Synonyms: Lemon balm, balm, common balm, bee balm.
Aroma: Fresh, sweet, lemony, herbaceous.
Colour: Pale yellow.
Plant: Perennial herb that grows up to 90cm with tiny white or pink flowers. When crushed the leaves exude a sweet lemony aroma.
Main Growing Areas: France, Germany, Italy, Spain.
Major Constituents: Geranial, neral, citronellal, citral, beta-caryophyllene.
Interesting snippets: Melissa is said to be the name of the Cretan princess who first discovered how to get honey.
King Charlemagne (742-814) ordered lemon balm to be planted in every monastery garden because of its beauty.
Melissa was used in Arabia in the 10th century as a treatment for melancholy.
Part of Plant used / Extraction: Steam distillation of the aerial parts of the plant before it flowers. The highest yields are extracted in late summer from the lower parts of the plant. Oil yield is approximately 0.02% by weight. It is often adulterated with lemongrass or citronella oils.
Therapeutic actions: Cold sores, flu, shingles, nausea, migraines, painful periods.
Emotional and Spiritual: Nervous exhaustion.
Robbi Zeck writes that like a beam of light on a dark winter’s day, melissa softens extreme emotions, eases resentment, gladdens the heart and engages the soul in its own graceful rhythm.
Gabriel Mojay writes that melissa is important for depression, particularly in those who are emotionally sensitive, easily traumatised by confrontation and do not respond well to pressure. Melissa can reach the deepest layers of the psyche and can help to restore both clarity and security to a confused, dependent soul.
Fragrant Change Healing Card: I express my hurt and anger in a healthy way.
Safety: Possible skin irritant to hypersensitive people, possibly sensitising, non-toxic.
Sources: Battaglia S, The Complete Guide To Aromatherapy. The Perfect Potion, Australia (1995)
Bowles E.J, The A to Z of Essential Oils. New Burlington Books (2003)
Jefferies J, Melissa Essential Oil Profile. Aromatherapy Today, Vol.35 (2006)
Hodges C, Fragrant Change Healing Cards (2015)
Mojay G, Aromatherapy for Healing the Spirit. Hodder and Stoughton (1996)
Zeck R, The Blossoming Heart. Aroma Tours (2004)