Lime Essential Oil


Lime--bannerAnyone for that matter would admire L…I…M…E as the fruit of Lasting Impression with Motherly Embrace. Undoubtedly Lime is such an adorable kitchen staple for more than thousands of years and its essential oil seldom falls short to heal our mind and body with its numinous aroma.

It can be named as an effective anti-blue fruit and oil for its ability to pacify your mood at times of depression and all kinds of blues including postpartum blues. Botanically named as Citrus aurantifolia, Lime is a limb of the citrus family Rutaceae.

Ayurveda uses Lime and its essential oil as a stimulant for treating skin problems, heart diseases, digestive disorders and mental mayhems. It has been used to boost brain power, purify the blood and aid in preventing memory loss. Certain other traditional medicines uses Lime as a remedy for treating gout, malignant tumors, throat infections and chronic skin diseases.

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Historical importance of Lime and its essential oil:

Lime has been a vital part of the folklore medicine for cleansing the system and revitalizing the mind. Aura is the life force or vital energy of any living thing and is called by different names in various healing systems. It is known as ‘prana’ in Ayurveda and ‘qi’ in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Lime is a powerful ancient remedy for cleansing the aura and restoring confidence.

Lime is indigenous to Asia and is now cultivated in numerous countries like America, West Indies and Italy. This evergreen tree bears white flowers and glittering green fruits. India is the largest Lime oil producing country in the world and Lime was introduced into Europe initially by the Moors and was then spread slowly to America. Lime essential oil is extracted by cold press method from the peel of the fruit.

Lime juice is widely known as a remedy for treating scurvy and it has been said that the ancient British sailors used it to prevent scurvy and other skin problems due to its rich Vitamin C content. Ships used for transporting Lime were adorably called as ‘lime juicers’.

The leaves of the Lime tree were used in the prehistoric period for treating poisonous bites and swellings. Apart from its medicinal uses Lime has been used in making pickles, sauces, desserts, jams, confectionaries, sorbets, marmalades, beverages, squashes, perfumes, household cleaners, detergents, soaps, cosmetics and other beauty products.

Chemical constituents or Gas Chromatography Report (GC) of Lime oil:

According to the Gas chromatography report, Lime oil constitutes of 13 chemical components that contribute to its fragrance, therapeutic attributes, consistency and quality of this oil. Of which, Limonene contributes to the highest proportion of Lime oil constituents with about 65.4% of its total composition.

Just click on:

I believe that this must certainly help you in getting to know the exclusive information about these prime chemical constituents of Lime oil.

The table crafted below clearly depicts the unique nature and contributions of these biochemical constituents to the healing magnificence of Lime essential oil.

lime-oil

Therapeutic properties of Lime essential oil:

A 2003 study on ‘Characterization of aroma volatiles in key lime essential oils (Citrus aurantifolia Swingle)’ state “Geranial, neral and linalool were found to dominate the lime oil aroma in both oils, which accounted for their fresh, floral citrus-like character.”

These components contribute to its remedial values like astringent, tonic, haemostatic, disinfectant, antiseptic, antimicrobial, antiviral, aperitif, restorative, stimulant and bactericidal.

Ayurvedic health benefits of Lime essential oil:

Nature is the best teacher and shows its love to everyone on Earth with maternal care and affection. That is why we call nature as ‘Mother Nature’. Ayurveda is a traditional medicinal system that trusts upon Nature for its healing methodologies. This ancient philosophy states that every human being is a part of nature and his/her health condition completely depends upon one’s balance with nature.

Man/woman is made up of the same 5 vital elements of nature namely water, earth, ether, air and fire. These elements combine together in making up the individual constitution of a human being. By this way every individual has a unique constitution identified with the combination of 3 vital bio-energies called as doshas. They are vata dosha that is made up of air and ether, pitta dosha that comprises of fire and water and kapha dosha that is a grouping of water and earth.

