Melissa officinalis has traditionally been used due to its effects on nervous system. Both methanolic and aqueous extracts were tested for protective effects on the PC12 cell line, free radical scavenging properties and neurological activities (inhibition of MAO-A and acetylcholinesterase enzymes and affinity to the GABA(A)-benzodiazepine receptor). The results suggest that the plant has a significant (P < 0.05) protective effect on hydrogen peroxide induced toxicity in PC12 cells. The radical scavenging properties were also investigated in cells and in cell free systems, where this plant was shown to be a good free radical scavenger. The MAO-A bioassay was also performed to detect possible antidepressant activities demonstrating that both extracts inhibited this enzyme, which has a key role in neurotransmitters metabolism. However, no activity was detected in the acetylcholinesterase and GABA assays. In general, the methanolic extract was more effective than the aqueous.
Neurochemical Research, 2009, Vol 34, Issue 11, p. 1955-1961