Lemon balm for depression and anxiety: a meta-analysis

Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis L.) is widely used for its beneficial effects on sleep and mood. This aim of this systematic review and meta-analysis was to assess the available evidences on the effects of lemon balm on depression and anxiety.

Based on this meta-analysis, lemon balm can reduce man anxiety scores compared to placebo (SMD = -0.98, 95% CI: -1.63 to -0.33, p = 0.003). Lemon balm has also a significant effect on depression scores, still compared to placebo (SMD = -0.47, 95% CI: -0.73 to -0.21, p = 0.0005).

The authors concluded that current evidence suggests that lemon balm may be effective in improving anxiety and depressive symptoms, particularly in the acute setting. However, they also highlight the low quality of the available data, and suggest new high quality clinical trials in order to confirm these findings.

Ghazizadeh J, Sadigh-Eteghad S, Marx W, Fakhari A, Hamedeyazdan S, Torbati M, Taheri-Tarighi S, Araj-Khodaei M, Mirghafourvand M. The effects of lemon balm (Melissa officinalis L.) on depression and anxiety in clinical trials: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Phytother Res. 2021 Aug 27.

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