Ayurvedic treatments differ from individual to individual even for the same health disorder. This is because every individual has a predominance of any one of the three doshas that determines their state of health, personality and behavior and balance between these doshas indicates hale and heartiness.

Ayurvedic texts prescribe natural remedies like essential oils, herbs, Ayurvedic routine, yoga, physical exercises and meditation for treating dosha imbalances, healing illnesses, preventing it in future and for healthy aging.

Lime is known for alleviating all the three doshas vata, pitta and kapha.

Let’s take a look at the Ayurvedic health benefits of Lime essential oil:

Lime-broucher1. Supports healthy hair:

Lime is one among the best essential oils for treating dull, oily, lifeless, rough, frizzy and greasy hair. This oil has a handful of essential nutrients that nourish the scalp and add natural shine to your hair.

Oily and greasy hair are the most prominent reasons for inviting dandruff as these types of hair attract dust and dirt very easily. LIme removes oil quickly and moisturizes the scalp from within, helping you to get rid of dandruff, dry and itchy scalp. Indian healthcare practitioners consider Lime oil as a traditional hair conditioner.

Add 2 drops of Lime essential oil along with your shampoo or conditioner before applying on hair. This aromatic bath assists in cleansing the hair, removing excessive oil, reducing dandruff and making the hair manageable.

You can also add 3 drops of Lime oil with 30 drops of sesame oil and heat it in medium flame. Gently massage this warm oil blend on to your scalp and part lines. This massage aids in enriching the scalp by helping it absorb this oil and nourish your hair from the roots. It also increases blood circulation and promotes the growth of healthy hair.

2. Clears acne and cures numerous skin problems:

Acne is a burning skin problem among teenagers all over the world and it is said that about 85% of the global populace are affected by acne at some point of their life. It occurs mainly due to the excess secretion of oil by the sebaceous glands rooted deeply in the skin surface.

This excess oil blocks the glands and cause bacterial growth and inflammation leading to boils, pimples, whiteheads, blackheads and pustules that are collectively known as acne.

Mayo clinic recommends the use of products that can control excess oil and treat inflammation. Lime and its essential oil is the best natural cure for clearing acne and the marks left over by acne as it has rich vitamin C and flavonoids acting as antioxidants, which detoxify and cleanse the skin. Applying 2 drops of Lime oil blended with 15 drops of jojoba oil can assist in washing out impurities from the skin and influence the growth of new skin cells.

Lime essential oil has antiseptic, bactericidal, disinfectant and astringent properties that fights against harmful bacteria causing skin infections, heals cuts, wounds, boils, cellulites, varicose veins, acne and other skin eruptions.

A 2006 study on ‘In vitro antibacterial activity of some plant essential oils’ published in PubMed evaluated the antibacterial activity of about 21 essential oils against 6 bacterial species including 2 gram-positive bacteria Staphylococcus aureus an  Bacillus subtilis and 4 gram-negative bacteria Proteus vulgaris, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Escherichia coli and Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

This study concluded stating that among the 21 essential oils tested “Cinnamon, clove and lime oils were found to be inhibiting both gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria.

Blending 2 to 3 drops of Lime oil with 20 drops of Olive oil and massaging it on the affected areas can assist in treating eczema, cuts, psoriasis, carbuncles, sores, skin ulcers, rashes and gangrene. Founder of the Polarity therapy, Mr. Randolph Stone states that Lime oil blended with Olive oil is an excellent remedy for treating eczema.

3. Promotes digestion:

Dr. Lakshmi Senaratne, senior Ayurvedic scientist at Bandaranaike Memorial Ayurveda Research Institute says that Lime and its essential oil have stomachic properties, thus it naturally promotes the secretion of bile and other gastric juices.

This helps in supporting the regular digestion process and enhances your appetite. Being a good laxative, this oil is also effective in treating nausea, dyspepsia and flatulence.

