Effect of Melissa officinalis (lemon balm) on sexual dysfunction in women: A double- blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study

Document Type: Research article


1 Department of Traditional Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Shahed university, Tehran, Iran

2 Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology Medical Science, Shahed University, Tehran, Iran

3 Department of Traditional medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Shahed University, Tehran, Iran.

4 cResearch Institute for Islamic and Complementary Medicine, Iran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.

5 Psychiatric and Clinical Psychology research Center, Roozbeh Psychiatric Hospital, Tehran University of Medical Sciences (TUMS), Tehran, Iran.

6 Research Institute for Islamic and Complementary Medicine, Iran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.

7 Department of Pharmacognosy, School of Pharmacy Shaheed Beheshti University of Medical. fTraditional medicine clinical trial research center, Shahed university, Tehran, Iran.

8 Department of Traditional medicine, faculty of medicine, Shahed University, Tehran, Iran

9 Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Faculty of Medical Science, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.


Hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD) is the most prevalent female sexual dysfunction (FSD) and its bio-psychosocial multifactorial etiology justifies its multifaceted treatment. In Iranian Traditional Medicine (ITM), the weakness of the main organs (heart, brain and liver) is one of the important causes of lack of sexual desire; hence, their strengthening is a priority during treatment. Melissa officinalis is one of the medicinal plants with tonic characteristics for the main organs in ITM and was used for treatment in this study. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the efficacy and safety of M. officinalis in the improvement of HSDD in women. Eighty nine (89) eligible women suffering from decreased sexual desire were randomly assigned to groups. The participants received medication (500 mg of aqueous extract of M. officinalis) or placebo 2 times a day for 4 weeks. Changes in scores of desire, arousal, lubrication, orgasm, satisfaction and pain were evaluated at the end of 4 weeks of treatment using the Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI) questionnaire in the two groups. Forty three participants completed the study. The increase in desire (P<0.001), arousal (P<0.001), lubrication (P<0.005), orgasm (P<0.001), satisfaction (P<0.001), pain (P<0.002) and FSFI total score (P<0.001) in the M. officinalis group was significantly more than that of the placebo group. The willingness to continue treatment was significantly higher in the M. officinalis as compared to the placebo group (P<0.001). M. officinalis may be a safe and effective herbal medicine for the improvement of HSDD in women.


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