Lemon verbena extract may support stress and sleep quality, says recent study

A recently published study found that a proprietary lemon verbena extract called relaxplx from Monteloeder may help reduce stress and support sleep quality.

A recent study published in Nutrients1 found that a proprietary lemon verbena extract called relaxplx (from Monteloeder, based in Miami, FL) may help reduce stress and support sleep quality. In the study, 40 subjects were randomized to receive either 400 mg of the lemon verbena extract or placebo for eight weeks, followed by a four-week washout period. The Pittsburgh sleep quality index (PSQI) was used to measure sleep quality and perceived stress was analyzed using the perceived stress scale questionnaire. Researchers also measured cortisol levels in blood, and tracked sleep-related variables such as minutes asleep, times awake, minutes of light sleep, minutes of deep sleep, and minutes of REM with a Fitbit.

Results showed that supplementation significantly improved levels of perceived stress, particularly in the second month of supplementation. This effect persisted after the washout period with subjects taking the lemon verbena extract experiencing a 20.5% reduction, compared to baseline. Subjects taking the extract also saw a 15.6% decrease in cortisol levels, compared to baseline, but intergroup analysis did not reveal a statistically significant difference.

Supplementation with the lemon verbena extract was also associated with improvements in perceived stress. Compared to baseline, perceived stress was improved by 12.2% after eight weeks, however, improvements continued until after the washout period, improving 25.9%, compared to baseline. When separated by gender, more notable effects were observed in female subjects. Based on tracking from the Fitbit, subject taking the extract saw significant reductions in the number of times awakened during the night, significant increases in the amount of time while asleep in deep sleep, compared to baseline, and significant increases in REM, compared to the placebo group.

Based on previous studies, the researchers believe the results were due in part to the potent polyphenol verbascoside in the extract, which can bind to the GABA-A receptor similarly to benzodiazepines.

“It is common knowledge that lack of quality sleep can have negative impacts on many areas of both mental and physical wellbeing, and we are very pleased with the results of this study that may offer some hope and support,” said Marcos Lopez, regional director of business development for Monteloeder, in a press release. “In 2021, US Census data reported that people aged 18-44 reported higher rates of anxiety and depression. Natural, effective solutions like relaxplx are urgently needed as concerns about sleep and mental wellbeing have risen exponentially and today are some of the leading health challenges faced by consumers.”

Reference

  1. Martinez-Rodriguez A et al. “Anxiolytic effect and improved sleep quality in individuals taking Lippia citriodora extract.” Nutrients, vol. 14, no. 1 (2022): 218, https://doi.org/10.3390/nu14010218