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October 28, 2020

Anti-Stress Effects of Lemon Balm-Containing Foods


Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) is a perennial lemon scented herb. Records concerning its medicinal use date back over 2000 years, including a recommendation by Paracelsus (1493-1541) that lemon balm would completely revivify a man and should be used for "all complaints supposed to proceed from a disordered state of the nervous system."

Several herbal apothecaries have attributed the plant with general beneficial effects upon the brain including specific improvements to memory. More recently research attention has turned to the bioactive properties of Lemon balm, including its central nervous system effects.

Lemon balm has been used historically and contemporarily as a modulator of mood and cognitive function, with anxiolytic effects following administration of capsules, coated tablets and topical application.

In 2014, two similar studies were conducted to evaluate the mood and cognitive effects of a standardized lemon balm preparation administered in palatable forms in a beverage and in yoghurt.

All participants reported that they were in good health, were not taking any drugs or medications (excluding the contraceptive pill), had no known food allergies or allergies to natural sweeteners, and were non-smokers.

Both active lemon balm treatments were generally associated with improvements in mood and/or cognitive performance. The results indicate that Lemon balm delivered in foodstuffs can have positive behavioral effects which may be used in applied health settings.

Finally, it is worth noting that the products were viewed as extremely acceptable to the participants. There were no adverse events during the trial and the participants remarked that they found the treatments appetizing (although no systematic data were recorded); this is an important aspect of trials using real foods where compliance might otherwise be an issue.

 

 

 

 

1. Scholey, A., Gibbs, A., Neale, C., Perry, N., Ossoukhova, A., Bilog, V., Buchwald-Werner, S. (2014). Anti-Stress Effects of Lemon Balm-Containing Foods. Nutrients, 6(11), 4805-4821. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4245564/

 



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