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Abstract

Melissa officinalis (lemon balm) which belongs to the Lamiaceae family is a known herb that has long been used in traditional medicine to treat many disorders, and several studies have been conducted to identify the plant and its healing properties. The purpose of this article is to review a series of studies on the effects of the herb extract on the function of various body organs. Due to its volatile organic compounds and active constituents such as terpenoids, flavonoids, quercetin, rutin, quercitrin, gallic acid and high antioxidant capacity, the extract of the plant can have a significant role in maintaining health and curing diseases. In this paper data have been collected from books and scientific papers published in the databases like Science Direct, Web Science, Scopus, EBSCO, Iran medex and PubMed. Search in the interval of the years 2006 to 2012 was carried out. To search for the key words Melissa officinalis, lemon balm, and balm mint were used. About 80 articles was reviewed and after rejection non-related or similar items, in the end about 50 the number was actually cited. Results indicate that the extract of the plant with its several antioxidant, anti- inflammatory, anti-pain, anti-spasmodic and anti-cancer properties as well as its cholinergic receptor activation have highly significant effects on improving behavioral symptoms, cognitive impairment, insomnia, anxiety, and stress. However, these studies have been vast and sparse, and doing more focused and extensive researches in this area is recommended.
1
Zahedan Journal of Research in Medical Sciences
Journal homepage: www.zjrms.ir
A Brief Overview of the Effects of Melissa officinalis L. Extract on the Function of
Various Body Organs
Ali Zarei,
1
Saeed Changizi-Ashtiyani,*
2
Soheila Taheri,
3
Nasser Hosseini
4
1. Young Researchers Club, Abadeh Branch, Islamic Azad University, Abadeh, Iran
2. Department of Physiology, Arak University of Medical Sciences, Arak, Iran
3. Education Development Center, Arak University of Medical Sciences, Arak, Iran
4. Department of Medicinal Plants, Faculty of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Arak University, Arak, Iran
Article information
Abstract
Article history:
Received: 17 Feb 2014.
Accepted: 12 Mar 2014
Available online: 2 Aug 2014
ZJRMS 2015 July; 17(7): 1-6
Melissa officinalis (lemon balm) which belongs to the Lamiaceae family is a known herb
that has long been used in traditional medicine to treat many disorders, and several studies
have been conducted to identify the plant and its healing properties. The purpose of this
article is to review a series of studies on the effects of the herb extract on the function of
various body organs. Due to its volatile organic compounds and active constituents such as
terpenoids, flavonoids, quercetin, rutin, quercitrin, gallic acid and high antioxidant
capacity, the extract of the plant can have a significant role in maintaining health and
curing diseases.
In this paper data have been collected from books and scientific papers published in the
databases like Science Direct, Web Science, Scopus, EBSCO, Iran medex and PubMed.
Search in the interval of the years 2006 to 2012 was carried out. To search for the key
words Melissa officinalis, lemon balm, and balm mint were used. About 80 articles was
reviewed and after rejection non-related or similar items, in the end about 50 the number
was actually cited. Results indicate that the extract of the plant with its several antioxidant,
anti- inflammatory, anti-pain, anti-spasmodic and anti-cancer properties as well as its
cholinergic receptor activation have highly significant effects on improving behavioral
symptoms, cognitive impairment, insomnia, anxiety, and stress. However, these studies
have been vast and sparse, and doing more focused and extensive researches in this area is
recommended.
Copyright © 2015 Zahedan University of Medical Sciences. All rights reserved.
Keywords:
Blood lipids
Liver
Antioxidants
Thyroid
Melissa officinalis
*Corresponding author at:
Department of Physiology, Arak
University of Medical Sciences,
Arak, Iran.
E- mail: dr.ashtiyani@arakmu.ac.ir
Introduction
edicinal plants have had a great role in
providing health and treatment as well as
disease prevention in human communities [1,
2]. Medicinal herbs are very rich in secondary metabolites
which have profound physiological effects on the function
of mammalian tissues in health and disease conditions [3,
4]. Melissa officinalis (lemon balm) is one of these known
herbs that has been used since a very long time ago for the
treatment of many illnesses like headaches,
gastrointestinal diseases, neurological diseases and
rheumatoid [5, 6]. M. officinalis from Lamiaceae family,
(Fig. 1), with other common names like bee balm, garden
balm, melissa, melissengeist, is a perennial herbaceous
plant which grows vastly from the central and southern
Europe to Iran and central Asia. It is also cultivated
worldwide for its edible properties [7-9]. This herb has
been used extensively in traditional medicine and the
history of it goes back to more than 2,000 years ago. The
plant has been used in a variety of ways from a sedative
and mild hypnotic drug [8-10], and reducing the heart
rate, antibacterial, antiinflammatory, antivirus,
antispasmodic, antioxidant, to a neurotherapeutic agent,
peripheral analgesic, as well as a binding agent to
cholinergic receptors [7, 11].
Avicenna, the Iranian eminent physician and
philosopher introduced this plant as vitality tonic and as a
sedative drug to treat neurological disorders [11].
Figure 1. Aerial parts of Melissa officinalis
The most important ingredients in the plant are known to
be phenolic compounds, rosmarinic acid, caffeic acid,
cholinergic acid, metrilic acid; flavonoids such as
luteolin, apigenin and monoterpene derivatives; the
sesquiterpenes including beta-caryophyllene and
M
Zahedan J Res Med Sci 2015 July; 17(7): 1-6
2
germacrene; triterpenes such as oleanolic and ursolic acid;
volatile oil, and tannins [8]. The aim of present article is
to give a brief overview of the health benefits of M.
officinalis extract and is concentrated on the functions of
liver, thyroid, cancer, immune system, adipose tissue and
also plasma concentrations of some biochemical factors.
