23rd November 2023
This month, our aligned oil and plant is the beautiful Melissa. Derived from the Melissa officinalis plant, commonly known as lemon balm, this plant has been revered for centuries for its profound impact on physical health, emotional balance, and spiritual awakening. It's fragrance can be best described as sweet, citrusy, and herbaceous. It carries a distinct lemony aroma with floral undertones, which is simultaneously uplifting and calming. Melissa is extracted through steam distillation of the leaves and flowers and it is one of the most precious and expensive essential oils available because it has a very low essential oil yield. This means that Melissa is commonly adulterated with synthetic components or other similar smelling, but cheaper, oils such as lemongrass, palmarossa or lisea.
The primary chemical consituents of Melissa are Geraniol which is known for its antimicrobial, anti-inflamatory, antioxident, anti-cancer and neuroprotective properties; Neral and Citral which are thought to be antioxidant, anti-inflamatory, and protect the body from free radical damage; and Beta-Caryophellene which research has shown to be antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anticancer, cardioprotective, hepatoprotective, gastroprotective, nephroprotective, antimicrobial, and immune-modulatory.
Selecting oils to work with that traditionally fall under the auspices of the current astrological sign can offer us the opportunity to heal specific aspects of ourselves in alignment with, and fully supported by the flows and cycles of nature, creating an alchemy between the plants, planetary energies and ourselves which can be deeply healing. On the 22nd November, the Sun moved into the sign of Sagittarius. Represented by the Archer, ruled by the planet Jupiter, Sagittarius is a fire sign of vision, learning, adventure, and philosophy. Native Sagittarians are born adventurers, mystics, teachers and perpetual students. Optimistic and freedom loving, they posess an insatiable curiousity about the world, always seeking knowledge, wisdom and truth. Melissa is ruled by the sign of Sagittarius and by Jupiter so it can be seen to bring us these qualities on an alchemical level. Often known as the oil of light, Melissa encourages us to release all that is dimming our personal inner fire and light and open up to greater levels of illumination and personal truth.
On the physical level Melissa is traditionally known for its its antiviral and antibacterial properties, offering immune support and aiding in the prevention of infections, particularly cold and flu, cold sores, and other infective skin complaints. Its gentle nature also makes it suitable for supporting digestive issues, providing relief from indigestion and promoting a harmonious gut environment.
Melissa is generally used when we are feeling despair, hoplessness, darkness, overburdened, overwhelmed, or have lost the will to carry on. When we feel weighed down by the burdens of life, Melissa can offer us the strength to carry on by uplifting us and reconnecting us to others and to our spiritual truth. It reminds of the light that we carry within us and reinvgorates our enthusiasm for life, reminding us of the joy of living.
Melissa is an oil that is used topically, aromatically and internally in aromatic medicine. Try the following;
Aromatically: Place a few drops in the diffuser with any of it's companion oils - frankincense, copaiba, peppermint, tangerine, lime, yarrow, or tulsi
Topically: Place 20-40 drops in a 10ml roller and apply to the pulse points or over the heart morning and evening
Internally: Take one drop daily, sublingually (it's bitter!) or in a capsule, for up to 30 days. This could be done for the month of Sagittarius as magical and devotional journey, or to support the immune system through the darkest days of the year.
Fresh or dried Melissa (lemon balm) may also be taken as a tea.
Place 1-2 teaspoons in a pot or tea diffuser. Pour over boiling water and sweeten with a little honey if desired. Drink as often as desired.
*This article assumes that you are fit and well and do not suffer from allregies or sensitivities. If you are experiencing a medical condition, check with your GP or Aromatic Medicine Practitioner before following any recommendations.
*If you plan to use essential oils internally, ensure that you are using pure, therapeutic oils and do not exceed the recommended dose. I tend to use doTERRA oils in my personal practice and with clients as they are certified as safe for this purose where appropriate.