Lemon Verbena May Help Post-Workout Muscle Recovery
Muscle damage that occurs as a result of exercise can make it difficult to continue with an exercise routine or even complete daily activities. A recent study suggests that taking a lemon verbena extract supplement may help reduce muscle damage caused by exhaustive exercise by moderately active people.
Participants in the study included 40 people between the ages of 22 and 50 who did not smoke, were moderately active, and had a BMI between 19 and 30 kg/m². They also ate five or fewer portions of fruits and vegetables per day.
Every morning for 15 days, the participants consumed either two capsules of 200 mg of lemon verbena extract or a maltodextrin placebo. They took the capsules for 10 days prior to an exhaustive exercise test, on the test day, and for four days after the test. The exhaustive exercise test included 200 counter-movement jumps with an additional load equivalent to 10% of the participant’s weight.
The researchers measured perceived muscle soreness by asking participants to sit in a chair, stand up again, and rate their pain. They also adminstered a seven-point questionnaire, which included evaluations of perceived pain during regular activities. The participants answered the questions immediately before the exercise test, and again 24, 48, 72, and 96 hours after the test. The researchers also used biochemical analyses of biomarkers including kinase, glutathione peroxidase, and interleukin-6 to assess muscle damage and antioxidative capacity.
At the conclusion of the study, the researchers noted less muscle damage and faster and fuller recovery in the lemon verbena group, when compared with the placebo. They also noted less exercise-related loss of muscle strength, improved glutathione peroxidase activity, and less induced pain in the lemon verbena group.
Researchers from Vital Solutions GmbH led the study. It was published on January 23, 2018, in Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition.
Lemon verbena is a flowering plant that has been traditionally used in folk medicine as a diuretic, a gout remedy and to treat inflammation of the liver and spleen. Previous studies have found that it may be useful for digestive disorders, agitation, joint pain, insomnia, asthma, cold, fever, and skin conditions.