Recent evidence published in Phytotherapy Research indicates that Melissa officinalis (lemon balm) may be safe and effective for improving anxiety and depression symptoms, particularly in the acute setting.
In a meta-analysis, lemon balm was shown to significantly reduce mean depression and anxiety scores compared to placebo. Subgroup analysis showed statistically significant results for acute anxiety. Lemon balm was well tolerated by participants, with no significant adverse events reported.
A single oral dose of 300 mg in healthy individuals improved state anxiety scores and memory performance at 1 and 3 hours post-intervention . However, to improve depression symptoms, more extended periods of between 10 days and 8 weeks were required with a higher dose.
One study compared lemon balm to standard medication. In this study, lemon balm (1,000 mg, twice daily) was as effective as fluoxetine (10 mg twice daily) for improving depression scores in patients with mild to moderate depression and had fewer side effects than the antidepressant medication.
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