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Investigation of a Melissa officinalis special extract on Cognition I
In vitro study on muscarinic properties


*Corresponding author
Vital Solutions GmbH, Hausingerstrasse 6, 40764 Langenfeld, Germany


Melissa officinalis (L.) leaves, Lemon balm, are used as food and in traditional medicine. The traditional application of Lemon balm focuses on calming and relaxing effects. Modern research has demonstrated new effects of Lemon balm on cognitive health. A Melissa officinalis special extract was used to investigate muscarinic receptor M1 binding properties in the following in vitro experiments. Competitive binding to muscarinic M1 receptor was determined by measuring muscarinic displacement using a human recombinant muscarinic M1 receptor expressed in CHO (Chinese Hamster Ovary cells). As a result, the special Melissa officinalis extract showed muscarinic receptor M1 binding underlining cognitive effects, which might impact the beneficial effects of the extract in different indications for cognition and mental health.


Melissa officinalis, Lemon balm, is an annual eatable herb native to Europe. Its traditional medical applications focus on the essential oil components of the plant and on rosmarinic acid for relaxation properties. Currently there are several traditional herbal medicinal products on the market which promote Lemon balm for its calming and relaxing effects. More recent research demonstrated new effects of Lemon balm on cognitive performance (1, 2). Surprisingly human studies reported that not all Lemon balm extracts show these beneficial cognitive effects, even if the extracts have similar phytochemical specifications (standardization on rosmarinic acid) (1). In order to clarify this several in vitro studies were carried out to understand the mode of action behind the beneficial effects on cognitive performance of Lemon balm and how they differ from extracts with the traditional calming effects. Studies showed that the traditional relaxing effects may be linked to elevated levels of the neurotransmitter GABA (γ-Aminobutyric acid) by inhibition of GABA-transaminase (GABA T), an enzyme which degrades GABA. Rosmarinic acid is described to be res ...