Materials and Methods
This review article is a survey of the empirical papers of
several authors who have examined the role of M.
officinalis extract in different body tissues. To conduct a
literature review, the authentic english sources in different
databases like Science Direct, PubMed, Google Scholar,
and Persian databases including: Scientific Information
Database (SID), Iran Articles Database of Medical
Sciences, Iran medex, Iranian Research Institute for
Information Science and Technology (Iran Doc), the
publications database (Magiran) and library archives, as
well as articles published in scientific journals, Persian
and English, have been used. Search in the interval of the
years 2006 to 2012 was carried out. To search for the key
words M. officinalis, lemon balm, and balm mint were
used. About 80 articles was reviewed and after rejection
non-related or similar items, in the end about 50 the
number was actually cited.
Results
The effect of M. officinalis extract on lipid profiles:
Hypertriglyceridemia is one of the most important factors
in the development of cardiovascular diseases [5]. Among
effective pharmacological agents in treating these
diseases, we can refer to statins, clofibrates and niacin.
However, in general these compounds are not effective in
reducing cholesterol concentration and are often
associated with adverse effects and drug toleration, [12-
19]. Therefore, all efforts have been concentrated on
prevention strategies like phytochemical diet.
According to recent studies, M. officinalis essential oil
has significant metabolic effects in vivo. Terpenoids are
among the essential compounds in herbal oils that induce
hypolipidemic effects by inhibiting liver biosynthesis and
formation of cholesterol nucleus in bile. Studies have
shown that the essential oil compounds of Plantago
asiatica inhibit mRNA and protein expression of HMG-
COA reductase in HePG
2
cells and C57BL/6 cells in rats
[19].
Although the lipid-lowering mechanism of M. officinalis
is not clearly known, studies have shown that regular and
daily drinking of M. officinalis tea may improve the
metabolic parameters like cholesterol and triglycerides in
humans [20]. In addition, M. officinalis has the potential
to inhibit hypercholesterolemia, to reduce serum lipid
concentrations and lipid peroxidation in the liver of
hypercholesterolemic rats [21]. Evidence show that herbal
oils, including M. officinalis oils have various
pharmacological effects which are mainly related to
volatile terpenoids such as geranial, cineol and caffeic
acid [5].
In a study on rats with hypercholesterolaemia, Changizi-
Ashtiyani et al. have shown that M. officinalis and
barberry extract can reduce serum cholesterol, low-
density lipoprotein (LDL) and triglyceride. However, the
hypolipidemic properties of alcoholic extract of M.
officinalis are more than those of barberry root which are
most likely related to the antioxidant properties of M.
officinalis and its effect on increasing thyroid hormone
[22].
Jun et al. in a study on the impact of M. officinalis
extract on reducing plasma triglyceride levels has shown
that this is due to the presence of quercetin compounds in
the plant and its possible effect on the inhibition of lipid
peroxidation [5].
M. officinalis essential oil also has anti diabetic
properties and improves glucose tolerance and adjusts the
expression of the genes involved in hepatic
gluconeogenesis studies by Chang et al. have shown that
daily uptake of M. officinalis at low doses can cause
hypoglycemia by increasing glucose uptake and its
metabolism in the liver, as well as by gluconeogenesis
inhibition [23].
Study of Zarei et al. on the effect of the M. officinalis
extract on the activity of liver enzymes in
hypercholesterolemic rats showed that the enzymes level
in hypercholesterolemic group receiving the extract
reduced [24]. Various reasons have been proposed for the
increase in liver enzymes in hypercholesterolemic rats.
For example one theory says that the accumulation of
lipids in the liver raises a pathological state causing
fibrous changes and eventually cirrhosis and hepatic
dysfunction. Following these disorders, levels of liver
enzymes, particularly ALT increases [25]. On the other
hand, hyperlipidemia will also stimulate the production of
free radicals [26].
The impact of M. officinalis extract on reducing liver
enzymes is known to be due to its powerful antioxidant
properties. This plant contains phenolic compounds,
which are among the most important antioxidant agents.
These compounds, especially flavonoids have a
protective effect on liver against damages caused by free
radicals because of their inhibitory effect on the
cytochrome system. Flavonoids can also protect the cells
against glutathione depletion by increasing the capacity of
the antioxidant enzymes (glutathione reductase, oxidase
and catalase) [24].
In another study, Bolkent et al. examined the effect of
M. officinalis extract on hyperlipidemic rats' liver in
which liver cholesterol, total lipid, lipid peroxidation, and
liver enzymes reduced while the glutathione levels
increased [21].
The effect of M. officinalis extract on the function of
pituitary-thyroid axis: The results of the study done by
Zarei et al. on the impact of M. officinalis extract on the
function of pituitary-thyroid axis in rats with
hypercholesterolemia showed increased thyroid hormone
levels and reduced levels of thyroid stimulating hormone
(TSH) [27]. Initially M. officinalis extract increases the
secretion of TRH and TSH and consequently it increases
the amount of T
3
and T
4
, this increase in T
3
and T
4
can
The effects of Melissa officinalis Zarei A et al.
3
finally reduce TSH level through exerting a negative
feedback effect. Studies show that some neuromodulators
and neurotransmitters control the neurons which secret
TRH hormone in the hypothalamus. Some of these
neurotransmitters, such as catecholamines (epinephrine,
norepinepherine, serotonin and dopamine) have an
increasing role and some, such as interleukin-1 (IL
1
) and
gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA) have a decreasing role
[27, 28].
On one hand, the flavonoid compounds in the plant
preserve and conserve catecholamines by inhibiting the
monoamine oxidase enzyme (MAO) and on the other
hand, by inhibiting the cyclooxygenase enzyme, they
reduce the production of prostaglandins and inflammatory
cytokines in response to inflammatory stimuli. In this way
they can also exert their anti-inflammatory effects [29].
