Lemon Balm for Mild-to-Moderate Anxiety

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Botanicals are an alternative option to prescription drugs for the alleviation of symptoms due to anxiety disorders and insomnia. Melissa officinalis L. has been shown as an antistress and anxiolytic agent.

This was a prospective, open-label, 15-day study to evaluate the efficacy of a standardised ectract of M. officinalis on stressed volunteers, who have mild-to-moderate anxiety disorders and sleep disturbances. Using clinician rating criteria, primary outcomes showed improvement of symptoms.

M. officinalis extract reduced anxiety manifestations by 18% (p < 0.01), ameliorated anxiety-associated symptoms by 15% (p < 0.01) and lowered insomnia by 42% (p < 0.01). As much as 95% of subjects (19/20) responded to treatment, of which 70% (14/20) achieved full remission for anxiety, 85% (17/20) for insomnia, and 70% (14/20) for both.

This study demonstrates, for the first time that chronic administration of M. officinalis relieves stress-related effects. It is critical that further studies incorporate a placebo and investigate physiological stress markers.


Cases J, Ibarra A, Feuillère N, et al. Pilot trial of Melissa officinalis L. leaf extract in the treatment of volunteers suffering from mild- to-moderate anxiety disorders and sleep disturbances. Med J Nutrition Metab 2011;4(3):211-218.


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