Plant with antispasmodic properties on smooth muscles and deep sedative action. The benzodiazepine-like action is mainly of a tranquillizing type. Used since the time of Theophrastus and Hippocrates, later by Paracelsus in cases of melancholia, hysteria: very active in cases of nervousness, disorders of psycho-vegetative origin to cardiac expression (precordial anxiety), but above all to digestive expression (bile spasms, painful abdomen …) and the insomnia resulting from these disorders. Spasmophilia plant with abdominal and especially digestive thoracic expression.Sedative action through the inhibition of the GABA-transaminase enzyme, through the inhibition of the enzyme responsible for the degradation of GABA. The sedative activity on the central nervous system can also be mediated by an inhibitory action on the functioning of the thyroid gland. Acts at the level of the limbic lobe of the CNS, which coordinate the vegetative functions as well as the protective action from abnormal stimuli coming from the periphery; it would therefore act as a useful sedative activity in neurovegetative dystonia and in anxiety states in general.
It has antispasmodic and spasmolytic activity: useful in cases of migraine. Sedative in anxiety states with visceral somatizations and restlessness and also in gastrointestinal dyspeptic pathologies and in case of distress and heart palpitations connected to anxious states. Melissa also has the ability to inhibit the activity of the enzyme MAO-a, which is primarily responsible for degrading serotonin, but also norepinephrine and orthopamine, thus increasing the presence of these endogenous amines at both pre-synaptic and synaptic levels. significantly, and is also able to perform scavenger activity of free radicals, thus acting as an antioxidant.
The mechanism of neurosedative and spasmolytic action could in part also be attributed to the activity of inhibition of thyroid function carried out by the plant: the extract of Melissa is in fact able to block the link between the TSH and its receptor, leading to the reduction of the production of thyroid hormone by the gland itself. This ability to bond to the TSH receptor is correlated with the therapeutic activity of Melissa in Graves’ disease. In this case, in fact, to be blocked in their pathogenic action, would be the autoantibodies typical of the disease, activating the TSH receptor. According to some studies, in fact, for this reason it would be useful to administer extracts of lemon balm in patients suffering from Graves’ disease.The extract of fresh leaves of Melissa finally has antiviral activity against Herpes simplex which is also used in the treatment of cold sores.
Drug interactions and warnings
The use of Melissa is not recommended during pregnancy, lactation, in case of thyroid dysfunction, glaucoma, hypotension and hypersensitivity to one or more components of the drug. The use is also recommended under medical supervision in case of simultaneous intake of barbiturates and hypericum: in fact, episodes of hypersomnia may occur.