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A randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled study of the effect of a combination of lemon verbena extract and fish oil omega-3 fatty acid on joint management. Christy Goff and Danielle Taylor. Research from article. Lemon Verbena Extract

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Christy Goff and Danielle Taylor

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A randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled study of the effect of a combination of lemon verbena extract and fish oil omega-3 fatty acid on joint management

Christy Goff and Danielle Taylor

Research from article

  • Lemon Verbena Extract

    • Used in South America and Southern Europe for asthma, colds, fevers, flatulence, colic, diarrhea, indigestion

    • Verbascoside – main compound with strong AOX and anti-inflammatory properties

    • Plant phytochemicals can have significant protective effects against inflammation-related chronic diseases

  • Fish Oil

    • Shown to have immunomodulatory effects

    • Reduce production of pro-inflammatory eicosanoids in RA


  • To test the ability of lemon verbena extract and fish oil supplementation to improve the general condition of joints (pain, stiffness, and function) in subjects already experiencing joint pain.


  • Double blind, placebo-controlled, randomized nine week intervention

  • 45 participants enrolled

    • 23 were given the supplement and 22 were given a placebo

    • 14 individuals did not complete the study

  • Weeks 1-5: Consumed 6 capsules per day of 370mg fish oil powder and 230mg of lemon verbena extract for the first five weeks

  • Weeks 6-9: Reduced to 3 capsules daily

  • Completed disease specific questionnaires once a week to measure pain/stiffness, function and physical activity


  • At baseline: No significant different between the treatment group and the placebo group (age, gender, BMI, physical characteristics) using WOMAC and Lequesne’s Functional Index

  • After nine week intervention: A significant improvement of joint stiffness/pain after 3 weeks of supplementation and with function after 4 weeks

    • WOMAC index increased approximately 53% after 9 weeks in the supplementation group and did not decrease in placebo group

    • Decrease in Lequesne’sfunctional index after 4 weeks, dropping 78% compared to baseline


  • First intervention study to show improvement in joint pain management after supplementing with fish oil and herbs after 9 weeks

  • Researches estimate the participants daily intake of lemon verbena extract was between 3000-7000 ORAC units


  • Strength:

    • Well constructed study – double-blind, placebo controlled, randomized, weekly questionnaires, 2 week washout period

  • Weakness:

    • 14 participants dropped out of the study

    • Did not separately test fish oil vs. lemon verbena

    • Used ORAC value of lemon verbena extract as a criteria for choosing this herb

Comparative information from Databases

  • Natural Medicine Comprehensive Database

    • Lemon Verbena: Used for digestive disorders, agitation, insomnia, asthma, cold, fever, skin conditions, constipation

      • Prepared as a tea, not extract

  • Fish Oil: Used as a treatment for RA

    • Possible effective: Taking fish oil orally, alone or in combination with naproxen, seems to significantly decrease the duration of morning stiffness in patients with RA

    • Use of fish oil might also reduce non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) requirements when taken together

Comparative information from Databases

  • Up to date:

    • Lemon verbena - No information found

    • Fish oil - found to be associated with low rates of coronary heart disease

  • Natural Standard:

    • Lemon verbena - No information found

    • Fish Oil – Given the letter grade A for rheumatoid arthritis

      • Significant reductions in tender joints and morning stiffness vs dietary controls

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