Its scientific name is Melissa officinalis, it is a perennial plant, the origin of its name derives from the fact that it is much sought after by bees. In addition to the listed properties it is an excellent aromatic herb, with fresh leaves it is used to flavor salads and meats while the dried flowers are used to prepare decoctions and calming herbal teas. From the industrial distillation of fresh flowers instead aromas are obtained for the preparation of various liqueurs including chartreuse and arquebuse. From the lemon balm plants an essential oil is also extracted from the limonine odor widely used in cosmetics for soothing creams. Massaged pure on the temples, the essential oil of lemon balm relieves stress headaches. In fact the main use of Melissa is soothing, very effective as a natural remedy in cases of anxiety and insomnia. But its benefits do not stop there, the decoction of lemon balm has an excellent anti-inflammatory action and is successfully used in the treatment of menstrual pains, abdominal cramps or colitis and diseases of the digestive system. The extract obtained from fresh lemon balm leaves has antiviral properties and is effective in treating herpes simplex. Lemon balm has multiple uses both in the cosmetic and herbal fields, it is a very widespread and known plant. It has a very low toxicity index even if the pure essential oil is considered a narcotic and if taken pure in small doses it can slow down the heart beats and cause numbness.
General characteristics of the plant
Melissa officinalis is a very widespread plant in Europe and western Asia, is part of the Labiatae family, is subject to cultivation but can also be found easily in the wild. The plant is recognized beyond the characteristic oval shape of the leaves that can remember the mint leaves also for the intense smell of lemon. The plant reaches 80 centimeters from the ground, it develops campanula-shaped flowers ranging from pale yellow to pale pink. Flowering takes place from June to September. It is also often called citron grass or citronella due to its characteristic lemon aroma.
The name Melissa seems to derive from the Greek Meli or Honey because this plant is much loved by bees who, attracted by its scent, gladly suck their nectar. Melissa honey is very well known. Its use in medicine dates back to Galen. In the beginning it had only the "comforting" function of the patient in case of agitation and anxiety, later it was used in a massive way to cure mental disorders. In 1611 the Discalced Carmelite friars invented the balm oil which became commonly used as a self-medication in cases of agitation and neuralgia of various kinds. Its beneficial effect against melancholy was already known among the Arabs in the tenth century.
Therapeutic uses of the Melissa infusion
Lemon balm infusion has different therapeutic uses including the soothing bath. This remedy is a real cure for those people who continually suffer from agitation from stress or anxiety. It is prepared by infusing 100 grams of dried lemon balm leaves into three liters of water. The doses are abundant because the infusion must be consumed throughout the day. It has no contraindications so you can drink it in abundance. The possible toxicity is given by the proportions of lemon balm and water, in more massive percentages it may have predisposed psychotropic effects in subjects.
This infusion can be mixed with the bath water in a proportion of 1: 3 or a liter of lemon balm for every 3 liters of water to have a relaxing bath for the psyche and tonic for the skin. In fact this plant has antibacterial properties that make it perfect to replace or implement the use of soap. Lemon balm can rarely cause an allergic skin reaction, so before proceeding to the bath it is a good rule to dip a small portion of skin.
Melissa: Melissa's mother tincture
The mother tincture of lemon balm has phytotherapeutic use in cases of grastrite, aerophagia and infections that affect the intestine and in all cases of anxiety. The mother tincture is bought in herbal medicine and it is the task of the herbalist to advise the most suitable dosage according to the entity of the disorder to be treated.
In general, it is advisable never to exceed the limit of 50 drops diluted in a glass of water in order to reduce the impact of the alcohol of which the dye is composed and to take it twice a day between meals. The soothing beneficial effects are noticed in the short term while the most important curative aspects need some months of treatment.