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25 January 2022 / Laura Garvin Gomez

Melissa Essential Oil: History, Uses and Benefits

Melissa, or lemon balm, essential oil has many soothing, healing and protective abilities.

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Zoomed in picture of lucious green melissa plant.

Also known as lemon balm, melissa essential oil is most well-known as a home remedy for cold sores.

It has had a diverse and extensive medical history, however, with its uses originating over two thousand years ago with the Ancient Greeks and Romans. 

Back then, it was thought to be beneficial for the brain – including its impact on memory and mood - and these claims have since been scientifically confirmed.

Find out just what makes this treasure-like oil a beneficial asset to your wellness routine, how to use it, and what inspired its rich history.

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What is Melissa Essential Oil?

Rich and lemony with a pale-yellow colouring, melissa oil is a pleasantly bright remedy that is considered a rare addition to the aromatherapy world.

Extracted via steam distillation from the leaves and flowering tops of the melissa herb, native to Europe and Asia, melissa is often blended with other oils like lemon, lemongrass, or citronella oil to help retain its accessibility.

Identifiable by the botanical name Melissa officinalis L., melissa oil is so rare because it is produced from a seasonal plant that tends to produce a much lower yield than other crops. This scarcity contributes to its expense.

The nickname lemon balm comes as a result of the oil’s extensive use in all sorts of balms, providing them with their sweet and herbaceous aromas.

What are the benefits of Melissa Essential Oil?

Despite its rarity and expense in its purest form, even adulterated versions of melissa oil can produce incredibly potent and sure-fire benefits.

Some of these benefits include:

  • Strong anti-inflammatory properties
  • Ability to prevent infections
  • Promoting skin health
  • Treating cold sores
  • Lifting low moods

Close up picture of the melissa plant.

Is melissa essential oil a strong anti-inflammatory?

Melissa oil is a great choice for relieving pain or discomfort caused by inflammation, having powerful anti-inflammatory properties that have been heavily noted by researchers.

A found that melissa oil was able to significantly reduce and inhibit edema - a swelling caused by fluid trapped in the body’s tissue – by minimising inflammation and pain within the affected area.

If you find yourself suffering from inflamed muscles or joints, topically applying some diluted melissa oil may help relieve the area.

Some sources claim that ingesting the oil may also provide a similar effect, however it is never recommended to ingest any type of essential oil.

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Can melissa oil help prevent infections?

Many studies have tested melissa oil’s effectiveness on various strains of bacteria and the infections they lead to.

A , for example, tested the oil’s effectiveness on several complex bacteria types, including candida, and found that it exhibited a high amount of antibacterial activity – surprisingly higher than that of the infamous lavender essential oil.

This is thought to be due to the presence of melissa’s natural components citral, citronellal, and trans-caryophyllene, which all have strong antimicrobial qualities.

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Does melissa essential oil promote skin health?

Melissa oil has gained significant traction as a natural way to treat acne, eczema, and other related skin conditions that can often be debilitating to the sufferer.

These effects are thanks to the oil’s antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory properties, as well as its gentle treatment of the skin.

In various studies, melissa oil has been found to speed up the healing times of these conditions, as well as those of minor skin wounds.

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Is melissa oil good for treating cold sores?

Melissa oil is also a famously effective home remedy against cold sores.

It is able to fight and inhibit the spread of all viral infections within the herpes family (which common cold sores are a part of) and can be especially useful for those who have a greater resistance to anti-viral medications.  

A found that melissa oil was able to successfully eradicate more than one strain of the herpes virus almost completely, leading to scientific belief that topical application could be a sufficient remedy against the condition.

These findings are not only due to the oil’s antiviral effects, but also its lipophilic nature, which allows the oil to dissolve easily through the skin.

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Can melissa essential oil help to lift mood?

Melissa oil has been said by many to have effective antidepressant and sedative properties which can help balance emotions and promote a sense of relaxation.

A at the University of Melbourne found that melissa essential oil was able to improve symptoms of anxiety and depression in participants, as well as boost their cognition overall.

A similar effect was observed among young volunteers in a , when simply exposing the participants to low doses of the oil still managed to result in an increase in calmness.

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How to use Melissa Essential Oil

Aromatherapy

The sweet, lightly citrusy aromas of melissa oil are a welcome addition for those that appreciate summery, balsamic, and herbaceous scents in their home.

Melissa oil is also known to help increase positivity and promote relaxation overall, so carrying some with you to gently inhale in times of anxiety can help give you a much-needed boost.

You can also try adding a few drops to your diffuser or oil burner to encourage a sense of calm in your spaces.

Skincare

The benefits of melissa oil for skin are certainly not going unnoticed and incorporating it into your daily wellness routine may be a good way to reduce any bacteria building up on the skin.

Melissa is particularly useful for sufferers of acne, eczema, or any other debilitating skin conditions, as it is naturally very gentle. Try combining a small amount with a skin-soothing carrier oil and spot-treating flared areas.

Massage

Diluting melissa with a carrier oil and massaging it into painful or inflamed areas of the body may be a good way to provide effective, all-natural relief.

This is due to the oil’s anti-inflammatory properties, which can help soothe and repair these areas over time.

Candle making & soap making

Like all essential oils, melissa oil makes for a fantastic scent note in any aromatherapy project.

Make sure you’re following a tested recipe if you’re new to crafting, or feel free to check out some of our beginner’s guides for a helping hand.

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History of Melissa Essential Oil

Described by the 17th century herbalist John Evelyn as the “ruler of the brain”, melissa oil has celebrated many historical applications across numerous societies for its memory-boosting, mood-lifting effects.

In fact, 16th century physician Paracelsus believed the oil’s effects were so strong that they could completely revive a man.

Having been used for over 2000 years, originally by the Greeks and Romans, the melissa herb spread across Europe and was eventually taken by early colonists to the newly established Americas.

It was from there that the herb was said to be cultivated by Thomas Jefferson in his personal gardens.

    Melissa oil has been consistently used for its cheering, uplifting effects for centuries – an impressive endurance that shows just how special the oil is.

    Whilst getting your hands on absolute melissa oil may prove very expensive, the altered products on the market share enough of these benefits to give you that sunny feeling.

    Shop our melissa essential oil.

    100% Pure Melissa Essential Oil 10ml | Nikura

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