Who doesn’t like the smell of fresh-cut lemons? So energizing, vibrant and refreshing. Lemon balm, or Melissa officinalis, is a perennial herb in the mint family that has a delightfully fresh, lemony scent. The plant can grow up to three feet tall, and blooms with tiny white flowers from summer through fall. Bees are very attracted to the pollen produced by the flowers; in fact, the genus name Melissa comes from the Greek word for honeybee.
Essential oil extracted from the lemon balm plant is commonly sold in stores as “Melissa essential oil.” It is one of the rarest, most expensive oils in the world because it requires such a large amount of the fragrant herb to yield a small amount of oil–it takes 95,000 pounds of dried plant material to yield just one gallon of Melissa essential oil. As a result, there are many cheap imitations on the market labeled “lemon balm oil,” which may be adulterated with lemon oil or lemongrass oil. Consumers beware!
Pure Melissa essential oil is generally used to alleviate digestive and respiratory problems originating in the nervous system.* The oils in the lemon balm plant have a calming effect, which also make it useful for depression, menstrual cramps and stress-related conditions.
You can use Melissa essential oil in an aromatherapy diffuser, or chop fresh lemon balm leaves and add them to salads or fruit dishes. You can also make a refreshing herbal tea by adding 2 tablespoons of torn or chopped lemon balm leaves to one cup of boiling water. Steep for up to 10 minutes, strain and drink. Hot or cold lemon balm tea will put a zing in your step!
To learn more about preparing, mixing and using essential oils for health and wellness, come to Yoga Nook instructor Cindi Hunt’s Essential Oils Wellness Workshop at the Nook on Saturday, June 27 from 12:30-2:00 p.m.
In this fun, hands-on workshop, you’ll be able to smell, apply and even taste dozens of essential oils. Cindi will show you how to use oils in your home, in your cooking and for proactive healthcare–for only $15 a person. You’ll get to make and take home your own room spritzer and de-stress with special essential oil combinations.
Hope to see you there!
Essential Oils Wellness Workshop with Cindi Hunt
Saturday, June 27
*Please note, Melissa essential oil should always be diluted and should not be applied to sensitive skin. To avoid contact with sensitive areas such as eyes and nose, always wash your hands after handling the fresh herb or essential oil.
Image credit: hitomi on Flickr (CC)