Melissa essential oil is extracted from Melissa officinalis of the Labiatae family and is also known as balm, lemon balm, as well as common, sweet and bee balm.
Melissa Essential Oil (aka Lemon Balm) has a couple of uses in aromatherapy and helps to bring calmness to the mind, while having a great sedating effect, calming the heartbeat and palpitations. It furthermore is used to correct menstrual problems, while having excellent results in fighting cold sores (herpes simplex), as well as fungal infections to a lesser degree.
Melissa Essential Oil has a sweet, fresh and citrus-like smell and is pale yellow in color and has a watery viscosity.
This plant from the Mediterranean region grows to about 60 cm (2 feet) and likes soil with a high iron content and has small serrated slightly hairy leaves and small white-pink flowers. The flowers are very attractive to bees; the name ‘Melissa’ is the Greek word for honeybee and is also know as “lemon balm’ or in Hebrew ‘Bal-Smin” meaning ‘Chief of oils.’ In the 14th century it was included in tonic water made by the French Carmelite nuns and Paracelsus (1493 – 1541) called this herb ‘The Elixir of life’ while John Evelyn (1620 -1706) described it as “sovereign for the brain, strengthening the memory, and powerfully chasing away melancholy”.
Melissa Essential Oil is extracted from the fresh flowering tops, leaves and stems by steam distillation and yields 0.01 – 0.02 %.
The therapeutic properties of Melissa Essential Oil are antidepressant, antispasmodic, bactericidal, carminative, cordial, diaphoretic, emmenagogue, febrifuge, hypotensive, nervine, sedative, stomachic, sudorific and tonic.
The main chemical components are trans-ocimene, cis-ocimene, 3-octanone, methyl hepenone, cis-3-hexenol, 3-octanol, 1-octen-3-ol, copaene, citronellal, linalool, b-bourbonene, caryophyllene, a-humulene, neral, germacrene-D, geranial, geranyl acetate, d-cadinene, y-cadinene, nerol and geraniol.
Melissa oil’s great benefit lies in its ability to calm and soothe the nerves, the digestive system, the heart, painful menstrual cycles and fevers.
Precautions and Uses
Melissa Essential Oil is non-toxic but could cause sensitization and irritation and should always be used in low dilutions. For this reason it should be avoided during pregnancy and by people with a very sensitive skin.
Melissa Essential Oil calms the nerves and has excellent qualities in fighting depression. Its sedative effect is well documented. It helps in cases of hysteria and panic and helps to slows the heartbeat, eases high blood pressure and is a tonic to the heart while regulating the menstrual cycle, also helping with period pains. It can settle the digestive system, helps with nausea, flatulence, vomiting, dyspepsia and dysentery and has a cooling effect on fevers. It can help with headaches and migraines associated with colds. When treatment is started in the early stages, it can also be used as a topical treatment for cold sores (herpes simplex).
In vapor therapy, melissa oil can assist with fighting depression as well as having a greatly calming effect on the mind, reducing fevers, easing headaches, and for combating nausea.
As a blended massage oil or used in the bath, melissa oil can help with fever, headaches, depression, feeling jittery and stressed-out, settle upset stomachs and fighting fungal infections.
Although the high aldehyde content of melissa oil may cause an allergic reaction in some individuals, it is useful to fight fungal infections, checking the blood flow in wounds and in some quarters it is also used to counteract baldness and hair loss.