Lemon Balm: Big Benefits of Rosmarinic Acid

One of the best for you herbs you can grow/gather. Seriously. The health benefits within the herb are not lost on big pharma.

Deciphering the therapeutical potentials of rosmarinic acid

Lemon balm is herbal tea used for soothing stomach cramps, indigestion, and nausea. Rosmarinic acid (RA) is one of its chemical constituents known for its therapeutic potentials against cancer, inflammatory and neuronal diseases such as the treatment of neurofibromatosis or prevention from Alzheimer’s diseases (AD)

Lemon Balm

Despite efforts, recovery and purification of RA in high yields has not been entirely successful. Here, we report its aqueous extraction with optimal conditions and decipher the structure by nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy. Using various physical–chemical and biological assays, we highlight its anti-aggregation inhibition potentials against the formation of Tau filaments, one of the hallmarks of AD. We then examine its anti-cancer potentials through reduction of the mitochondrial reductase activity in tumor cells and investigate its electrochemical properties by cyclic voltammetry. Our data demonstrates that RA is a prominent biologically active natural product with therapeutic potentials for drug discovery in AD, cancer therapy and inflammatory diseases.


Melissa officinalis, commonly known as lemon balm, is a therapeutic and culinary herb that belongs to the Labiatae family. Its major components include caffeic acid, rosmarinic acid, ferulic acid, and methyl carnosoate as well as other flavonoids1,2. Importantly, rosmarinic acid (RA) is a vital natural product reported for its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and anti-allergic activities3,4. RA is used to treat peptic ulcers, cataract, rheumatoid arthritis, Herpes simplex5,6, arthrosclerosis7, and bronchial asthma8,9,10. Also, RA has been identified in therapeutic strategies for the prevention against neurodegenerative diseases, most importantly from Alzheimer’s disease (AD)11,12.

AD is diagnosed by two hallmark aggregating proteins: intracellular Tau protein and extracellular neuritic plaques of amyloid Beta (Aβ) protein. Tau protein interacts physiologically with tubulin to stabilize and promote microtubule (MT) assemblies for transportation of vesicles and organelles. As AD advances, Tau protein becomes excessively phosphorylated, loses its ability to bind to MT and aggregates into Paired Helical Filaments (PHFs)13. This aggregation behavior is also stimulated in vitro by polyanions like RNA, heparin and acidic peptides14. Although there is still no contributing treatment or cure for AD, widespread research highlights the pathological consequences of these amyloidogenic formation and underlines therapeutic strategies through identification of natural products as inhibitors of Tau aggregation.We have previously identified two families of molecules that inhibit Tau filament formation: Phthalocyanine tetrasulfonate (PcTS) and Phenothiazines. PcTS interacts with the tyrosine residues of Tau at specific aromatic interactions that are essential in trapping prefibrillar species15.

On the other hand, phenothiazines specifically modify the cysteine residues of Tau and keep the protein in a monomeric disordered conformation thus preventing formation of filaments and their toxic precursors16. Equally important, the oligomeric and fibrillar aggregates of Aβ protein represent major molecular targets in drug discovery of AD. Accumulating research reported that RA binds directly to Aβ, inhibits its in vitro aggregation17 and delays disease progress in a Tg2576 AD mouse model18.

Remarkably, the use of natural products exhibiting anti-carcinogenic activities has been a wide field in cancer therapy19. A prominent natural product would modulate one or more of the various mechanisms of cellular proliferation, differentiation, apoptosis, angiogenesis, and metastasis of cancer cells. Carcinogenic components induce oxidative stress by production of excess reactive oxygen species (ROS), which results in apoptotic cell death after damaging DNA, proteins and cellular membranes20. RA scavenges radiation-induced ROS, prevents free radical-induced cell damage21 and provides a radioprotective effect against the ionizing radiation22. In a recent study, RA diminished Ultraviolet-induced damage in human keratinocytes which leads to skin cancer23

etc., etc.,

We’ve enjoyed lemon balm tea for years- Years and years! One can do an extraction to gain more medicinal benefit. One can also use the leaves (making a poultice) as a topical treatment. Clearly profiteering pharma can’t patent the plant lemon balm, but, they need to succeed in extracting Rosemarinic Acid in order to patent and make massive profits.


Leave a Reply