress-induced apoptosis and intracellular generation of reactive oxygen species in H2O2-treated human retinal pigment epithelial cells, via activation of the PI3K/Akt pathway, in vitro. Jeung 2016
A 99.9% ethanolic extract of Melissa officinalis subsp. inodora leaves showed inhibitory activities against Leishmania braziliensis, L. infantum, and Trypanosoma cruzi, in vitro, with rutin and caffeic acid identified as the potential active compounds. Cunha 2016
An extract from lemon balm leaves showed pro-secretory effects in mucosal/submucosal preparations of human small or large intestinal specimens, ex vivo, and in a human epithelial cell line, in vitro. Allam 2015
A hydro-alcoholic extract of Melissa officinalis reduced the cell viability of non-small cell lung cancer, ovarian cancer, breast and prostate adenocarcinoma cells, to values below 33%, in vitro. Jahanban-Esfahlan 2015
The chemical composition, as well as antimicrobial, antioxidant, and antitumor activities of a Melissa officinalis decoction were assessed. Rosmarinic acid and lithospermic acid A were the most abundant phenolic constituents. Carocho 2015
An ethanolic extract of Melissa officinalis leaves induced cell cycle arrest and apoptosis in human colon carcinoma cells, in vitro. Weidner 2015
An aqueous extract of Melissa officinalis inhibited the attachment to and penetration of acyclovir-resistant and acyclovir-sensitive herpes simplex virus particles into host cells, in vitro. Astani 2014
Melissa officinalis essential oil induced apoptosis in glioblastoma multiforme cells, in vitro. Queiroz 2014
Lemon balm essential oil at (sub)minimal inhibitory concentrations inhibited Candida albicans enzyme production, germ tube formation, and adhesion to fibroblasts, in vitro. Budzyńska 2014
Lemon balm essential oil and methanolic and ethanolic extracts potently inhibited Escherischia coli growth in vitro. Thompson 2013
An ethanolic extract of Melissa officinalis and its acidic, but not non-acidic, fraction ameliorated the oxidative stress and cell death, induced by beta-amyloid, in rat adrenal cells, in vitro. Sepand 2013
The dichloromethane fraction of Melissa officinalis induced apoptosis in human leukemia cell lines, by both extrinsic and intrinsic pathways, in vitro. Ebrahimnezhad Darzi 2013
Apigenin-7-O-glucoside from Melissa officinalis showed antiviral activity against rhesus rotavirus, in vitro. Knipping 2012
Melissa officinalis leaf essential oil showed high acetylcholinesterase and butyrylcholinesterase co-inhibitory activities in vitro. Chaiyana 2012
An aqueous extract of Melissa officinalis showed antiviral activity against herpes simplex virus type 1, and inhibited the attachment of the virus particles to host cells, in vitro. Astani 2012
A methanolic extracts of Melissa officinalis showed moderate amobeicidal activity against both trophozoites and cysts of Acanthamoeba castellanii, the causal agent of amoebic keratitis, in vitro. Malatyali 2012
A 50%-ethanolic extract of Melissa officinalis decreased cell proliferation and viability of human colon cancer cells, in vitro. Encalada 2011
Essential oil of Melissa officinalis showed relatively strong antibacterial activity against Staphylococcus aureus ATCC 29213 and Escherichia coli NCTC 8196 biofilms on medical biomaterials. Budzyńska 2011
Ob-X, an anti-angiogenic herbal composition composed of Melissa officinalis, Morus alba, and Artemisia capillaris, suppresses adipogenesis in 3T3-L1 adipocytes, in vitro. Hong 2011
Co-treatment with M. officinalis significantly reversed mitochondrial dysfunction and apoptotic neuronal death caused by a high dose of MDMA in a hippocampal culture and provided protection against MDMA-induced mitochondrial dysfunction and apoptosis in neurons. Hassanzadeh 2011
16-hydroxy-9-oxo-10E,12E,14E-octadecatrienoic acid, also known as Corchorifatty acid B (CFAB), isolated from the ethanol extracts of aerial parts of M. officinalis exhibited inhibitory effects on cellular pigmentation in both human melanocytes and mouse melanoma B16 cells. Fujita 2011
Melissa officinalis inhibited the mycelial growth of Candida albicans in vitro. Taguchi 2010
Expression analysis of phenylalanine ammonia-lyase (PAL) and 4-coumarate:coenzyme A-ligase (4CL) showed a correlation with enzyme activities and rosmarinic acid content during a cultivation period of a suspension culture of lemon balm. Weitzel 2010
Lemon balm methanolic and aqueous extracts had a significant protective effect on hydrogen peroxide-induced toxicity in PC12 cells, showed good free radical scavenging properties, and inhibited the MAO-A enzyme. No activity was detected in AChE and GABA assays. López 2009
Neither a centrifuged lemon balm product obtained from the fresh leaves and stems nor an extract obtained from the dried plant affected cell viability nor caused the release of pro-inflammatory mediators or the decrease of trans-epithelial electrical resistance in reconstituted human epidermis. Mencherini 2009
