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Letter to the Editor

IJHRS. 2012; 1(2): 122-123

Lemon Balm - A Blessing Balm in Dentistry

Ramachandran Sudarshan, G. Sree Vijayabala.


Natural remedies are the ancient medicines which have their own basic principles of treatment. One among them is the lemon balm a member of mint family considered as a calming herb. It has a diverse variety of properties and uses in medicine. Its use in dentistry is very limited. Melissa officinalis L (lemon balm) is a traditional herbal medicine used widely as a mild sedative, spasmolytic and an antibacterial agent1.

Aqueous extracts from species of the lamiaceae family were examined for their antiviral activity against Herpes simplex virus (HSV). Extracts from Lemon balm showed a high antiviral activity against HSV-1, HSV-2 and acyclovir resistant strains2. In a recent in vitro study, lemon balm was proved to be effective against Candida albicans3.

The aromatic herb Melissa officinalis L. can be used as an easily accessible source of natural antioxidants and as a possible food supplement and as a phytochemical. Investigations on M. officinalis extracts showed a free radical scavenging, antibacterial, and antiproliferative activities4. An in vitro study in which methanol extracts of M. officinalis tested, against anaerobic and facultative aerobic periodontal bacteria such as Porphyromonas gingivalis, Prevotella spp., Fusobacterium nucleatum, Capnocytophaga gingivalis, Veilonella parvula, Eikenella corrodens, Peptostreptococcus micros and Actinomyces odontolyticus depicted a minimum inhibitory concentration5. Aqueous extracts from lemon balm has drastically and rapidly reduced the infectivity of HIV-1 virions at non-cytotoxic concentrations. An extract-induced enhancement of the virion's density prior to its surface engagement appears to be the most likely mode of action. By harboring also a strong activity against Herpes simplex virus type 2, these extracts may provide a basis for the development of novel virucidal topical microbicides6.

An in vitro cytotoxicity assay indicated that essential oil of M. officinalis was very effective against a series of human cancer cell lines (A549, MCF-7, Caco-2, HL-60, K562) and proved to possess antioxidant activity, as evidenced by reduction of 1,1-diphenyl-2-picryl-hydrazyl (DPPH). So it can be a potential antitumoral agent1. It can also be used to stop bleeding by applying to injury7.
There are numerous such herbs in Ayurveda comprising many hidden properties like lemon balm which could be beneficial. Several in vitro studies are conducted with success using lemon balm. So, as a next step human trial is required to be conducted with lemon balm.

Key words: Lemon Balm

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