Melissa – Pretty Name, Pretty Scent – A Wonderful Essential Oil

Melissa officianalis

Melissa officinalis

Melissa is also called lemon balm. It belongs to the same family as lavender, marjoram, peppermint, sage, patchouli, rosemary, thyme, oregano and more. You can see how the leaf looks similar to some of the other herbs too, and it’s sometimes difficult to tell them apart just from a photo.

Like many plants that create essential oils, Melissa extract is used in Naturopathy extensively for calming nerves and anxiety. This is what the essential oil is good for as well. It has a lemon scent but is more refined than lemongrass, more subtle than lemon and more delicate than any lemon scented eucalyptus or tea tree.

many lemon scented plants exist in nature

many lemon scented plants exist in nature

And once again this plant has an interesting history in healing through the past centuries. The standout landmark for this lovely plant is traced back to the Carmelite Monks of France during medieval times, but this magical herb is recorded as far back as 550BC with the Temple of Artemis in Ephesus – and ancient Greek city now in Turkey. Then we have the founders of modern medicine talking about this herb; 40—90 AD with the Greek physician Dioscorides, and with the Roman naturalist and philosopher of the same time, Pliny the Elder. Thank goodness there are really brainy people who have looked back through ancient records and delivered the information to us.

So it seems as though this gorgeous little herb has the healing powers of the universe within its little green leaves.

Back to the Carmelite monks……… or was is the nuns of another Carmelite origin in the 1200’s? Melissa has been noted way back to the 800’s as a herb of great healing properties, and it seems as though the healing water made with melissa originated in the 14th century (or even earlier) but became more well-known when the Carmelite friars were granted patents by the kings Louis IV, V and VI of France under the name “Eau de Melisse de Carmes”. During these times the herb water was both drunk as a tonic and used as a cologne to wash away the stench and dirt of the streets – and the stink of the general population who did not wash frequently! The balm water also contained other herbs and was used as a panacea. Both original recipes of Benedictine and Chartreuse (the liqueurs from monastic origin) contained melissa but not sure if they do now.


Chartreuse – a lovely green herbal colour with over 100 ingredients

Our beautiful melissa lost favour as more herbs and plants were discovered for healing but it is still prized in Naturopathy and Aromatherapy today as a soothing balm for the emotions. In Aromatherapy we use melissa for –

* uplifting emotional states in depression

* soothing anxiety

* on the skin as an anti-viral – topically for cold sores

* vapourised in a room of sickness to help with nausea and to limit the spread of a virus (it seems that a lot of the lemon scented plants have a great anti-viral effect and I’ve always recommended vapourising lemon in the home if you have a sick person to reduce the spread of the virus or bacteria)

* on the stomach to reduce cramps

melissa flower - pic from

melissa flower – pic from

Melissa – also called balm and lemon balm – is best used to soothe the soul, mental anguish and to inspire happiness. Just take a whiff straight from the bottle.

It is a very expensive oil so you will probably find it in a 3% dilution ready to use straight from the bottle as a perfume, anointing oil and skin treatment for lesions. For more info see my article for more info on 3% blends in jojoba.

I hope you love melissa as much as I do!

copyright suzannerbanks 2013

The Moon – A Tarot Card Reading with Essential Oils

The Moon - XVIII from the Rider-Waite deck

The Moon – XVIII from the Rider-Waite deck

Have you been howling at the moon recently? We have had 3 super moons this year, the last one, just last week. Pretty amazing. We all know how the moon phases – especially the full moon – can make us feel a little crazy and emotional. We are connected to our universe in all respects and the moon represents our subconscious. What’s beneath our sunny side?

I was always a little freaked out by the lobster coming out of the water to bite me. This could represent dark and hidden fears emerging, or even needing to be revealed. Either way it’s a bit prickly. There is lots of water in the card and in tarot that speaks about our emotions, as does the moon.

The dog and the wolf show the balance of tame/wild. The moon is also reflected in the sun which also indicates balance is needed with our conscious and subconscious. If The Moon comes to you in a reading it could represent a willingness or absolute need to release deep fears and emotions from the past, to be able to move on.

It is the middle of the night so perhaps you’ve lost your way or have been blinded by your dark side of your fears? Maybe you just can’t see things clearly?



This could be a time when you are having incredible, wacky dreams. What is your subconscious trying to tell you?

The Moon could appear if it’s a time when you need to rely on your intuition or develop it. Follow your instincts like the wild wolf! Have courage.

Rely on, and develop your intuition (from

Rely on, and develop your intuition (from

Anyway I’m sure you get the vibe of this card so let’s look at what essential oils could help you acknowledge your fears and release past hurts.

1. Nourishing Body Oil Blend

For a coat of your body use 3 teaspoons of carrier oil in a little dish and, add 7 – 8 drops of essential oil.

***** Always put the drops of essential oil into the bottle or dish first, then add the carrier oil. It gives the scents time to create a synergistic fusion.

For a 50ml bottle of oil add 25 drops and see my article “Aromatherapy – It’s Easy as 1 2 3”

“I am Light and Dark”

Acknowledge your deep fears –

Geranium      3 drops

Melissa 3%   12 drops       * see my article for more info on 3% blends in jojoba


“Howling at the Moon”

Let your wild side out –

Black pepper     2 drops

Lemongrass       2 drops

Patchouli            3 drops


“I’m NOT Having a Meltdown”

Support your fragile emotions –

Fennel             2 drops

May Chang     2 drops

Peru Balsam   3 drops


essential oil diffuser

essential oil diffuser

2. Scent Your Space

In a traditional oil burner with a candle or a diffuser add 25 drops of oil

“I Get So Emotional Baby”

Everything will be ok –

Spearmint        6 drops

Lemon            10 drops

Siberian Fir      9 drops


“Release and Renew”

Purge the old stuff –

Juniper               8 drops

Pink Grapefruit  15 drops

Lavender            2 drops


“I Accept Myself Completely”

Allow yourself the freedom to feel what you want –

Cypress           12 drops

Orange              8 drops

Ylang Ylang      5 drops


Happy blending and remember to use your intention when you are creating your formulas. See my article about intention.

copyright suzannerbanks 2013