Data from a dual radioligand binding & electrophysiological study, focusing on a range of ligand-gated ion channels suggests that components in M. officinalis and Lavandula angustifolia warrant study to identify the actives underlying the neuronal depressant and anti-agitation activities reported. Huang 2008
An in vitro study on monkey kidney cells using a plaque reduction assay showed that lemon balm EO abolished Herpes simplex 1 & 2 viral infectivity nearly completely and both viruses were significantly inhibited by pretreatment with the oil prior to infection of cells. Schnitzler 2008
Extracts of lemon balm, peppermint, and sage exhibited high, concentration-dependent activity against infection of HIV-1 in T-cell lines, primary macrophages, and ex vivo tonsil histocultures, suggesting that these extracts may provide a basis for development of novel virucidal topical microbicides. Geuenich 2008
M. officinalis aqueous extract vasodilates isolated rat aortic rings precontracted with phenylephrine via nitric oxide pathway with the possible involvement of prostacycline and endothelium-derived hyperpolarizing factor (EDHF) pathways. Ersoy 2008
In vitro evaluation of antimicrobial activity of lemon balm oil exhibited a higher degree of antibacterial activity than did Lavandula oil against Gram-positive strains. Hăncianu 2008
In a Canadian investigation of commercially available anxiolytic botanicals, the aqueous extract of M. officinalis (lemon balm) exhibited the greatest inhibition of GABA-T activity (IC50 = 0.35 mg/mL)in in vitro rat brain homogenate assays. Awad 2007
Among 88 extracts of different polarity obtained from 18 Lamiaceae medicinal and aromatic plants, antioxidant activity was observed in polar extracts obtained from Lycopus europaeus, Melissa officinalis, Origanum vulgare subsp. virens and Lavandula latifolia. López 2007
It is suggested that ColiMil, a herbal formulation reduces upper gastrointestinal motility in mice, with a major contribution by Matricaria recutita and Melissa officinalis, and is found to improve colic in breastfed infants. Capasso 2007
The systematic review identified two herbs and herbal formulations with therapeutic effects for the treatment of AD: Melissa officinalis, Salvia officinalis and Yi-Gan San and BDW (Ba Wei Di Huang Wan). Dos Santos-Neto 2006
Review on the psychopharmacology of European herbs with cognition-enhancing properties shows that, most notably, Melissa officinalis extracts have been shown to bind directly to both nicotinic and muscarinic receptors in human brain tissue. Kennedy 2006
The inhibitory activity of extracts from lemon balm (Melissa officinalis), peppermint, prunella, rosemary, sage and thyme against Herpes simplex virus (HSV) type 1, type 2 and an acyclovir-resistant strain of HSV-1 was tested in vitro on RC-37 cells in a plaque reduction assay. Nolkemper 2006
Testing of larvicidal activity of some Labiatae plant extracts from Turkey showed Teucrium divaricatum Sieber was most toxic, followed by Mentha longifolia, Melissa officinalis, Salvia sclarea & Mentha pulegium with LC(50) values of 18.6, 26.8, 39.1, 62.7 & 81.0 ppm, respectively. Cetin 2006
The in vitro screening for acetylcholinesterase (AChE) inhibition and antioxidant activity of 10 medicinal plants from Portugal indicates that Hypericum undulatum, Melissa officinalis, & Laurus nobilis showed both high AChE inhibitory capacity and antioxidant activity. Ferreira 2006
STW 5 (Iberogast), its constituent nine different plant extracts including peppermint and melissa leaves and some isolated compounds which are present in STW 5 for characterizing their antioxidative and radical quenching activities, were tested. Germann 2006
Investigation of the anti-cancer potential of citral, a key component of the lemon-scented essential oils extracted from several herbal plants including Melissa officinalis indicates that the apoptotic effect of citral depended on the alpha,beta-unsaturated aldehyde group. Dudai 2005
Screening of traditionally used Lebanese herbs for neurological activities showed that ethanolic extracts of Melissa officinalis & Salvia triloba had moderate activity on inhibition of acetyl-cholinesterase & affinity to GABA(A)-benzodiazepine site & to the serotonin transporter. Salah 2005
In vitro susceptibility of 15 Helicobacter pylori strains to botanical extracts used traditionally for the treatment of gastrointestinal disorders showed that Melissa officinalis (leaves) had a MIC > 100 microg/mL. Mahady 2005
Among 34 essential oils tested for insecticidal activity against larvae of Spodoptera littoralis, 8 essential oils including Mentha citrata, Melissa officinalis, and Lavandula angustifolia were highly toxic with LD50 < or =0.05 microl/larvae. Pavela 2005
The actions of the aqueous extracts of leaves of Lippia alba, Melissa officinalis and Cymbopogon citratus upon contractile force and cardiac rate (CR) were evaluated on the isolated hearts of 21 male adult rats and it was shown that these extracts provoked significant CR reduction. Gazola 2004
Melissa officinalis volatile oil was found to be non-toxic to HEp-2 cells up to a concentration of 100 micro/ml against Herpes simplex virus type-2. Allahverdiyev 2004
