Study: Lemon verbena extract may improve sleep quality

RelaxPLX by Monteloeder naturally promotes melatonin to induce sleep and enhance sleep quality, according to new clinical study

Results of a new clinical study has reinforced lemon verbena’s role in reducing the time taken to fall asleep and promote better sleep quality. Supplementation with RelaxPLX, a pure extract of lemon verbena (Aloysia citrodora) formulated by Monteloeder, was shown to improve sleep patterns and naturally increase endogenous secretion of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin.

Beyond its antioxidant properties, lemon verbena has been noted for its gentle sedative effects and ability to provide emotional comfort and boost sleep quality naturally.

Sleep deficit is one of the most prevalent complaints in the public health domain. It affects some 35% of the population worldwide. Resulting disorders range from non-restorative slumber, difficulties falling asleep, and frequent awakenings. Deficient sleep not only leaves subjects feeling unrefreshed, it may interfere with daily functions and, in the long term, can exert a profound impact on physical and mental wellness.

The randomised double-blind controlled study, led by Silvia Pérez-Piñero, PhD, was published in the May 2024 issue of Nutrients. Conducted at the Catholic University of San Antonio de Murcia (UCAM)’s medical school in Spain, the double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial1 included 71 healthy adult participants complaining of sleep disturbances as assessed by a validated questionnaire. The participants were randomly assigned a 400mg capsule of lemon verbena extract (RelaxPLX) or placebo which they were instructed to take one hour before bedtime for 90 consecutive days. The participants were also instructed not to make any changes to their dietary habits or levels of physical activity.

The positive effect of RelaxPLX on sleep quality was demonstrated through several measurement techniques. A visual analogue scale (VAS) survey assessment revealed significant improvements in overall sleep quality in the RelaxPLX group compared to the placebo group. In a short, self-reported questionnaire, participants in the RelaxPLX group reported improvements in drifting off to sleep more quickly, and experienced better sleep quality as opposed to those in the placebo group. These reports matched actigraphy measurement results that recorded physiological improvements in sleep latency, sleep efficiency, and fewer sleep disruptions or awakenings. These improvements were already noted midway through the study following 45 days of supplementation.

Additionally, nocturnal plasma melatonin levels increased in the RelaxPLX subjects by more than 14%, demonstrating the formula’s ability to naturally boost the body’s innate production of the sleep hormone melatonin. This is a trait highly sought after in the supplement space.

“We discovered the positive effects of our lemon verbena on sleep while evaluating its use for joint health in athletes,” informed Maria Ángeles Gutiérrez, SuanNnutra’s marketing director. “This initial finding spurred the development of RelaxPLX. Since then, we have explored how standardised doses can improve sleep quality, which we believe is a critical component of overall health, mental well-being, and longevity. Our first eight-week clinical trial on 40 participants demonstrated RelaxPLX’s capabilities in alleviating occasional stress and sleep difficulties. The current clinical study aimed to confirm and delve deeper into these benefits.”

Monteloeder applied a method of hydroalcoholic extraction of selected lemon verbena leaves to deliver a pure concentration of active compounds, primarily flavonoids, vitamins, and minerals. Microfiltration further concentrated the active compounds, followed by low-temperature drying to preserve them. RelaxPLX is standardised to 24% verbascosides, the key polyphenol found in lemon verbena leaves and responsible for the soporific effect of the botanical.

“As the key cultivators and formulators of lemon verbena for the product, we have committed many years to analysing its attributes and mechanism of action, and have unfolded multiple biological activities. Its natural capacity to stimulate melatonin was a particularly promising revelation,” asserted Anthony Weston, CEO of SUANNUTRA.

Some of the mechanisms through which lemon verbena exerts its beneficial activities include: increasing sensitivity to the relaxing GABA-A receptor, enhancing expression of neuroprotective brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), and enhancing production of serotonin, noradrenaline, and dopamine. RelaxPLX has also demonstrated abilities to reduce the stress hormone cortisol. Previous pharmacokinetic analysis of RelaxPLX showed rapid absorption of the verbascosides with maximum plasma concentrations achieved within 20 minutes

Native to South America, the aromatic lemon verbena shrub was recognised for its traditional use as a digestive aid and to reduce muscle spasms and tension. It has been enjoyed in tea infusions and as a perfume due to its pleasant lemon scent. In the past few decades, lemon verbena has resurfaced as an herbal solution to improve mood and, more recently, to address 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,” concluded Gutiérrez.