Lemon Balm

- By: Aimee Regur

(Australian Wild Plum and Willow Facial Cleanser, Egyptian Calendula and Blood Orange Facial Cleanser, Argentinean Tangerine and Thyme Facial Toner, Italian Green Mandarin with Sweet Lime Facial Toner, Nigerian Ginger Lavender and Thyme Facial Cream)

Melissa officinalis is native to South-Central Europe, North Africa, the Mediterranean, Iran and Central Asia. It has been naturalized around temperate regions of the world.

xLemon Balm as a tea (using the dried or fresh leaves) is a powerful nervine and anti-viral! It is used to ease nerve pain, help with insomnia (not a sedative) by calming frazzled nerves and anxiousness. It has an uncanny ability to elevate the mood, especially in severely stressed out individuals. It also is used for SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder – people who get the blues in Winter – use it with St. John’s Wort). It is also very helpful for people who had ADD/ADHD, in these cases I use it with Holy Basil and another individually appropriate adaptogenic herbs. The high essential oil content of Melissa makes it very useful for upset, gassy stomachs, heartburn and gastric ulcers. It is also shown to inhibit the thyroid and can be used in a protocol for hyperthyroid conditions (monitor this and take it seriously).

Cosmetically Lemon Balm leaves are well known for being anti-viral and anti-bacterial. It has a soothing action on the skin, while also toning and increasing circulation. Healthy circulation is important for renewed and radiant skin! It contains a plethora of active constituents, two of which, caffeic and ferulic acids, which have been shown to inhibit the oxidative damage caused by UV rays! It is also very high in flavonoids, which attribute to its highly antioxidant quality. The anti-viral properties of Lemon Balm are best known for inhibiting oral and ophthalmic herpes topically, while also assisting in managing the stress response that causes the breakouts when taken internally. For a someone battling chicken pox or worse shingles, a bath of Lemon Balm is highly appropriate, use with essential oil of Lavender and pure organic oats in a large tea bag. The essential oil of Melissa is one of the most expensive oils due to the large amount of plant material needed. One kilo of dried herb (that’s A LOT) only yields .5mls of essential oil!

The earliest written records of Lemon Balm go back to Ephesus, located in modern Turkey. There we can find images of Artemis of Ephesus, the many-breasted Mother Goddess. The Great Goddess was considered the Queen Bee (Melissa being the Greek word for Bee), and the honeybee was a representation of the human soul, so any plant that attracted honey bees were considered sacred, Lemon Balm is one of their favorites. The Arabs introduced Lemon Balm to Europe in the 10th century, where it was soon praised by the Emperor Charlemagne, who ordered all monastery gardens to be planted with it (the monasteries often served as clinics and hospitals), where it was used to treat wounds and administered as a tonic. Paracelsus hailed Lemon Balm as the “Elixir of Life”. Shakespeare also loved Lemon Balm, using it in the secret code of the language of flowers to send sympathy to those he cared for. Melissa made its way to the United States with the colonists and was featured in Thomas Jefferson’s gardens of Monticello.

“Lemon Balm makes the heart merry and joyful“
– Arabian Proverb