The anthelmintic properties of Lime essential oil treat diarrhea, vomiting, indigestion, exhaustion and abdominal pain. It also aids in controlling thirst. She also says that the ability of Lime to lessen pitta and vata energies makes it a powerful remedy for treating vomiting, anorexia, thirst and bleeding disorders.

All you need to do to improve your digestive process is to add 2 drops of Lime oil in 20 drops of sesame oil and gently massage on your abdomen. You can also use few drops of this oil in warm or cold compress to treat stomach pain and other discomforts.

3 to 4 drops of Lime oil added to warm bath is also effective in easing the process of digestion. Inhaling the refreshing citrus aroma by adding 2 drops to your burner or diffuser can help control nausea, morning sickness and improve your appetite.

4. Treats fever and respiratory infections:

Lime essential oil has febrifuge properties that assist in controlling your body temperature by reducing pitta dosha responsible for the temperature level of your body. Massaging your body or your foot soles with 3 drops of Lime oil blended with 20 to 25 drops of coconut oil or 3 drops added to cold compress can reduce your fever gradually by detoxifying your system and eliminating the harmful toxins and fever causing infections through sweat.

The antiviral, antibacterial, antimicrobial, immune stimulant and tonic properties of Lime oil aid in fighting against microbes causing cold and fever, strengthening the immune power, combating the growth of detrimental micro-organisms and making the body resistant against infections. 2 drops of Lime essential oil added to steam inhalation can help in treating cold, flu, sinusitis, bronchitis, cough, sore throat, asthma and other similar respiratory infections.

You can also mix 3 drops of Lime oil with 20 to 25 drops of coconut oil and apply it on your chest, neck and back for good relief. It helps loosen the phlegm deposits causing congestion in the bronchial passages. You can also add 1 drop of Lime oil to a cup of warm water and use it as a gargle for treating sore throat and for freshening your breath.

5. Acts as a tonic to the mind and body:

Lime has a divine aroma that is refreshing, rejuvenating, revitalizing, strengthening, uplifting and calming in nature. It helps in purifying the aura and strengthening the heart chakra responsible for love for others and self.

Adding 2 drops of Lime oil to your vaporizer, diffuser, burner or aromatic lamps can help in improving your concentration power and your immunity. This is mainly because of the tonic and restorative properties of Lime oil that helps you regain the lost energy of the mind and body due to diseases or emotional breakups.

Adding 3 to 4 drops of Lime essential oil in your bath tub can assist in relieving stress, depression, irritation, anxiety, muscular pain, tension, lack of self-confidence and negative feelings. Lime oil fortifies the mind and body by drawing the energies inward and helps an individual to focus without any distractions.

Disclaimer:

Never use essential oils internally. Do not go out in the sun immediately after using Lime essential oil on your skin as all citrus oils has phototoxic effect and can cause irritation when exposed to the harmful UV rays. Always remember to dilute essential oils before using them topically.

Consult your Ayurvedic practitioner before using the suitable essential oils for your individual constitution and state of health. This article is only for educational purpose and is not intended to replace any professional advice or prescribed medication.

The MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) of Lime oil is readily available for your enhanced safety and better usage.

Gas Chromatography Report (GC analysis) of Lime oil.

Lime Essential Oil Possible Skin Issues:

Greener Life Diamond – Bio-Healthy Score => 3 – Possible Skin Issues:

See => http://www.essentialdepot.com/GreenerLifeDiamond.html

Lime essential oil has photosensitizing effect that can end up in causing irritation of the skin, allergic reactions, burning sensation, phytophotodermatitis, hyperpigmentation (change of skin color, visible especially in people with white skin complexion) and certain other effects. This is said to happen mainly because of Lime oil’s potent to stimulate the skin photosensitivity, when it is exposed to observable sunlight up to 12 hours of use.

The underlying cause is the response of the photoactive chemical constituents that attracts UV light radiation and contributes to toxicity through molecular alterations in the surface of the skin.

