Anxiolytic and antidepressant-like effects of Melissa officinalis (lemon balm) extract in rats: Influence of administration and gender. Indian J Pharmacol. 2012 Mar;44(2):189-92. Taiwo AE, Leite FB, Lucena GM, Barros M, Silveira D, Silva MV, Ferreira VM. Faculdade de Ciências da Saúde, Programa de Pós Graduação em Ciências da Saúde, Universidade de Brasília (UnB), 70910-900, DF, Brazil.
To analyse the behavioral effects of Melissa officinalis extract in rats following acute or subacute treatment.
MATERIALS AND METHODS:
The behavioral effects of an acute or subacute (10-day course) orally administered M. officinalis (MO; 0, 30, 100 or 300 mg/kg) ethanol extract were evaluated in male and female Wistar rats in elevated plus-maze (EPM), forced swimming (FS) and open field (OF) tests. The effects of diazepam (DZP; 1 mg/kg) and fluoxetine (FXT; 10 mg/kg) were also assessed.
In the EPM test, the percentage of open arm entries and open arm times of both males and females given the subacute M. officinalis ethanol extract were significantly higher than those of the vehicle-treated animals but were at levels similar to those observed in the DZP group, regardless of the treatment length. In the FS test, immobility duration was significantly lower in both males and females treated with the plant extract when compared to vehicle-treated counterparts. A 10-day treatment with FXT induced the same antidepressant response, regardless of gender, and was more effective than the M. officinalis extract. Male and female rats demonstrated distinct gender profiles, and treatment × gender interactions were observed. Locomotion in the EPM and OF tests was not significantly altered by treatments.
The potential psychoactive properties of M. officinalis may provide a unique pharmacological alternative for certain psychiatric disorders; however, the efficacy appears to be dependent on both gender and administration length.