“Melissa………., the name that sounds sweet, smells great and means ‘honeybee’ in Greek, is also known to the world as Lemon balm, Nectar of life, Life’s elixir, Cure-all, Sweet balm and Honey plant.”
Botanical name: Melissa Officinalis
From America to Australia, from Arabia to India, Melissa has not left any part of this world unhealed. Melissa is also referred to as lemon balm, while Paracelsus, a physician, botanist, alchemist, astrologer, and general occultist of the Renaissance period, described it as the ‘Elixir of life’. In southern Europe, melissa is also known as the ‘heart’s delight’. Melissa has been traditionally used for its therapeutic properties for several centuries and is said to be one of the earliest herbs used in medicine. Its use has been widespread since the 17th century. Traditionally, this essential oil, reported to be introduced in England by the Romans, is used to alleviate melancholy, anxiety, depression and several other nervous problems.
This essential oil is obtained by steam distilling the freshly collected buds, leaves and small green branches of melissa. Chemical analysis of melissa essential oil has revealed that it primarily encloses compounds, such as citronellal, cis ocimene, caryophyllene, acetate, trans ocimene, beta bourbonene, linalool, octanone, methyl hepenone, octanol, octenol, cis hexenol, copaene, neral, alpha humulene, delta cadinene, nerol, gamma cadinene and geraniol. This plant is especially well known for its comforting, memory enhancing and anti-depressant properties. The several therapeutic properties of this plant are discussed briefly below.
- Melissa essential oil has a soothing and comforting effect on the nerves. It not only helps to alleviate disorders of the nerves, but also acts as a stimulant for the nervous system. Melissa essential oil helps to keep the nervous system healthy, enables it to function appropriately and its potent aroma heals nervous disorders.
- Melissa possesses invigorating properties which help to bring about warm feelings and provides warmth to the respiratory system as well as the cardio-vascular system. These properties of melissa essential oil help to keep off frequent colds.
- This is one of the most important therapeutic properties of melissa essential oil. These properties not only help to cheer up one’s mood, but also drive away depression. It has been established that using this essential oil brings about a feeling of happiness and joy in people suffering from depression.
- Melissa essential oil is beneficial for the stomach, as it helps to stimulate gastric digestion and increases appetite. In addition, this oil also offers comfort to the stomach, tones it up and strengthens the muscles of the stomach. The most important attributes of melissa essential oil includes its extreme effectiveness in healing the wounds, ulcers or scratches in the stomach and offers safeguard from various infections.
- Melissa essential oil also possesses sedative and tranquilizing properties. Use of this essential oil has a soothing effect on the body and mind. It brings peace to an individual by comforting his or her body, mind and the soul. Long back, melissa essential oil was used by fatigued soldiers to enable them to get rid of weariness and provide relaxation.
- Melissa essential oil is an effective remedy for reducing fevers or bringing down high body temperatures during fevers. The oil possesses anti-bacterial and anti-microbial properties which help it to fight against various infections. This oil is particularly effective in treating conditions like the infections of the intestines, colon, the kidneys and the urinary tract.
Similar to the essential oils obtained from rose and jasmine, melissa essential oil is very expensive because it is available in scant amounts. Melissa is claimed as one of the rarest essential oils just because it requires about 12,000 pounds of Melissa leaves to obtain 1 pound of its essential oil. That is why this oil is often adulterated by adding other oils, such as lemongrass essential oil. Only pure melissa essential oil containing the valuable therapeutic properties of the plant is used in aromatherapy, as only this will yield the desired results.
Blends well with
Since the leaves, buds and twigs of the melissa plant yields very less amount of essential oil, it is pretty expensive. This is one reason why unscrupulous traders often adulterate melissa essential oil by mixing citrus or lemongrass oils that are available in plenty. Hence, when you are buying this essential oil, you need to be extra cautious to ensure that you are getting the genuine melissa oil.
The benefits offered by melissa essential oil notwithstanding, it should never be used internally, primarily because it has been identified as a narcotic and may result in adverse after-effects. Pregnant women should avoid this essential oil during the initial five months of pregnancy. In addition, always use this essential oil in low concentrations. Water down melissa essential oil with appropriate carrier oils or by blending it with other essential oils before use.
Although melissa essential oil is known to be non-toxic and safe for external use, it may occasionally cause skin irritations or commotions, especially among those who are sensitive. Hence, it is advisable that people having sensitive skin should keep off melissa essential oil.