Attenuation of Laboratory-Induced Stress in Humans After Acute Administration of Melissa Officinalis (Lemon Balm)

Psychosom Med. Jul-Aug 2004;66(4):607-13. doi: 10.1097/01.psy.0000132877.72833.71.

Abstract

Objective: Melissa officinalis (lemon balm) is contemporaneously used as a mild sedative and/or calming agent. Although recent research has demonstrated modulation of mood in keeping with these roles, no studies to date have directly investigated the effects of this herbal medication on laboratory-induced psychological stress.

Methods: In this double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized, balanced crossover experiment, 18 healthy volunteers received two separate single doses of a standardized M. officinalis extract (300 mg, 600 mg) and a placebo, on separate days separated by a 7-day washout period. Modulation of mood was assessed during predose and 1-hour postdose completions of a 20-minute version of the Defined Intensity Stressor Simulation (DISS) battery. Cognitive performance on the four concurrent tasks of the battery was also assessed.

Results: The results showed that the 600-mg dose of Melissa ameliorated the negative mood effects of the DISS, with significantly increased self-ratings of calmness and reduced self-ratings of alertness. In addition, a significant increase in the speed of mathematical processing, with no reduction in accuracy, was observed after ingestion of the 300-mg dose.

Conclusion: These results suggest that the potential for M. officinalis to mitigate the effects of stress deserves further investigation.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Affect / drug effects
  • Arousal / drug effects
  • Attention / drug effects
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Melissa / chemistry*
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Phytotherapy / methods*
  • Placebos
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use*
  • Psychomotor Performance
  • Stress, Psychological / drug therapy*
  • Stress, Psychological / prevention & control
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology*
  • Treatment Outcome

Substances

  • Placebos
  • Plant Extracts