M. officinalis extract has two mechanisms on GABA: one
is its GABAergic property to inhibit GABA and the other
one is its cholinergic property which inhibits
acetylcholinesterase, and enhances the capabilities of
brain cholinergic receptors [27, 30].
According to studies, GABA inhibits and reduces TRH
secretion. So, if GABA is inhibited, TRH will increase
and subsequently the secretion of thyroid hormones will
increase too. Studies also indicate that the relation
between fat and leptin, is direct, but fats and thyroid
hormone levels have an inverse and significant relation.
Since M. officinalis extract can reduce blood lipid levels,
it is most likely that at least part of this effect is exerted
by increasing thyroid hormone [22].
Antioxidant effects of M. officinalis: M. officinalis has
powerful antioxidant effects and these effects probably
are exerted through the rosmarinic acid and the
benzodioxole present in the extract. The antioxidant
effects of these compounds are up to ten times stronger
than the effects of those of vitamins B and C. In this way,
Melissa officinalis, like vitamin C, can moderate the
neurotoxic effects of chemical drugs [7, 31].
In addition, compounds such as acid linoleic acid,
carnosic acid, urosolicacidare are also present in the
extract all of which have antioxidant properties.
M. officinalis compounds are able to bind to
acetylcholine; moreover, they contain an inhibitory effect
on the acetylcholinesterase (AChE) enzyme and thus are
able to improve cognitive functions like memory [32].
Pereira et al. has also shown that the antioxidant activity
of phenolic compounds in the plant extract is mostly
because of rutin, quercitrin, garlic acid, and quercetin.
The highest antioxidant properties of compounds belong
to quercetin and then to garlic acid, quercitrin and rutin
respectively. In this study it has been shown that
M. officinalis extract has a protective function against the
oxidative damage caused by different peroxidative agents.
These agents can cause lipid peroxidation in a number of
ways. Therefore, this herbal extract can inhibit the
production of chemically active species in their early
stages, or later, it may block lipid peroxidation through
various processes. Finally, the researchers state that
M. officinalis extract can prevent neurological diseases
associated with oxidative stress [33].
In another study, Martins et al. have tested the effect of
the M. officinalis extract on oxidative stress induced by
manganese (Mn). Manganese is an essential element for
biological systems, but its increased level may lead to
neurodegenerative diseases. Although the mechanism of
this neurotoxicity is not fully clear, the oxidative stress
has a key role in the development of these diseases. In this
study, it has been shown that that manganese increases the
level of thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS)
as a marker of oxidative stress in hippocampus and the
striatum. In that study the amount of the marker in
animals treated with the extract had decreased, too [34].
Analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects of Melissa
officinalis: Using herbs as pain relief has a long history in
the world of medicine. One of these plants is
M. officinalis whose analgesic effect is not dose-
dependent. The analgesic effect is likely done by opioid
receptors. Acute analgesic effect of this extract does not
differ much from that of morphine and aspirin. However,
its chronic analgesic properties are less than morphine and
aspirin. So, the peripheral analgesic function of the extract
seems to be less considerable than the central analgesic
mechanism [35].
The anti-nociceptive and anti-inflammatory effects of
M. officinalis are attributed to the rosmarinic acid and
flavonoids and terpenoids present in the extract. Probably
flavonoids have a more effective role by facilitating
prostaglandin synthesis. The analgesic activity of
flavonoids is through moderating opioidergic mechanism
[35, 36]
Drozd and Anuszewska have examined the effect of
M. officinalis extract on the immune system response in
rats. They have found that this effect is comparable to the
effect of levamisole, which is known for its effect on the
immune system. Aqueous extract of M. officinalis is
effective on both blood and cellular responses [37].
M. officinalis oil extract derived from the leaves of the
plant contains nerol (30.44%), citral (27.03%), isopolcule
(22.02%), cariophiline (2.29%), oxide carolyn (1.24%)
and citronella (1.06%). In animal models its clear and
strong anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects has been
shown in comparison to those of a standard analgesic and
anti-inflammatory drug (indomethacin) [38]. A
phytochemical study on M. officinalis suggests that
among its phenolic compounds, rosmarinic acid and galic
acid have the highest and the lowest concentrations
respectively [39].
Anxiolytic effect of M. officinalis extract: Anxiety
disorders are the most common mental disorders with the
prevalence of 10-30 percent. Results of several studies
indicate that the aqueous extract of M. officinalis with the
dose of 5 mg/kg has anxiolytic effect, whereas at higher
doses it has a sedative effect in rats. So, the anxiolytic
effects are dose dependent and may be applied through
opioid receptors [40].
In another study conducted to examine the effect of
traditional herbals on neurological disorders, including
Alzheimer's, epilepsy and depression, it is concluded that
the M. officinalis extract does not have any role in the
serotonin transport; however, it is involved in AChE
Zahedan J Res Med Sci 2015 July; 17(7): 1-6
4
activity. Moreover, M. officinalis extract has a moderate
affinity to gamma-aminobutyric acid receptor (GABA).
So it seems that the anxiolytic properties of M. officinalis
may be due to binding to GABA type receptors [41].
In some European countries, the herb extract is used as
pain reliever and relaxant especially when there is
disruption in the first stage of sleep by some unpleasant
stressful factors [42]. In another study on the effect of the
extract on people with Alzheimer's, it is found that M.
officinalis extract can reduce agitation in Alzheimer's
patients. The administration of the citronella, taken from
the extract, has caused sound sleep and has reduced
muscle tone in people with sleep and neurological
disorders. M. officinalis extract has also resulted in a
significant improvement in insomnia, irritability,
headaches, and heart disease in mentally ill patients [40].
