Lemon balm is used medicinally as a herbal tea, or in extract form. It is claimed to have antibacterial and antiviral properties (it is effective against herpes simplex).
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.
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 shown to improve mood and mental performance. These effects are believed to involve muscarinic and nicotinic 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 TSH from attaching to TSH receptors, hence making it of possible use in the treatment of Graves’ disease or hyperthyroidism.
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