|Latin name||Melissa officinalis|
|Synonyms||Lemon balm, Hearts Delight|
|Extraction||Steam distillation of the flowering tops|
|Origin||Mediterranean, Egypt, North Africa (mainly cultivated in France)|
|Plant characteristics||A perennial plant about 60cms high with a hairy stem, dark green leaves and small white flowers. The plant is highly aromatic and the oil is distilled from the flowering tops.|
|Oil characteristics||A pale yellow liquid with a rich lemon smell accompanied by green, earthy, grounding undertones.|
|Traditional use||One of the earliest known medicinal herbs, Paracelsus called it ‘The elixir of life’. It was associated with nervous disorders, the heart and the emotions and was used for anxiety and melancholy. It was also used to help to promote a regular menstrual cycle and increase fertility. In France the leaves are still used in pharmaceutical and herbal products and it is in the British Pharmacopoeia.|
|Blends well with||Citrus oils, lavender, rose, geranium, rosemary essential oil|
|Cautions and comments||No known contra-indications. Use in dilution only on the skin as there is a slight risk of irritation. Melissa is used extensively as a fragrance component in toiletries and cosmetics. Also used to flavour alcoholic and soft drinks.|
|Main chemical constituents||Aldehydes (citronellal, geranial, neral) >75%.|
How to use?
4-5 drops in bath, on tissue or in a vaporiser. 15 drops in 50ml carrier.
WARNING – do not apply undiluted or internally. Keep away from children and eyes. Store in cool, dark place.