The primary chemical constituent responsible for the photo-carcinogenic, skin sensitizing and other topical effects of the essential oil of Lime is Limonene and certain other furanocoumarins.

A 2014 study published in the Journal of Community Hospital Internal Medicine Perspectives reveals about a skin condition called as phytophotodermatitis, induced by Lime, where a 24-year old nurse came up with red demarcated tender patches and crusted vesicles after squeezing fresh limes and going out in sun on a bright day.

Phytophotodermatitis is defined as a nonimmunologic eruption of the skin that occurs after its contact with phototoxic components in certain plant varieties and is then exposed to ultraviolet A (UVA) radiation through visible sunlight.

Few other studies also witness the effects of photosensitization of Lime and Lime-based products containing psoralens, paving way for burns, blisters, bullae, eruption, erythematous vesicles, rashes, inflammation and hyperpigmentation. It is also been said that in certain severe cases, systemic toxicity come with the rashes, which includes nausea, vomiting and fever.

Lime oil has also been reported to promote tumors, when tested on rats where most of the papillomas were benign and few were malignant.

The safe dilution level of Lime oil is 0.7%, which is 4.2 drops per ounce of any carrier oils as per the International Fragrance Association (IFRA). This safe dilution level applies only for products used topically to thwart photosensitivity and is not applicable for wash-away products like soaps, shampoos and other bathing products.

IFRA also suggests that Limonene rich essential oils should only be employed, provided the level of peroxides are set aside to the lowest realistic level, for example: by including antioxidants during production.

Lime oil has ‘Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS)’status by FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration). As per the European regulatory body, essential oils with furanocoumarins must be used in such a way that the level of bergapten should not go beyond 15ppm (parts per million) in ready to use cosmetic products after which the skin is subjected to exposure of direct sunlight and this does not apply for wash-off products. The level of bergapten should be1 ppm in bronzing and sun protection products.

For your information, Furocoumarins are also used in healing practices on par with the long-wave ultraviolet light therapy for treating vitiligo, psoriasis and mycosis fungoides.

Reference Links Substantiating the Possible Skin Issues of Lime Oil:

  1. Lime-induced Phytophotodermatitis by Dr. Andrew Hankinson, Dr. Benjamin Lloyd and Dr. Richard Alweis, published in the Journal of Community Hospital Internal Medicine Perspectives and PubMed
  2. Citrus aurantifolia, American Herbal Products Association’s Botanical Safety Handbook, Second Edition by Zoe Gardner, Michael McGuffin
  3. Essential Oil Safety: A Guide for Health Care Professionals By Robert Tisserand, Rodney Young
  4. Leung’s Encyclopedia of Common Natural Ingredients, used in Food, Drugs and Cosmetics by Ikhlas A. Khan and Ehab A. Abourashed.
  5. Safety Information on Essential Oils by the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy
  6. Lime oil by Mercola.com
  7. A Topical Skin Eruption by Dr. Christina Greenaway, published in the Canadian Journal of Infectious Diseases and PubMed

Thought for the day:

It is written on the arched sky; it looks out from every star. It is the poetry of Nature; it is that which uplifts the spirit within us.          -John Ruskin

Suggested Reading:

  1. Citrus Oils: Composition, Advanced Analytical Techniques, Contaminants, and Biological Activity (Medicinal and Aromatic Plants – Industrial Profiles) From CRC Press
  2. Ayurveda & Aromatherapy: The Earth Essential Guide to Ancient Wisdom and Modern Healing by Dr. Light Miller, Dr. Bryan Miller
  3. Growing Citrus: The Essential Gardener’s Guide by Martin Page
  4. Save Your Life with the Phenomenal Lemon (& Lime!) (Save Your Life!) by Blythe Ayne
  5. The Lemon & Lime Cookbook by Rick Donker

Reference Links:

