Lemon Balm or Melissa Officinalis – (Also known as Melissa, balm, Bee balm) is of the mint family and has oval leaves with slightly scalloped edges and crinkly surface that, when rubbed, have a strong citronella or lemony mint fragrance. Used since ancient Rome, Melissa has a long and successful history as an herb of “good cheer” and plant that “uplifts the spirit,” and thus is well known as a sedative and nervine used for anxiety. It is commonly used to balance mood, aid in sleep, support healthy digestion, as well as promote a healthy heart and arteries.
Melissa is a favorite for herbalists treating symptoms of anxiety and sleeplessness. It is soothing both in scent and in taste. Headaches, stomach aches, nausea, depression and nervousness seem to melt under its tender, loving care. Used as a tea, this herb helps the body to digest food more effectively, ease spasms and cramps associated with IBS or other stomach discomforts and is gentle enough to be used with children. Melissa has vasodilative properties, which aid the constrictive throbbing of headaches and other minor body aches. It is also lovely used in a salve or liniment for minor scrapes, cuts, bites and stings. It’s sunny, fresh and uplifting scent make it a star in skin care and soap preparations.
Thriving in both sun and shade, soils of a wide pH, dry and damp conditions, Melissa teaches versatility, particularly in how we grow, just like its other minty cousins. If Melissa has showed up in your life, it may be time to ask yourself what conditions are present that you must embrace or overcome in order to thrive. Has a challenge surfaced that you resist? Have you identified an aspect of your life that feels unbearable, burdensome, like a whole lotta work? Melissa can help you identify the trouble and find ways to adapt and thrive amidst it, or maybe in spite of it.
Melissa is the Greek word for honeybee, so named because of the bees’ affinity to this beautifully scented, flowering herb. In Greek mythology, the group of nymphs called ‘Melissai’ were credited as those who discovered honey. Their symbol was the bee, and it was believed that they morphed into bees and at one such point, a swarm of these Melissai nymphs were believed to have guided wanderers to the ancient land of Ephesus, which is now Turkey.
Melissa magic is the magic of quiet, steady trust, sunny confidence, cheerfulness and clear intention.
- Gender: Feminine
- Element – Water
- Planet – Moon, Neptune
- Astrological sign – Cancer