From our garden we use two varieties of Mellisa Officinalis; Lime Balm and Lemon Balm. It is considered sour, sweet and bitter in taste. The Hydrosol is mainly sour.
Lime Balm has bigger, softer bright green leaves, a strong lime scent and flavour. A different strain than Lemon Balm with a distinct Lime flavour. Sweet fragrance is irresistible to children, gardeners and bees. Easy to grow and drought tolerant, this mint relative is best grown in containers if spreading is not wanted. Commonly grown herbal household remedy with a long tradition as a tonic that raises the spirits and lifts the heart.
The Greeks used both Lemon and Lime Balm as listed it in their Materia Medica as a healing agent against scorpion stings, insect and dog bites. The Greeks used an infusion of Lemon Balm and wine on insect bites or to cuts or scrapes to speed healing and treat and prevent infection. Pliny and several other ancient physicians believed strongly in its healing powers for wounds and inflammation prevention. Shakespeare mentioned it in The Merry Wives of Windsor as beneficial in making the house smell more festive and inviting to one’s guests. In the Middle Ages it was used to reduce stress and anxiety, promote sleep, improve appetite, and ease pain and discomfort associated with digestion. It is often combined with other calming, soothing herbs, such as Valerian, chamomile, and passionfruit, to enhance the overall relaxing effect.
Mellisa is considered the ultimate medicinal plant for emotional detox and has been used for centuries to “restore the joy of life to even the most melancholy” and alleviate stress and anxiety. In Ayurveda it balances all doshas. The herb is used for nervous agitation, functional gastrointestinal complaints, menstrual cramps, urinary spasms and symptoms of PMS. It is also said to improve memory and mental function. For a good night’s sleep, try Lemon Balm. It has been useful for combatting cold sores, caused by herpes and is even said to prevent baldness.
It has been used for thousands of years as a calmative that is good for all kinds of nervous problems, including tension headaches, migraines, neuralgia, hysteria, nervous tension, stress, anxiety, excitability and heart palpations. It improves sleep patterns and it may also be effective in treating Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Hyperactivity Disorders (ADHD), easing such symptoms as inability to listen, fidgeting, inability to sustain attention and shifting from one incomplete task to another. It appears to relax muscle tension without daytime drowsiness.
In the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, it shows great promise, it may even positively affect cognitive abilities, enhance memory and improve mental clarity. This effect may be due to its antioxidant content, which is thought to protect the body from damage caused by a chemical process called oxidation. Another small, but interesting, the study used Lemon balm extract, in aromatherapy, to calm overexcited individuals suffering from dementia. Dementia is an increasing deficiency in thought processing, caused by brain damage, such as by a stroke or diseases like Alzheimer’s disease.
Mellissa is effective in calming the digestive tract. It relieves dyspepsia, colic, gas, upset stomach, indigestion and stomach cramps. The herb has been used to relieve irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), often stopping the spasms and relieving the pain and cramps associated with the disease. And although it is strong enough to ease spasms, it is not so strong as to cause constipation. It is thought that the volatile oils of Lemon balm contain chemicals that actually relax muscles, particularly in the bladder and stomach, thereby relieving cramps, gas, and nausea.
Lemon Balm was used as an old folk remedy for treating feverish patients. It promotes perspiration and cools the body by breaking a fever. It is especially helpful for treating the aches and fever of colds and flu. It is said to relieve bronchial catarrh and some forms of asthma.
Melissa is used in Europe for treating thyroid problems and is shown to have thyroid regulating action, which has been known to block the attachment of thyroid cells by antibodies that cause Graves’ disease. This property of the herb along with its anti-viral characteristics has made it useful in the treatment of Chronic fatigue syndrome, or CFS.
Melissa strong anti-viral properties and volatile oils have been known to destroy viruses in test tubes in as little as three hours, and this quality makes the herb especially helpful in combating cold sores, herpes virus infection. It is also thought to relieve the pain, itching, and sting of an outbreak.
Topical use of Melissa has been proven to speed the healing time of herpes simplex virus sores on the mouth and genitals when applied externally in a cream or salve. At least part of this effect is due to the antiviral properties of caffeic acid and rosemarinic acid. Melissa is an antibacterial and when used externally, it makes a fine poultice that has anti-putrescent effects and has been used as a surgical dressing. It is good for tumors, insect bites, and stings, and it also cleanses sores and wounds on the body.
Ingredients: Lemon Balm, Lemon Balm, Distilled Water, 30% Alcohol.
Instructions: Use 6-12 drops in juice, water, under the tongue or as desired. May be taken 3 times daily. Shake well. Store in cool dark place. Keep out of reach of children. TO TREAT digestive problems, nervousness, depression, minor sleep problems INFUSION Put 1 tsp dried leaves into 1 cup of boiling water, then strain. Drink a cup at midday and a cup in the evening after food
Contraindications: Lemon Balm is mild, gentle, and safe for children. It is wise, however, not to take it concurrently with barbiturates for insomnia or anxiety, as it may increase their effects. With regard to the Essential Oil (only) of Lemon Balm, persons with glaucoma should avoid it, as animal studies show that it may raise the pressure in the eye.