Ibarra et al. study on the effects of chronic administration
of M. officinalis extract on anxiety reactions and circadian
activities has shown that the use of this extract reduces
anxiety like reactivities. Because the herb extract contains
significant amounts of rosmarinic acid, oleanolic acid,
ursolicacid, and triterpenoids, it is most likely that these
compounds inhibit GABA transport activity and increase
GABA level in brain [43, 44].
Akhondzadeh et al. study in which M. officinalis extract
was administrated to patients with mild to moderate
Alzheimer's for 4 months has shown a significant
improvement in their behavioral and cognitive symptoms
and a decrease in anxiety and apprehension. The
incidence of these effects is likely due to the stimulating
function of acetylcholine receptors present in the plant.
Similarly, Perry et al. confirm the healing effects of
M. officinalis on memory disorders which are due to its
cholinergic activity. In this respect, the plant is put in the
same rank as Gingo [45].
The effect of the extract on the nervous system:
Cerebral ischemia by causing metabolic disorders leads to
neuronal death. Researchers in a study on the effect of
M. officinalis on death inducing hypoxia, in cultured
cortical neurons in vitro and in the ischemic hippocampus
in vivo (rat hippocampus) have shown that using the oil
extract significantly protects neurons in hypoxia culture.
M. officinalis extract significantly decreases the activity
of caspase 3 and of TUNEL-positive cells (cells that are
located in the CA1 region of the hippocampus).
M. officinalis also inhibits the production of
malondialdehyde (MDA), and reduces antioxidant
capacity in hippocampus. mRNA levels of
proinflammatory cytokines, TNFX and IL
1
B and hypoxia
inducible factor-1α (HIF-lα) have shown a significant
increase after ischemia. The administration of
M. officinalis extract inhibits the expression of HIF-lα.
Studies have also shown that M. officinalis extract can be
used as a protective agent in several neurologic disorders
associated with cerebral ischemia [46].
Hassanzadeh et al. study suggests that the protective
effect of M. officinalis plant against apoptosis is resulted
from the impact of methylenedioxy-methylamphetamine
(MDMA) on nerve cells, part of which is probably
because of the removal of free radicals and amino oxidase
inhibitors. The in vitro study they conducted on neuronal
cells showed that daily use of M. officinalis extracts
within 3 weeks led to cell proliferation, neuroblast
differentiation and integration and increase of GABA
[47].
M. officinalis effect on Alzheimer's disease, seizures
and epilepsy: Alzheimer's disease is a degenerative
neurological disease which is believed to cause dementia.
Dementia is characterized by a progressive loss of
cognitive powers, which leads to social or occupational
disability [48]. M. officinalis has sedative and relaxing
effects and in its homogenate notably binds to brain from
nicotinic and muscarinic acetylcholine receptors and also
inhibits the effects of acetylcholine esterase enzyme.
Thus, by regulating the cholinergic system it is helpful in
Alzheimer's treatment and adjusting mood and cognitive
processes [7].
Epilepsy includes a group of disorders caused by
abnormal electrical activity in the brain. Epileptic attacks
may appear as seizure, convulsion, or other nervous
disorders (in sensory, cognitive, and affective functions).
The ingredients in M. officinalis plant imitate nicotine
effect in the body and accelerate starting time and
increases the duration of the attack. M. officinalis plant is
effective as a pretreatment in modulating the seizure
symptoms caused by the injection of pentylenetetrazol
(PTZ) in rats [48].
Anti tumor effects of M. officinalis extract: Saraydin
et al. studied the effect of M. officinalis extract on
cytotoxicity of breast cancer cell lines (MCF-7, MDA-
468, and MDA-MBA-231). The results showed that the
extract contained active cytotoxicity against all 3 cancer
cell lines. Protein expression of caspase-7 and (TUNEL)
positive cells in a group of rats treated with the extract
was much more than those of the control group, while Ki-
67 expression had reduced. In addition, in vitro studies
indicated that inhibition of tumor volume in the group
treated with the extract group compared to the control
group of rats reduced by 40%. Finally, we can say that M.
officinalis extracts has an anti tumor potential against
breast cancer [49]. de Carvalho et al. also showed that the
M. officinalis extract had anti mutagenic or antigeotaxis
properties [50]
.
Discussion
M. officinalis plant is one of the oldest and most known
herbaceous aromatic plants, and has been used in different
forms such as oil extracts, aqueous extract, and applying
ointment and compress. There are a variety of active
ingredients in the plant which make its antioxidant,
sedative, neuroprotective, anti-anxiety and hypnotic
properties possible. Its metabolic interventions occur
when the plant extract acts to protect the liver and reduce
the amount of lipid profiles and influence the thyroid
hormone function. The presence of active and effective
antioxidants, especial ability to inhibit the production of
free radicals, as well as cytotoxic and anti-mutagenic
effects, have given a unique feature to the plant. It seems
that this ancient medicinal herb has still enormous
The effects of Melissa officinalis Zarei A et al.
5
potential that lies ahead of keen researchers to conduct a
lot of biological research.
Acknowledgements
The present article summarized and updated the latest
finding about Melissa officinalis. This was done as part of
the research project no: 90-123-12 in Arak University of
Medical Sciences. We would like to appreciate the kind
help we received from research deputy of the university.
Authors’ Contributions
All authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
Conflict of Interest
The authors declare no conflict of interest.
Funding/Support
Arak University of Medical Sciences.
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Please cite this article as: Zarei A, Changizi-Ashtiyani S, Taheri S, Hosseini N. A brief overview of the effects of Melissa officinalis L.
extract on the function of various body organs. Zahedan J Res Med Sci. 2015; 17(7): 1-6.
... Lemon balm has been extensively used in traditional medicine for different medical purposes due to its history dating back more than 2,000 years ago (Zarei et al., 2015). The father of pharmacology Dioscorides was the first who mentioned this herb in his Pharmacopeia of medicinal plants, De Materia Medica. ...
