Basal and Spasmolytic Effects of a Hydroethanolic Leaf Extract of Melissa officinalis L. on Intestinal Motility: An Ex Vivo Study

J Med Food. 2019 Jul;22(7):653-662. doi: 10.1089/jmf.2018.0154. Epub 2019 Apr 16.


Melissa officinalis L. (lemon balm) has been used for decades with symptomatic benefits in patients with digestive disorders. However, very little is known on the effects of M. officinalis on the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. In this study, the basal and spasmolytic properties of a hydroethanolic leaf extract (HLE) of M. officinalis were assessed ex vivo on different segments of the GI tract of mice after phytochemical characterization of the extract. M. officinalis HLE had site- and dose-dependent effects on the contractile activity of the GI tract, the motility response being impacted in the jejunum and ileum but not in the antrum and colon. The observed effects could be caused by the phenolic compounds (mainly rosmarinic acid) detected in the extract.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Gastrointestinal Motility / drug effects*
  • Ileum / drug effects
  • Ileum / physiology
  • Jejunum / drug effects
  • Jejunum / physiology
  • Male
  • Melissa / chemistry*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Parasympatholytics / chemistry
  • Parasympatholytics / isolation & purification
  • Parasympatholytics / pharmacology*
  • Plant Extracts / isolation & purification
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Plant Leaves / chemistry


  • Parasympatholytics
  • Plant Extracts