Lemon verbena extract shows promise in improving sleep quality and melatonin production

Sleep deficiency is a widespread issue affecting approximately 35% of the global population. Consequences range from non-restorative sleep, difficulties falling asleep, and frequent awakenings, leaving individuals feeling unrefreshed and potentially interfering with daily functions. In the long term, deficient sleep can have profound impacts on physical and mental well-being.

sleep inducing lemon verbena

Clinical study investigates lemon verbena’s sleep-promoting effects

A recent double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial conducted at the Medical School of the Catholic University of San Antonio de Murcia (UCAM) in Spain has shed light on the potential of lemon verbena extract in improving sleep quality. The study, led by Dr. Silvia Pérez-Piñero and published in the May 2024 issue of Nutrients, involved 71 healthy adult participants with reported sleep disturbances.

Study design and methodology

Participants were randomly assigned to receive either a 400mg capsule of lemon verbena extract (RelaxPLX, formulated by Monteloeder) or a placebo, which they consumed one hour before bedtime for 90 consecutive days. Subjective assessments, including Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) surveys and self-reported questionnaires, were used alongside objective actigraphy measurements to evaluate sleep parameters.

Promising results for lemon verbena extract

The study findings demonstrated significant improvements in overall sleep quality, sleep latency (time to fall asleep), sleep efficiency, and reduced sleep disruptions or awakenings in the RelaxPLX group compared to the placebo group. These improvements were observed as early as 45 days into the supplementation period.

Notably, nocturnal plasma melatonin levels increased by more than 14% in the RelaxPLX group, indicating the formula’s ability to naturally boost the body’s production of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin.

Mechanisms of action and formulation

Lemon verbena’s potential sleep-promoting effects are attributed to various mechanisms, including increased sensitivity to the inhibitory GABA-A receptor, enhanced expression of neuroprotective brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), and modulation of neurotransmitters like serotonin, noradrenaline, and dopamine. RelaxPLX has also demonstrated the ability to reduce cortisol, the stress hormone.

Monteloeder, a subsidiary of SUANNUTRA, employs a proprietary hydroalcoholic extraction and microfiltration process to concentrate the active compounds, primarily flavonoids, vitamins, and minerals, from selected lemon verbena leaves. The extract is standardized to 24% verbascosides, the key polyphenol responsible for the botanical’s soporific effect.

Historical context and industry perspective

Native to South America, lemon verbena has been traditionally used as a digestive aid, muscle relaxant, and for its pleasant lemon scent in teas and perfumes. In recent decades, it has gained attention as a natural solution for improving mood and addressing sleep problems.

“Botanical extracts have progressively gained the attention of consumers worldwide who are seeking natural interventions to improve well-being, and especially to promote a positive mental outlook and sleep quality. Our clinical studies endorse its role as an effective holistic solution for improving sleep and quality of life,” commented Maria Ángeles Gutiérrez, Marketing Director at Suannutra, Monteloeder’s parent company.

The study’s findings contribute to the growing body of evidence supporting the use of lemon verbena extract as a natural sleep aid, with potential implications for the nutraceutical and functional food industries.

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