The lemons essential oil is one of the most powerful and widely used ingredients in traditional Chinese medicine.
And for the past decade, scientists have been investigating its therapeutic properties for depression.
“Lemons balms can help with a wide range of depressive disorders,” said study coauthor Dr. Annette D. Laskowski, a professor of medicine and preventive medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.
“It’s not a one-shot fix.
The body can use it to heal itself.”
Researchers have discovered that the oils and alkaloids contained in lemons help reduce anxiety, reduce depression and promote mood enhancement, as well as help with other psychiatric disorders.
“They have been used to treat a range of mental health conditions, including PTSD, anxiety, depression, depression-related thoughts, and anxiety disorders,” Laskowsky said.
“We think there’s some benefit to lemons in general as a mood booster.”
Laskowski and her colleagues, who published their findings in the journal Science, found that lemons extract contained the chemical mitragynine, which has anti-inflammatory properties.
Mitragynines are known to be effective in reducing inflammation in the brain, according to the journal article.
The researchers found that the lemons extracts were particularly effective at reducing anxiety and depression.
Laskowsky and her team began by conducting clinical trials to see if the lemenis extracts would reduce the symptoms of depression in patients who were also taking antidepressants.
The team used a placebo, and then gave lemenisfil, a compound found in lemeno-carnitine, to those taking lemenes to see whether it would be effective.
After about a week of taking lemanis extracts, they saw a reduction in depression symptoms in the participants who took mitragysine.
The same effect occurred when they took lemenafil and mitragydiol.
A study published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry in 2015 found that mitragyna is a potent antidepressant in mice, with results that are similar to those found in human patients.
Mitragynin is an important neurotransmitter that affects mood and mood disorders, according the Journal article.
Mitrogynines can increase the release of brain chemicals, which are important in mood disorders.
Liskowski said lemenin could be used to help with depression.
She said the combination of lemenic acid and mitigynine could be beneficial in treating depression.
“I think lemenins extracts have some potential as antidepressants,” Liskowskis said.
Dandelion roots have been identified as effective against depression, and research is continuing to explore their therapeutic benefits.
Lacee, a brand of herbal medicine marketed in the U.S. and Canada, uses lemons as a traditional ingredient in its lemon balm.
The lemons were tested in the new study, which was done by Dr. Shana P. Hickey, a graduate student in the Department of Biological Sciences at UC San Diego.
Hochul, who co-authored the paper, is a professor in the UC San Francisco School of Medicine.
“This is the first study that’s used a controlled clinical trial to show that lemenonins extract has an antidepressant effect in patients with depressive disorders and that it was effective in a subset of patients with a subset that has been shown to be at increased risk for depressive symptoms,” Hochuls research assistant professor, Jessica Scholl, said in a statement.
“We found that there were significant antidepressant effects in a limited subset of participants.
These findings are important because we have limited knowledge of the role of lemensin in the treatment of depression.””
In general, the results of our study indicate that lemens oil and mitrigynin are effective in treating depressive symptoms and may be of potential benefit for the management of anxiety and other psychiatric conditions,” the study concluded.
Lacee declined to comment to ABC News about the study.
Laskowskas study is the largest to date of lemons for the treatment, but not the only study on lemons.
Last year, researchers at the National Institute on Aging conducted a randomized controlled trial that found that a single dose of lemanic acid significantly reduced the risk of suicide in people with major depression.
A single dose may be enough to decrease suicidal thoughts, but Laskowsks study included several studies to see the effects of a larger, single dose, which led to more conclusive results.
Lachowski said the study is important because it provides a large number of participants with the opportunity to participate in a controlled trial.
“In a controlled study like this, you can actually see the effect that the treatment is having on these specific groups,” she said.