  1. Lime is Beneficial for Skin and Hair by Namini Wijedasa published in Infolanka.com
  2. Acne by the American Academy of Dermatology
  3. In vitro antibacterial activity of some plant essential oils by Seenivasan Prabuseenivasan, Manickkam Jayakumar, and Savarimuthu Ignacimuthupublished in BMC Complement Altern Med, PubMed
  4. Health Benefits of Lime Essential Oil by Organic Facts


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Litsea Cubeba Oil


Litsea--cubebabannerLitsea cubeba is a Chinese wonder herb conferred to the medicinal world. Used as a promising anti-depressant for more than thousands of years in the Asian subcontinent, Litsea cubeba is remembered to treat anxiety, fear, fatigue, excessive perspiration, pain and stress.

This is mainly due to the uplifting, regenerating, energizing and refreshing aroma of its lemony essential oil extracted from the pepper-like berries of this evergreen shrub. Ayurveda and the Traditional Chinese Medicine embraces a long history of Litsea cubeba where this mesmerizing herb has been used for treating asthma, acne, eczema, dermatitis, indigestion and microbial infections.

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Historical importance of Litsea cubeba:

Botanically known as Litsea cubeba, this herb is popularly known as May Chang. It also called by other names like Mountain pepper, Chinese pepper, mountain spice tree, tropical verbena and exotic verbena. Native to China, Indonesia and Japan, Litsea cubeba is also grown widely in India, Sumatra, Kalimantan and Java.

Lovingly called as maqaw by the Atayal aborigines in Taiwan, May Chang has been used as a renowned spice by the aborigines of Taiwan. The pepper-shaped fruits of this tree were used as hot flavoring spice for meat dish known as sambal. May Chang flowers were also used in preparing medicinal tea.

The ancient Chinese used this herb for treating digestive ailments, chills, back pain, muscular aches and asthma. Traditionally this herb was used as a natural anti-spasmodic agent that helped in clearing spasms especially in the bronchia, thus assisting in the treatment of asthmatic attacks.

Chemical constituents and therapeutic properties of Litsea cubeba oil:

Citral is the major component of Litsea cubeba essential oil with more than 70 to 85% of the oil where geraniol is the a-citral and neral is the b-citral. This constituent contributes primarily to the healing properties of this oil such as antiseptic, antimicrobial, astringent, anti-inflammatory, hypotensive, tonic, insecticide, deodorant, calming, stimulant, antispasmodic, anti-infectious, sedative, carminative, vulnerary, antidepressant and stomachic.

Ayurvedic health benefits of Litsea cubeba oil:

Ayurveda is a treasure to mankind. You don’t need to be a healthcare practitioner to understand Ayurvedic philosophies as the wisdom of this noble science lies in its simplicity. Ayurvedic encyclopedias like Charaka Samhita and Sushruta Samhita explain the physical, emotional, psychological, spiritual and environmental factors affecting a human’s life, ways to lead a healthy life, natural remedies for diseases and guide towards a disciplined life and longevity.

’Everything in this world is vested with nature’ is the strong belief of Ayurvedic healing. It considers human beings as a part of nature and illness according to Ayurveda denotes a person’s imbalance with nature. Ayurvedic treatments involve the use of natural remedies to strike balance between nature and an individual’s state of health.

Ayurveda states that every individual is unique with an exclusive constitution that is built up of three biological energies known as doshas namely vata, pitta and kapha. Each of these doshas governs a set of functions in the body.

Predominance of any one of these doshas determines the character and physical attributes of a person. Imbalance of all or any of these doshas causes sickness. Herbs, essential oils, a disciplined life style, meditation, physical exercises and yoga are the most effective Ayurvedic remedies for dealing with dosha imbalances.

Litsea cubeba essential oil is said to pacify excess kapha energy and aggravate deficit vata and pitta doshas.

The Ayurvedic health benefits of Litsea cubeba oil are listed below for your reference:

Litsea-broucher1. Cures problems with digestion:

With the strong citrus aroma and warming stomachic properties, Litsea essential oil increases pitta energy, which governs the process of digestion, thinking and body temperature. This herb and its essential oil augment the digestive fire and enhance the appetite, treat indigestion and flatulence.