The essential oil of Melissa officinalis exhibited free radical scavenging capacity, reducing DPPH radical formation (IC(50) = 7.58 microg/mL) & OH radical generation (IC(50)=1.74 microg/mL) in a dose-dependent manner. A significant antifungal activity was exhibited on Trichophyton species. Mimica-Dukic 2004
An in-vitro cytotoxicity assay using MTT indicated that essential oil of Melissa officinalis L was very effective against a series of human cancer cell lines (A549, MCF-7, Caco-2, HL-60, K562) and a mouse cell line (B16F10). de Sousa 2004
The antioxidant activity of Melissa officinalis subsp. officinalis and of Melissa officinalis subsp. inodora extracts, obtained by using carbon dioxide under supercritical conditions was investigated. Marongiu 2004
The essential oil of Melissa officinalis at 500 microg/ml completely inhibited the growth of all yeast species. The main component of the oil of M. officinalis is citral (neral plus geranial) (58.3%), which showed a marked fungitoxic effect, contributing to its high activity. Araújo 2003
The antibacterial evaluation of 6 medicinal plants including Melissa officinalis L. leaves and Calendula officinalis L. flowers against anaerobic and facultative aerobic periodontal bacteria was performed. Iauk 2003
The relaxant effect of the essential oil of Melissa officinalis and its main component, citral, on rat isolated ileum contractions was evaluated. Sadraei 2003
Several plant extracts, including Melissa officinalis, displaced [3H]-(N)-nicotine and [3H]-(N)-scopolamine from nicotinic receptors and muscarinic receptors in homogenates of human cerebral cortical cell membranes, with M. officinalis having the highest displacement value. Wake 200
Melissa officinalis (balmmint) oil and two other herbal essential oils were shown to be more toxic to bloodstream forms of T. brucei than to human HL-60 cells but not more toxic to promastigotes of L. major than to HL-60 cells. Mikus 2000
Aqueous methanolic extracts from three medicinal Lamiaceae species caused considerable concentration-dependent inhibition of lipid peroxidation and were found effective for antioxidant activity in enzyme-dependent and enzyme-independent lipid peroxidation systems. Hohmann 1999
The aqueous extracts of Melissa officinalis showed anti-HIV-1 activity by inhibiting reverse transcriptase, induced cytopathogenicity in MT-4 cells, and giant cell formation in co-culture of Molt-4 cells with and without HIV-1 infection. Yamasaki 1998
A screening for genotoxic activity was carried out in aqueous or alcoholic extracts prepared from 13 medicinal plants including Melissa officinalis and Plectranthus amboinicus widely used as folk medicine in Cuba. Ramos Ruiz 1996
Glycoside and caffeic acid, isolated from Melissa officinalis leaves, inhibited protein biosynthesis by direct influence on the elongation factor eEF-2. Galasinski 1996
Melissa officinalis and 2 other herb essences in steam phase using a microatmospheric technique possessed a similar degree of activity against bacteria, filamentous fungi and yeasts, though a relatively higher activity was seen in the case of M. officinalis. Larrondo 1995
Of 4 extracts studied, one, Melissa officinalis L. extract, showed virucidal effect within 3 and 6 hours of treatment in MTC. Three remaining extracts inactivate the virus at the 12th and 24th hour, but with no significant inhibiting activity on the virus. Dimitrova 1993
Hydroalcholic extracts from Melissa officinalis L and 3 other herbs, shown antioxidative activities by free radical scavenger effect on DPPH, partly in relation to rosmarinic acid. Lamaison 1991
A tanninless extract from Melissa officinalis leaves showed caffeic acid and an unidentified glycoside inhibited protein biosynthesis. Chlabicz 1986
Freeze-dried extracts (FDE) of Melissa officinalis, and 3 other plants, may interact with the pathogenically important components of Graves'-IgG to inhibit the ability to bind to the TSH receptor and activate the thyroid for treatment of Graves' disease. Auf'mkolk 1985
Aqueous extracts from Melissa officinalis contain antihormonal components which dose dependently inhibit extrathyroidal enzymic T4-5'-deiodination to T3 and T4-5'-deiodination in rat liver. Auf'mkolk 1984
Melissa officinalis showed a dose-related inhibition of the binding and adenylate cyclase stimulatory effect of bovine thyrotropin in human thyroid membranes. Auf'mkolk 1984
Studies on substances of plant origin with anticipated cyto- and oncostatic activity. Part 1: The influence of water extracts from Melissa officinalis on the protein biosynthesis in vitro. [no abstract] Chlabicz 1984
Antiviral substances in plants of the mint family (labiatae). I. Tannin of Melissa officinalis. [no abstract] Kucera 1967
Antiviral substances in plants of the mint family (labiatae). II. Nontannin polyphenol of Melissa officinalis. [no abstract] Herrmann 1967
Antiviral activities of extracts of the lemon balm plant. [no abstract] Kucera 1965
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