... Several studies pointed out different effects of lemon balm such as sedative and mild hypnotic (Nour Eddine et al., 2005;Chen et al., 2006;Rasmussen, 2011), hypoglycemic, hepatoprotective, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiviral, antispasmodic, andneuroprotective (Zarei et al., 2015;Moacǎ et al., 2018). Nevertheless, there is evidence that indicates the cytotoxic effects of MO extract (MOE) on breast (Zarei et al., 2015) and colon carcinoma (Weidner et al., 2015). Because of the ability to induce apoptosis and inhibit colon cancer cell proliferation, it has been proven that RA from MOE is responsible for its antimigratory effect on colon cancer cells (Encalada et al., 2011). ...
... In addition, Bolkent et al. (2005) reported that besides the reduction of total cholesterol (TC), MOE also possesses the ability to increase glutathione (GSH) levels in the liver tissue. However, the hypolipidemic effects of MOE are likely related to its powerful antioxidant properties due to lemon balm containing phenolic compounds, as the most important antioxidant agents (Zarei et al., 2015). It is assumed that the presence of RA, a derivate of phenylpropanoid, is associated with its antioxidant properties that are up to 10 times stronger than the antioxidant action of vitamin C (Shakeri et al., 2016). ...
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This review aimed to provide a summary on the traditional uses, phytochemistry, and pharmacological activities in the cardiovascular system and cardiotoxicity of Melissa officinalis (MO), with the special emphasis on the protective mechanisms in different cardiovascular pathologies. MO is a perennial aromatic herb commonly known as lemon balm, honey balm, or bee balm, which belongs to Lamiaceae family. Active components are mainly located in the leaves or essential oil and include volatile compounds, terpenoid (monoterpenes, sesquiterpenes, triterpenes), and polyphenolic compounds [rosmarinic acid (RA), caffeic acid, protocatechuic acid, quercitrin, rhamnocitrin, luteolin]. For centuries, MO has been traditionally used as a remedy for memory, cognition, anxiety, depression, and heart palpitations. Up until now, several beneficial cardiovascular effects of MO, in the form of extracts (aqueous, alcoholic, and hydroalcoholic), essential oil, and isolated compounds, have been confirmed in preclinical animal studies, such as antiarrhythmogenic, negative chronotropic and dromotropic, hypotensive, vasorelaxant, and infarct size–reducing effects. Nonetheless, MO effects on heart palpitations are the only ones confirmed in human subjects. The main mechanisms proposed for the cardiovascular effects of this plant are antioxidant free radical–scavenging properties of MO polyphenols, amelioration of oxidative stress, anti-inflammatory effects, activation of M2 and antagonism of β1 receptors in the heart, blockage of voltage-dependent Ca2+ channels, stimulation of endothelial nitric oxide synthesis, prevention of fibrotic changes, etc. Additionally, the main active ingredient of MO-RA, per se, has shown substantial cardiovascular effects. Because of the vastness of encouraging data from animal studies, this plant, as well as the main ingredient RA, should be considered and investigated further as a tool for cardioprotection and adjuvant therapy in patients suffering from cardiovascular diseases.
... Different biological activities were greatly reported for Lemon balm, which vary from reducing the heart rate, antivirus, antibacterial, antiinflammatory, anti-cancer, sedative, antioxidant, antispasmodic, a neurotherapeutic agent, to peripheral analgesic, besides its activity as a binding agent to cholinergic receptors. (Naghibi et al., 2005;Ghayoor et al., 2010 ;Yosofi et al., 2011 andZarei et al., 2015). ...
... 4.83 mmol/L) as compared with fatty liver group (untreated). Such results are in agreement with Zarei et al. (2015) who stated that lemon balm can inhibit the production of chemical active species in their early stages or later and that may block lipid peroxidation through various processes. ...
... The possible mechanism of action of administration lemon balm leaves may be through their antioxidative effects. That because lemon balm has active ingredients that are capable of free radical scavenging in living system (Dastmalchi et al., 2008 ; Rostami et al., 2010 andZarei et al., 2015). These results were supported with levels of SOD and total antioxidant capacity, which were significantly decreased in untreated fatty liver group as compared with normal group. ...
... It produces white/pink pale flowers annually; it possesses hairy root system with many lateral roots [21,22] . Pharmacologically, the plant is used as natural anti-oxidative, anti-cancer, anti-oedema, anti-obesity, anti-spasmodic agent [23] . It was reported that the medicinal uses of the plant gives no side effects; it can be used topically or orally in recommended doses for a month in otherwise healthy adults and poses no danger when consumed in amounts recommended in foods. ...
... A synthetic antibiotic nitrofuratoin (300 μg/disc), was used as a positive control. The plates were then incubated at 37℃ for [18][19][20][21][22][23][24] . h before visual assessment of the inhibition zones. ...
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Essential oils are natural therapeutic agents, as they are rich sources of terpenoids and polyphenols. This study was aimed at evaluation of the synergistic potential of the phytochemicals in the essential oil obtained from the flower of Melissa officinalis on clinically isolated uropathogens. The research led to identification of various organic compounds from the essential oil of the vegetable part investigated. The main constituents identified were: phytol (49.9%), τ-muurolol (13.0%), l-calamenene (8.8%), octyl butyl phthalate (8.6%), β-ionol (4.6%), and thymol (4.0%). In the antibacterial study, the highest inhibitory effect of the essential oil was observed against P. aeruginosa (20 mm), The results indicated that the flower essential oil has high antimicrobial potential and could be alternative sources of natural therapeutic agents. The sample can be exploited as natural antimicrobial and antioxidant in real pharmaceutical and pharmacognosy systems.
... Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis L.) originates from Europe and is now grown all over the world. It is a medicinal and aromatic species popularly used to make tea, which serves as an antioxidant, antiviral, tranquilizer, promotes sleep, reduces stress, and anxiety [1,2]. Furthermore, lemon balm is used to treat Graves', Alzheimer's, and thyroid diseases [3]. ...
Article
This study evaluated the transfer factor (TF) of stable elements from soil to Melissa officinalis and the estimated daily intakes for potentially toxic elements. INAA, GFAAS, and ICP-OES techniques were applied to determine the elemental concentration. Br, Ca, Cd, K, Ni, and Rb accumulated the most with the TF (> 1.0), followed by Ba, Co, Cr, Cu, Mg, Mn, Na, Pb, Sb, and Zn (0.1–1.0), while As, Fe, Hf, La, Sc, Sm, Th, Ti, and V had the lowest accumulation (< 0.1). The daily intake (µg day− 1) of As (1.35–10.35), Br (22.5–297), Cd (0.09–0.54), Cr (220–1,270), Cu (31.5–76.5), Ni (0.09–0.54), Pb (4.5–31.5), and Zn (139.5–400.5) even overestimated was still lower than values established by WHO/FAO.
... Thousands of plants are currently being investigated as potential reservoirs for discovering new drugs. Melissa officinalis L. (lemon balm, MO) is a perennial aromatic herb and a member of the mint family (Lamiaceae), which has gained scientific attention due to its long known usage in traditional medicine and multiple pharmacological effects proven in preclinical and clinical studies (1). Its traditional usage as a sedative, hypnotic, memory enhancer, and antidepressant has reached a whole new level and expanded to a broad spectrum of pathologies, thanks to several investigations confirming its effects in cardio-metabolic pathologies, dif-ferent cancer types, viral infections, and neurodegenerative diseases (2,3). ...
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: Melissa officinalis L. (MO), traditionally referred to as lemon balm, is one of the lemon-scent aromatic herbs widely used in traditional medicine due to its calming, sedative, and anti-arrhythmic effects. Furthermore, several studies have linked its therapeutic potential with its antioxidant properties. Here, we aimed to evaluate and compare the content of active components, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory potential of three different MO extracts (MOEs), ethanolic macerate (E1), aqueous (E2), and ethanolic (E3), obtained under reflux and their effects on systemic redox status after acute per os administration in vivo post-carrageenan application. The HPLC analysis revealed that the most abundant constituent in all the three extracts was rosmarinic acid (RA), with higher content in E1 and E3 than in E2 (P < 0.05). The highest flavonoid content was found in the aqueous extract, especially quercetin (P < 0.05). For the carrageenan-induced paw edema model, dark agouti rats were used and divided into the groups: control, indomethacin, E1, E2, and E3 subgrouped according to applied doses: 50, 100, and 200 mg/kg. Ethanolic macerate (E1200) and aqueous (E2100) MOE were shown to be anti-inflammatory agents in the carrageenan paw edema model, with the most prominent edema inhibition in the sixth hour post-carrageenan (63.89% and 69.44%, respectively, vs. 76.67% in the indomethacin group). All the three extracts reduced the production of pro-oxidants H2O2 and TBARS post-carrageenan and increased GSH levels compared to control (P < 0.05). These data imply the possible future usage of MOEs to prevent inflammatory and oxidative stress-related diseases.
... Melissa officinalis is cultivated in Europe and America (WHO, 2005). It possesses antioxidant (Miraj et al., 2017), anti-inflammatory, antinociceptive, antispasmodic, antimutagenic, and anticancer activity, in addition to improving behavioral symptoms in anxiety disorders, cognitive impairment, insomnia, and stress (Zarei et al., 2015). ...
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Ethnopharmacological relevance Diabetes is a systemic disease, which can cause synaptic defects in the hippocampus. Hippocampus plays a crucial role in learning and memory. Melissa officinalis L. has been used as for memory enhancement in Persian Medicine. Aim of the study The aim of this study was to evaluate the impact of the hydroalcoholic extract of Melissa officinalis L. on learning and memory, considering its impact on nitric oxide synthase and brain-derived neurotrophic factor expression in the hippocampus of diabetic rats. Materials and methods Melissa officinalis L. extract was obtained by maceration method. To evaluate phenolic and flavonoid compounds of the extract, the samples were analyzed by HPLC. The animals were randomly divided into 6 groups: vehicle-treated control, Melissa officinalis-treated control (50 mg/kg), vehicle-treated diabetic, and M. officinalis-treated diabetic (25, 50, or 100 mg/kg). Diabetes was induced by streptozotocin And Melissa officinalis L. was administered for 2 weeks once diabetes was induced. Passive avoidance and Y-maze tasks were performed for learning and memory assessment. At the end of learning and memory tasks, rats were sacrificed and their hippocampus removed, lysed, and homogenized. The RNA contents were purified and then used as the template for cDNA synthesis. Real-time PCR was used to evaluate nitric oxide synthase and brain-derived neurotrophic factor genes expression. Results Rutin was main flavonoid compound and rosmarinic acid was the main phenolic compound of the Melissa officinalis extract. Streptozotocin induced diabetes and impaired learning and memory in diabetic rats. Melissa officinalis treated-control group showed a higher alternation score in the Y-maze task and step-through latency in the passive avoidance task compared to the vehicle treated diabetic group. Melissa officinalis-treated rats showed a higher alternation score in the Y-maze task in all doses compared to the vehicle treated diabetic group (P<0.05). In addition, in the passive avoidance task Melissa officinalis increased step-through latency (P<0.05) but not initial latency, in all doses. Furthermore, in diabetic rats, the expression of brain-derived neurotrophic factor and nitric oxide synthase genes decreased. However, hippocampal brain-derived neurotrophic factor and nitric oxide synthase gene expression was increased in Melissa officinalis-treated rats compared to diabetic rats (P<0.05). Conclusions Melissa officinalis improved learning and memory in diabetic rats, which may have occurred by increasing brain-derived neurotrophic factor and nitric oxide synthase gene expression.
