by Matt Weik
If you train legs and can wake up the next couple of days feeling like a million bucks, then you didn’t train legs. We all know what follows any brutal leg day – the inability to sit down to take a dump, the look of fear when you see multiple flights of stairs, and the all too famous duck walk due to muscle soreness. You’ve paid your dues in order to build massive wheels, and DOMS is the real deal. However, there now appears to be a new extract that can help reduce muscle soreness (and not just from leg day).
Lemon Verbena Extract? Say What?
A group of researchers were looking for a natural supplement that could be used to reduce muscle soreness following intense bouts of exercise. What they found was that lemon verbena extract fits the bill.
To conduct the study, researchers gathered 40 participants (consisting of both men and women) who were moderately active and between the ages of 22 and 50 which is a pretty diverse age range. Each group was either given 200mg of maltodextrin (as the placebo) or 200mg of a product containing the lemon verbena extract to take twice a day for 10 days.
Participants were then asked to complete lower body exercise tests (a jump protocol) for the following five days (total length of the study was 15 days) where maximum effort was recorded and analyzed. The researchers mentioned that they placed an additional 10% weight (calculated based off of their current body weight) on the participants prior to the lower body tests. The participants were then asked to complete a 200-repetition max-effort jump protocol.
The researchers then analyzed each participant’s soreness in the following days by using a seven-question questionnaire. The participants were to answer the questions prior to engaging in the jump protocol as well as 24, 48, 72, and 96 hours following their test. In addition, the researchers checked the participant’s creatine kinase levels, interleukin-6 levels, and glutathione peroxidase levels to analyze both oxidative stress at the cellular level as well as actual muscle damage.
The questions asked on the questionnaire were geared towards pain levels in relation to normal daily activities like what all of us would go through on a daily basis following an intense leg workout such as sitting down on a chair and getting up from a chair along with other tasks.
After analyzing all of the data, the researchers found that the group who supplemented with the lemon verbena extract had less muscle soreness and damage when compared to the placebo group who used maltodextrin. In addition, they found that overall recovery time post-exercise was also improved with the group who supplemented with the lemon verbena extract.
Researchers are confident that lemon verbena extract is beneficial, but mentioned that they are looking to complete the study again, only next time with a much larger test group. But for the time being, they mentioned lemon verbena extract is an extremely viable option if you are looking to reduce post-exercise muscle soreness such as what is experienced with DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) from an intense daily workout.
While this study looked specifically at leg workouts, lemon verbena extract can be used to reduce any muscle soreness from grueling workouts in the gym. This could be an amazing supplement that you might want to add to your repertoire along with your post-workout recovery.
In addition, I can definitely see supplement companies jumping on this supplement and adding it to their recovery products such as BCAAs, EAAs, protein powders, etc. We might still be a little early in the game, but this research is definitely a step in the right direction. After all, I don’t think anyone who suffers from severe delayed onset muscle soreness enjoys the daily battle they go through with pain and being uncomfortable doing normal daily tasks. This could be a fix.
Buchwald-Werner, Sybille, et al. “Effects of lemon verbena extract (Recoverben) supplementation on muscle strength and recovery after exhaustive exercise: a randomized, placebo-controlled trial.” Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. 23 January, 2018.