BACKGROUND: Depression has rapidly progressed worldwide, and the need for an efficient treatment with low side effect has risen. Melissa officinalis L and Lavandula angustifolia Mill have been traditionally used in Asia for the treatment of depression. Many textbooks of traditional Persian medicine refer to these herbs for the treatment of depression while there are no adequate clinical trials to support this claim.
The present study aimed to evaluate the efficacy of M. officinalis and L. angustifolia compared to fluoxetine for the treatment of mild to moderate depression in an 8-week randomized, double-blind clinical trial.
METHODS: Forty-five adult outpatients who met the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th edition (DSM-5) for major depression, were randomly assigned to 3 groups to daily receive either M. officinalis (2 g) or L. angustifolia (2 g) or fluoxetine (20 mg) and were assessed in weeks 0, 2, 4 and 8 by the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HAM-D) including 17 items.
RESULTS: Our study showed that M. officinalis and L. angustifolia effect similar to fluoxetine in mild to moderate depression. (F = 0.131, df = 2,42, p = 0.877).
CONCLUSION: Due to some restrictions in this study including absence of placebo group, large-scale trials are needed to investigate the anti-depressant effect of these two herbs with more details.
Araj-Khodaei M, et al. A double-blind, randomized pilot study for comparison of Melissa officinalis L. and Lavandula angustifolia Mill. with Fluoxetine for the treatment of depression. BMC Complement Med Ther. 2020; 20: 207.