... The complex chemical composition plant extracts, including: hydroxycinnamic acids (rosmarinic, p-coumaric, caffeic, chlorogenic and ferulic acids), triterpenes (ursolic and oleanolic acids), essential oils rich in terpenoids (citral, citronellal, geraniol, nerol, linalool, farnesyl acetate, humulene, β-caryophyllene and eremophilene), tannins and flavonoids (glycosides of luteolin, quercetin, apigenin and kaempferol) represented the main reason for the use of different types of extracts or pure volatile oils for the prevention and/or treatment of an increased number of illnesses [25][26][27][28][29][30][31]. The MO activity is related to the high concentration of phytocompounds that exert protective properties against oxidative stress, a key player in the aging process and the onset of degenerative diseases [32]. ...
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Melissa officinalis (MO) is a medicinal plant well-known for its multiple pharmacological effects, including anti-inflammatory, anticancer and beneficial effects on skin recovery. In this context, the present study was aimed to investigate the in vitro and in vivo safety profile of an MO aqueous extract by assessing cell viability on normal (HaCaT—human keratinocytes) and tumor (A375—human melanoma) cells and its impact on physiological skin parameters by a non-invasive method. In addition, the antioxidant activity and the antiangiogenic potential of the extract were verified. A selective cytotoxic effect was noted in A375 cells, while no toxicity was noticed in healthy cells. The MO aqueous extract safety profile after topical application was investigated on SKH-1 mice, and an enhanced skin hydration and decreased erythema and transepidermal water loss levels were observed. The in ovo CAM assay, performed to investigate the potential modulating effect on the angiogenesis process and the blood vessels impact, indicated that at concentrations of 100 and 500 µg/mL, MO aqueous extract induced a reduction of thin capillaries. No signs of vascular toxicity were recorded at concentrations as high as 1000 μg/mL. The aqueous extract of MO leaves can be considered a promising candidate for skin disorders with impaired physiological skin parameters.
Article
Due to the widespread use of herbal medicine and evidence pointing to the health benefits of saffron supplementation, this review was performed to evaluate the effects of saffron supplementation on glycemic parameters and lipid profiles based on previous reviews. Relevant articles were retrieved from various databases, which included PubMed, Scopus, ProQuest, Web of Science, Embase, and Cochrane until 2020, with no date restrictions. The quality of the included reviews was assessed using the Assessment of Multiple Systematic Reviews (AMSTAR) checklist. Finally, of 877 obtained articles, eight reviews meeting the inclusion criteria were included for analysis. Among the eight included reviews, seven articles were meta‐analyses. In addition, one review had an average quality while seven had a good quality. A narrative description of the included reviews was performed, while a network meta‐analysis was not conducted. A brief review of the results was reported according to the weighted mean difference and mean difference. Seven included reviews assessed the effects of saffron or crocin supplementation on glycemic parameters, and six examined these effects on lipid profile parameters. Almost half of the articles reported significant effects of these supplements on glycemic parameters and lipid profiles. Taken together, results suggest that saffron supplementation may improve glycemic and lipid profile parameters; however, further high‐quality studies are needed to confirm the clinical efficacy of saffron on glycemic parameters and lipid profiles
Article
Background Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and dysmenorrhea are prevalent disabling conditions and affecting the quality of life of women in reproductive age. Melissa officinalis exhibits multiple pharmacological properties, including anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, analgesic, and antidepressant activities. Objective The aim of this study was to systematically review the effect of Melissa officinalis on PMS and primary dysmenorrhea. Methods A systematic search in English (Embase ،PubMed, ProQuest, Scopus, Clininaltrial.gov, Cochrane Library), and Persian (SID, Magiran, Iran Doc) databases to find articles were done in May 2020. All types of clinical trials were included. Two authors independently conducted the selection of articles and quality assessment and also extracted data. Standardized Mean Difference (SMD) was described as a measure of effect size due to the application of multiple tools to measure the severity of PMS. The quality of evidence was assessed using the GRADE approach. Results A total of 978 articles were obtained from databases. Ultimately, 7 articles were included in the study. Based on the results of these 7 studies, the consumption of Melissa officinalis improves the symptoms of PMS and primary dysmenorrhea after treatment, as compared to the control group. Also, from the meta-analysis results, the consumption of Melissa officinalis in the intervention group as compared to the control group, significantly reduces the mean severity of PMS's symptoms following treatment )SMD: -0.93; 95% CI: -.19 to -0.67; P=0. 88; I2=0%). Conclusion Due to the limited number of articles included in the meta-analysis, conducting well-designed clinical trials with large sample size to ascertain the effect of Melissa officinalis on PMS and primary dysmenorrhea, are recommended.
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Background:Noticing the side effects associated with chemical drugs, using natural medicinal plants has gained more prominence recently. Physalis alkekengi extract is a medicinal plant belonging to Solanaceae family which similar to most drugs used in traditional medicine, despite possessing a multitude of medicinal properties, has not received sufficient attention. The aim of the present study was to briefly review the effects of Physalis alkekengi extract on the concentration of thyroid hormones, blood cholesterol, some plasma biochemical factors, liver function, immune system, and sexual hormones. Due to the extensive usage of Physalis alkekengi extract in traditional medicine, determining its advantages and possible side effects is of great physiologic and pharmacologic significance. Physalis alkekengi extract due to the presence of such effective substances as alkaloids, lycopene, glucocorticoids, alcoholic agents, and a large amount of vitamin C as well as antioxidant properties can play a significant role in changes in body homeostasis. This study dealt with the function and effect of Physalis alkekengi extract on different body organs through using proper keywords and extensive online search through electronic databases and credible sources. The results of this mini-review showed that Physalis alkekengi extract can bring about various significant changes in different body organs that have not been properly recognized. Therefore, further and more extensive studies should be done on this plant.
