Lemon balm kills cancer cells
Traditional healers in Europe have used lemon balm – scientific name Melissa officinalis – for centuries as an elixir of long life. They believed that those who took lemon balm every day would reach a ripe old age in good health. Researchers in Iran published the results of an in-vitro study, which would indeed suggest that lemon balm may be a longevity drug. The Iranian study revealed that the plant contains substances of which even small quantities inhibit and kill cancer cells.
The researchers performed experiments on four different types of cancer cell: the lung cancer cell A549, the breast cancer cell MCF-7, the ovarian cancer cell SKOV3 and the prostate cancer cell PC-3. The Iranians exposed the cells in test tubes to nothing at all [C(-)], the cancer drug paclitaxel [C(+)] or increasing concentrations of an extract of lemon balm.
The researchers made their extract themselves. The way they did this is shown below.
The extracts reduced the vitality of the cancer cells. That would mean the body's immune cells would be able to kill them more easily, that their growth rate would decrease and the ability of the cells to reproduce themselves would decrease.
Most noticeable was that the lemon-balm extract worked equally well in high and low concentrations. That would seem to suggest that lemon balm is also capable of providing protection from cancer in vivo as well.
"Our results indicate that a hydro-alcoholic extract of Melissa officinalis may possess a high potency to inhibit proliferation of different tumor cells in a dose independent manner, suggesting that an optimal biological dose is more important than a maximally tolerated one", the researchers summarised.
"Moreover, the antiproliferative effect of Melissa officinalis seems to be tumor type specific, as hormone dependant cancers were more sensitive to antitumoral effects of Melissa officinalis extract."
J Clin Psychol. 1985 Jan;41(1):35-41.
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Preventing & Surviving Cancer