Melissa

Melissa Essential Oil

melissaLatin name Melissa officinalis – Family Labiatae (Lamiaceae)

Melissa is also referred to as Sweet Balm, Common Balm, and Lemon Balm for its lemony scented leaves. The plant is especially attractive to bees (the name Melissa being Greek for “‘honey bee”). The oil has a reputation of being splendidly relaxing and cheering, however Melissa essential oil is very expensive and difficult to find in a pure, unadulterated form.

“German research has shown that the volatile oil, and in particular citral and citronellal, calm the central nervous system. The oil is also strongly antispasmodic.” The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants by Andrew Chevallier

“The plant, although it grows abundantly, producing the most wonderfully aromatic leaves in profusion, contains very little essential oil. It needs not only a special electronically controlled still and an expert distiller, but if harvested when wet or at the wrong time of day, it can yield no oil at all! As a result the cost is approximately the same as distilled rose otto.” Aromatherapy Workbook by Shirley Price

“The essential oil from the lemon balm plant is generally known to aromatherapists as melissa. They use its soothing properties to disperse depression and black thoughts. Add five or six drops of melissa to a hot bath.” The New Age Herbalist (If you have sensitive skin, reduce the amount or avoid altogether. In any case, we would suggest starting out with less and be sure to do a skin test first. Also see Special Precautions (below).)

Oil Selection Guide

Color – Pale yellow
Viscosity – Watery
Scent – Light, fresh, sweet, lemony, citrusy, herby
Perfume Aroma – Middle / top note

Oil Source Information

Plant Type – Herb
Parts Used – Flowering tops, leaves, stems
Countries of Origin – France, Ireland, Hungary, Egypt, Italy
Extraction Method – Steam distillation

Known Chemical Constituents

Neral, geranial, methyl heptenone, citronellal, citral, linalol, copaene, germacrene, citronellol caryophyllene, caryophyllene oxide, limonene

Uses of Melissa

Melissa is used some in aromatherapy and is also used in perfumes, toiletries, and cosmetics. Can also be found in commercial food and beverages.

Melissa blends well with

  • bergamot
  • eucalyptus globulus
  • frankincense
  • geranium
  • lavender
  • lime
  • neroli
  • petitgrain
  • roman chamomile
  • rose maroc
  • rose otto
  • sweet orange

Special Precautions*

Melissa essential oil can cause irritation to sensitive skin.
Sources recommend using well diluted if used on skin.
Watch out for adulterated oils.
* See Safety and Usage.

References and Resources

See References and Resources page.



Print article to PDFDownload PDF