It is also used as an anxiolytic, mild sedative or calming agent. At least one study has found it to be effective at reducing stress, although the study’s authors call for further research. Lemon balm extract was identified as a potent inhibitor of GABA transaminase, which explains anxiolytic effects. The major compound responsible for GABA transaminase inhibition activity in lemon balm is rosmarinic acid.
Lemon balm and preparations thereof also have been shown to improve mood and mental performance. These effects are believed to involve muscarinic andnicotinic acetylcholine receptors. Positive results have been achieved in a small clinical trial involving Alzheimer patients with mild to moderate symptoms.
Its antibacterial properties have also been demonstrated scientifically, although they are markedly weaker than those from a number of other plants studied. The extract of lemon balm was also found to have exceptionally high antioxidant activity.
Lemon balm is mentioned in the scientific journal Endocrinology, where it is explained that Melissa officinalis exhibits antithyrotropic activity, inhibiting TSHfrom attaching to TSH receptors, hence making it of possible use in the treatment of Graves’ disease or hyperthyroidism.
Lemon balm is used in some variations of the Colgate Herbal toothpaste for its soothing and aromatic properties.
Lemon balm should be avoided by those on thyroid medication (such as thyroxine), as it is believed the herb inhibits the absorption of this medicine.
Despite extensive traditional medicinal use, melissa oil was initially prohibited by the International Fragrance Association (IFRA)’s 43rd amendment, but this restriction appears to have been revisited and relaxed in the 44th amendment.
Ob-X, a mixture of three herbs, Morus alba, M. officinalis, and Artemisia capillaris, may help regulate obesity. Ob-X reduces body weight gain and visceral adipose tissue mass in genetically obese mice.
Lemon balm was found to be effective in the amelioration of laboratory-induced stress in human subjects, producing “significantly increased self-ratings of calmness and reduced self-ratings of alertness.” The authors further report a “significant increase in the speed of mathematical processing, with no reduction in accuracy” following the administration of a 300 mg dose.
Lemon balm is the main ingredient of Carmelite Water, which is still for sale in German pharmacies.