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Melissa (Melissa officinalis) Hydrosol, Quebec

Melissa (Melissa officinalis) Hydrosol, Quebec

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Melissa (Melissa officinalis) Hydrosol, Quebec

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Plant description

Latin Name : Melissa officinalis
English Name : Melissa, Lemon Balm, Bee Balm
French Name : Mélisse officinale
Family : Lamiaceae
Origin : Canada

History and Origin

 Melissa is indigenous around the Mediterranean sea. It is now common in Europe, Central Asia, North America, North Africa, and Western Siberia. It is a perennial herbaceous plant, more or less pubescent, with a strong lemon aroma. Melissa is one of most ancient medicinal plants. It was originally used mainly to treat nervous and cardiac problems as well as to act on the level of emotions (to treat anxiety, melancholy, etc.) as well as to reinforce and vitalize the spirit. In Native herbalism, it is used by the Cherokee as a cold remedy, febrifuge, stimulant and gastrointestinal aid.

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Aromatherapy Data Sheet

Extraction : Steam distillation
pH : 4.8-5
Aroma and taste : Not at all like the herb, which is remarkably stronger. The water is a lighter, more floral version of the oil. It has an unusual edge to its scent, like both the plant and the oil. The taste is mildly bitter undiluted and quite lemony but not citrusy, more the idea of lemon in a flavor. Becomes very soft, quite sweet, and delicious in dilution. A great favourite for a daily beverage. 
Stability and Shelf Life : Very stable; easily lasts two years or more. Melissa, thankfully, is unlikely to go off or grow a mold, and the aroma and taste remain fine for a very long time.

Properties and Applications

Melissa is calming to the body more than the mind but without being overly sedative. Use it for stress, anxiety, and childhood hysterics. Combine with rosemary while studying and with neroli to drink during exams. Has shown some positive results for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and is certainly worth trying instead of drugs like Ritalin for people of all ages. During pregnancy, lemon balm can be used to treat morning sickness, digestive upsets, and water retention and as a system tonic for general well-being. Melissa is gentle enough for use on babies; try adding a teaspoon to a night time bath or blend with German chamomile or yarrow for cradle cap and diaper rash. This hydrosol has both immune-stimulating and infection-fighting properties. Lemon balm is a gentle cholagogue as well as a good antioxidant and anti-inflammatory.


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Documentation and References

  • CATTY, Suzanne, Hydrosols: The Next Aromatherapy
  • The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils
  • La Flore Laurentienne
  • Native American Ethnobotany