Anti-stress effects of lemon balm-containing foods

Nutrients. 2014 Oct 30;6(11):4805-21. doi: 10.3390/nu6114805.


Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) 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. Following a pilot study with lemon balm extract administered as a water based drink, which confirmed absorption of rosmarinic acid effects on mood and cognitive function, we conducted two similar double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover studies. These evaluated the mood and cognitive effects of a standardised M. officinalis preparation administered in palatable forms in a beverage and in yoghurt. In each study a cohort of healthy young adults' self-rated aspects of mood were measured before and after a multi-tasking framework (MTF) administered one hour and three hours following one of four treatments. Both active lemon balm treatments were generally associated with improvements in mood and/or cognitive performance, though there were some behavioral "costs" at other doses and these effects depended to some degree on the delivery matrix.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Affect / drug effects*
  • Cinnamates / pharmacology
  • Cognition / drug effects*
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Depsides / pharmacology
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Life Style
  • Male
  • Melissa / chemistry*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Stress, Physiological / drug effects*
  • Young Adult


  • Cinnamates
  • Depsides
  • Plant Extracts
  • rosmarinic acid