Family: Labiatae or Lamiaceae
Description: Melissa is also called lemon balm or balm, and is a sweet-scented, perennial bushy herb with green serrated leaves and small white or pink flowers. The essential oil is steam-distilled from the flowering tops and leaves.
Countries of origin: France, Germany, Italy, Spain, England
Characteristics: Melissa has warm, fresh, lemon-sherbet top notes and sweet, radiant, delicate, balsamic, herbal undertones. It blends well with the florals and citruses, especially lavender, rose and geranium, and also with myrtle.
Main therapeutic properties: Anti-depressant, antiseptic, anti-spasmodic, anti-viral, bactericidal, carminative, febrifuge, hypotensor, nervine, sedative, tonic.
Melissa is one of the best essential oils for shock, depression, grief and anxiety: it enhances life, gladdens the spirit and chases away dark thoughts.
It helps you find inner contentment by calming a troubled mind, strengthening the emotions and surrounding you with joy. Melissa has been called the ‘elixir of life’, which admirably describes this lovely essential oil. Overall, melissa is revitalizing, uplifting and fortifying.
The tonic properties of melissa benefit the cardiovascular system, lowering high blood pressure, having a general tonic effect on the heart and regulating over-rapid breathing. Melissa also has a regulating effect on the digestive system, reducing cramps and helping with nausea and indigestion, especially when aggravated by stress. It relieves stress, insomnia and nervous tension. Melissa is incredibly expensive, so is best used sparingly in mood perfumes and massage oils.
Psychologically, melissa is sedative, uplifting and deeply calming, and is good for meditation, especially to counteract anger and allay grief. It strengthens the heart chakra and inspires universal love and divine joy.
Contraindications: Avoid if you have very sensitive skin and always use it in small amounts – no more than 1 per cent.