Study Spotlight

Study Spotlight

Heart palpitation? Let lemon balm ease your mind and body.


Heart palpitations due to stress, medications, caffeine, or exercise can be fairly common. But for those who suffer from them, heart palpitations add to a genuine sense of anxiety and even panic. Because of this, treatment can be a challenge. Traditionally, there have been a variety of herbs that have shown anti-anxiolytic effects that could address the condition. One of them is lemon balm, also known as Melissa.

Recently, a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study showed that lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) leaf extract significantly reduced incidences of palpitations and the number of individuals with anxiety in 14 days. The researchers also noted that the extract caused no side effects. If you deal with either heart palpitations, or a sense of overwhelm and that “things are out of control”, lemon balm may be the best botanical to add to your regimen.

Source: Alijaniha F, Naseri M, Afsharypuor S, et al. Heart palpitation relief with Melissa officinalis leaf extract: double blind, randomized, placebo controlled trial of efficacy and safety. J Ethnopharmacol. 2015 Apr 22;164:378-84.

 

The study:

Alijaniha F, Naseri M, Afsharypuor S, et al. Heart palpitation relief with Melissa officinalis leaf extract: double blind, randomized, placebo controlled trial of efficacy and safety. J Ethnopharmacol. 2015 Apr 22;164:378-84.

ETHNOPHARMACOLOGICAL RELEVANCE: In Traditional Iranian Medicine (TIM), Melissa officinalis L. is commonly regarded as an effective therapy for heart palpitations.

OBJECTIVE: Heart palpitation is a common complaint that is often benign and associated with a marked distress that makes the condition difficult to treat. Herbal medicines provide an alternative to conventional drugs for treating various kinds of diseases. This study was done as a double blind randomized placebo-controlled clinical trial to evaluate the efficacy and safety of the dried extract of M. officinalis on adults suffering from benign palpitations.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Eligible volunteers were randomly assigned as outpatients to a 14 day treatment with 500 mg twice a day of lyophilized aqueous extract of M. officinalis leaves (or placebo). Participants in the tests, physicians and researchers were blind to group assignments. Both primary and secondary outcomes were patient-reported. Primary outcomes were obtained from two measures: mean frequency of palpitation episodes per week, derived from patients׳ diaries, and mean intensity of palpitation estimated through Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) in a self-report questionnaire. Psychiatric symptoms (somatization, anxiety and insomnia, social dysfunction and severe depression) were evaluated as secondary outcomes by General Health Questionnaire-28 (GHQ-28), before and after intervention.

RESULTS: Fifty-five volunteers out of 71 recruited study subjects completed the trial. Results showed that 14-day of treatment with lyophilized aqueous extract of M. officinalis leaves reduced frequency of palpitation episodes and significantly reduced the number of anxious patients in comparison to the placebo (P=0.0001, P=0.004 resp.). Also, M. officinalis extract showed no indication of any serious side effects.

CONCLUSION: Lyophilized aqueous extract of M. officinalis leaves may be a proper and safe herbal drug for the treatment of benign palpitations.

Link to abstract

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