Hello again. In October, I posted a question here, see: 'herbal medicine' - what did people think about it, etc? I also mentioned that I had read 'online' about some experimental trials relating to the herb, Melissa Officinalis (lemon balm), the results of which looked interesting. Several people here asked me to get back if I found out anything. The email replies I got back from the University (carrying out the trials) I've included below. Unfortunately - as a reader will find - it's all in its early stages: the effects are very short term (3-hours) at best. And, despite that lemon balm is quite easy to obtain, weighing the exact amount (requiring chemist's scales) would be a problem; n.b. is it 0.6 grams or 0.8 grams, that they used? As also, extracting the 'memory component.' Finally, I would suggest NOT to contact them! I think that the scientist concerned has probably told me as much as he can/should - ruptions might be caused if they started getting lots of requests. Though, if anyone feels like trying it 'long-term' they would be interested know the results - please email me back first. Email 1: "The work on lemon balm has stopped for the time being, it is difficult to get funding at present. I'm not really supposed to give this sort of advice, but feel its OK as Melissa is a very friendly non-toxic plant. We found that the traditional lemon balm tea, i.e. hot water extraction failed to extract the memory-active components, which would be discarded with the infused plant. It is, however, soluble in alcohol, we used 80% w/v alcohol. In the live Trials we carried out at Northumbria University, we administered powdered dried leaves in doses of 0.8-1.2 grams, finding the lower dose the most effective. Based on our work, a group of Iranian scientists administered an alcoholic extract to people suffering mild to moderate AD, and found that it improved memory and reduced agitation. In this case, the doses were similar to our study. It’s easiest to administer powdered leaf with a milky drink afterwards, or take it just before a meal so the active materials will have some fat or oil to dissolve in. We found you needed to harvest the plant during a 3-week period, one week prior to flowering to two weeks afterwards, to get maximum activity." "Please administer this material in consultation with the patient's GP. We don't know yet whether it’s effective over long periods." Email 2: "I'm afraid we wouldn't be allowed to dispense materials for human consumption, but I can tell you a few things about the plant. The memory-active component is fat or organic solvent-soluble rather than very water-soluble, so the traditional lemon balm tea made with hot water contains little of the memory component, but hot water does extract the sedative components. We found that 80% ethyl alcohol extracted the memory component best for our experiments, but in the live trial, we administered dried powdered leaves to our volunteers, and this worked. Taking a meal or milky drink with the dose would help to mobilise the memory component in the stomach because of the fat content of drink or food. Our volunteers experienced maximum memory improvement, which lasted about 1.5 hours, and tailed off over about 3 hours, when they took 0.6 grams of powdered leaf (about a rounded teaspoonful). The plant needs to be harvested from about 1 week before the first flowers open (late July/early August) to about 2 weeks after the first flowering. Outside of this window, memory activity falls quickly. Just cut the plants a few inches above ground level, tie them in bunches, and hang them up to dry somewhere in dim light, at room temperature (18-20 degrees Celsius) for7-10 days, remove the leaves and discard the stems, pack the dried leaves in paper bags, and store at room temperature in the dark. They retain their activity for 9-12 months. It’s best to grow your own (no pesticides and little fertiliser), as commercial dried herb can vary from OK to awful, and more importantly, you never have any idea when it’s been harvested, so it might look great, but be completely inactive. You ought to get plants of lemon balm at any garden centre, or cadge from friends-it’s a vigorous grower, and can be a bit invasive, like many members of the mint family." END. Regards, Stepan.