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Background: Hyperlipidemia is a heterogeneous group of disorders characterized by an excess of lipids in the bloodstream Objective: Given previous studies on barberry and Melissa officinalis extracts, this study aims at comparing hypolipidemic activities of Melissa officinalis extract and Berberis vulgaris. Methods: For the purpose of this study, 64 Wistar rats were selected and divided into 8 groups (n=8). The control group was administered with ordinary diet; the sham group was administered with high-fat diet and intraperitoneally 0.2 ml/dl of the extract solvent (normal saline); and similarly, experimental groups received minimal, moderate and maximum dosages of barberry and Melissa officinalis extracts. The treatment group's was given high-fat diet for 21 days. After this period, blood samples were taken and the gathered data were analyzed using SPSS software. Results: The amount of cholesterol, triglyceride and LDL were increased in the model group compared to the control group, whereas the same substances were decreased significantly in the group receiving the extract compared to the model group (p<0.05). Conclusion: Hypolipidemic properties of alcohol extracts of Melissa officinalis are more effective than those of Berberis vulgaris. Moreover, it should be noted that it is rather the antioxidant properties of Melissa officinalis and their effects on the increase in thyroid hormones as well as the presence of alkaloid compounds, such as berberine in Berberis vulgaris, that inhibits cholesterol synthesis and enables its excretion.
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Melissa officinalis(MO) is a herb which grows in different parts of Iran. In previous studies, it was reported that 10% ethanolic extract of the aerial parts of MO, i.e. leaf and stem, could bring about antinociceptive, anticonvulsive, and sedative effects on rats. This study was designed to evaluate anxiolytic effects of different doses of the aqueous decoction extract of MO and also the role of opioid receptors. The subjects of this study were ninety-three male mice whose weights ranged from 25-30gr. Different doses of the extract(5, 10, 25, 50mg/kg-IP) were injected to four separated groups of ten(case groups) and water(10ml/kg-IP) was injected to the control group including 10 mice. A pilot study was also carried out on 15 mice. In order to evaluate the role of opioid receptors on anxiolytic effects of the aqueous decoction extract of MO, the rest of the subjects were divided into 4 groups including seven each. Then Naloxone(2mg/kg) and the extract of MO(5 mg/kg) were injected to them. To increase their activity and curiosity, animals were put inside a box with black walls for 5 min. Then animals were transfered to the elevated plus maze at adjusted intervals and their anxiety reactions including enterance numbers and time spent in open arm were recorded in 5 min. Results indicated that injection of 5mg of the extract reduced anxiety reactions. In comparison to control group, case group animals had both more numbers of entrance and more time spent in open arm(P<0.01). However, higher doses of MO reduced entrance numbers and also time spent in open arm, that is, they had hypnotic effects. Naloxone reduced anxiolytic effects of low doses of Melissa officinalis extract(5mg/kg). It is concluded that the aqueous extract of MO plays an important role in fear, anxiety and drowsiness so that the lowest dose(5mg/kg) produces anxiolytic effects and higher doses exert hypnotic ones. It is also probable that it works through opioid receptors.
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Objectives: Hyperlipidemia can cause a variety of diseases such as atherosclerosis, diabetes, and fatty liver which is followed by increased liver enzymes. Since Berberis vulgaris (B. vulgaris) root possesses antioxidant properties, the present study was conducted to investigate the effect of its extract on the activity of liver enzymes in rats. Materials and Methods: In this experimental study, sixty Wistar rats were selected and allocated to six groups of ten each. The control group received a normal diet and the sham group received a fatty diet while the other groups including experimental groups received a fatty diet and the alcoholic extract of B. vulgaris at minimum (75 mg/kg), moderate (150 mg/kg), and maximum (300 mg/kg) doses by intraperitoneal injection (i.p.) or oral atorvastatin (10 mg /kg) with a fatty diet. At the end of this 21-day period, blood samples were drawn and the levels of the intended factors were measured. Data were analyzed using SPSS software version 11.5. Results: The comparison of the obtained results showed that the levels of alanine transaminase (ALT) and alkaline phosphatase (ALP) enzymes in the sham group that only received fatty food increased (p≤0.05), whereas in the treatment groups receiving B. vulgaris extract as well as in the group receiving Atorvastatin, these enzymes significantly decreased; however, no significant changes were observed in aspartate transaminase (AST) levels. Conclusion: Noticing the antioxidant properties of B. vulgaris root extract and its effects on reducing the activity of liver enzymes, the extract of this plant can be a good choice for improving the function of liver.
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Objectives: Liver is one of the most sensitive tissues to oxidant damage. Hence, the present study was conducted to compare the effects of Melissa officinalis (MO) extract and Atorvastatin on the activity of liver enzymes in rats. Materials and Methods: In this experimental study, 60 male Wistar rats were selected and allocated to six groups (n=10). The control group received a normal diet, sham group received a fatty diet while other groups received a fatty diet and the alcoholic extract of MO, at minimum (25 mg/kg), moderate (50 mg/kg), and maximum (75 mg/kg) doses (i.p.). The last group received Atorvastatin (10 mg/kg) through gavage with a fatty diet over a 21-day period. At the end of this 21-day period, blood samples were drawn and the levels of alanine aminotransferase (ALT), aspartate aminotransferase (AST), and alkaline phosphatase (ALP), activity of liver enzymes as well as cholesterol in the samples were measured. Results: The obtained results showed that the activity of liver enzymes in the treatment groups receiving MO extract and the group receiving Atorvastatin decreased significantly. MO extract reduced the level of liver enzymes. Conclusion: Therefore, further studies for obtaining a better understanding of the mechanism of effect of MO for treating liver diseases are recommended.