It prevents the formation of gas in the stomach and intestines. To support the process of digestion, blend 3 drops of Litsea cubeba oil with 15 drops of sesame oil and massage your abdomen or add 2 drops of this oil to warm bathing water.

2. Pampers your skin health:

‘A thing of beauty is a joy forever’ and when it comes to the beauty of human beings, skin plays the prime role in determining one’s external beauty. Litsea cubeba oil has everything that is essential to maintain a healthy looking skin from within. Maharishi Ayurveda denotes that Litsea cubeba essential oil is an excellent vata and pitta balancing formula to treat normal, dry, oily and sensitive skin.

Massaging your skin with 2 drops of Litsea cubeba oil mixed with10 to 15 drops of coconut oil can work wonders on your greasy, oily and infection prone skin. This massage enhances blood circulation and controls the secretion of sebum.

The astringent, antiseptic, antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties of this oil help you to keep away from acne, blemishes, eczema, dermatitis, allergies, psoriasis and cellulites. The ability to cleanse the skin, balance the flow of sebum and shrink open pores, aids in treating and preventing acne flare-ups.

A recent study on ‘Screening of fruit and leaf essential oils of Litsea cubeba Pers. from north-east India – chemical composition and antimicrobial activity’ proved that Litsea cubeba oil has potent “antimicrobial activity against Staphylococcus aureus, Listeria monocytogenes, Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Candida albicans and Aspergillus niger.” This oil is also effective in treating wounds, ringworms, cuts and insect bites.

3. Stimulates your mind:

Litsea cubeba essential oil has an exuberant aroma that is flowery and lemony in nature. It is for this purpose Litsea cubeba herb and its oil has been used in making perfumes, soaps and other cosmetic products.

Inhaling the magical aroma of this oil uplifts your mood, augments mental alertness, refreshes your mind, influences new ideas for life, pacifies your depressed mind and grants you a sense of freedom and confidence. Kurt Schnaubelt says that Litsea cubeba oil is used for calming the mind and senses.  Adding 2 drops of this oil to vaporizer, diffuser or burner aids in treating your mental worries and give a new lease of life to your world around.

4. Treats pain and inflammation:

The vata and pitta enhancing properties of Litsea cubeba oil assists in increasing blood circulation, reducing inflammation and strengthening the muscles. By reducing kapha energy, this oil aids in eliminating the excess fluid deposits and toxic substances in the body and tones your tissues.

The book on ‘Aromatherapy: A Complete Guide to the Healing Art’ states that massaging with May Chang oil helps alleviate allergies, open up the bronchial passages in case of asthma, bronchitis and other chest infections.

Massaging the affected area with 2 to 3 drops of Litsea cubeba oil blended with 20 drops of coconut oil helps relieve pain, headache, muscular tension, respiratory ailments, arthritis and rheumatism. You can also use this oil in hot or cold compress for assisting inflammation and pain.

5. Kills insects and keeps your home fresh and clean:

Litsea cubeba oil is the ideal fragrant way to keep away from insects and stay refreshed and ready to be picked up all through the day. You can add 2 drops of this oil in your regular insect repellant preparations or outdoor candles to keep your family protected from bugs, flies, mosquitoes and other insects and to give a clean n fresh feeling to your home. You can also add few drops of this oil in your shampoo, bathing water, body wash or skin care cream to stay protected in an insect-free environment.

Other uses:

With a much similar aroma to Lemongrass and lemon verbena, Litsea cubeba oil is preferred by numerous aromatherapists and perfume author Mandy Aftel prefers this oil to other citrus oils for its versatile aroma. This herb and its oil has also been used and proved effective in the treatment of arrhythmia, nervous disorders, high blood pressure, coronary heart diseases and cancer cells death in case of lung cancer. The bark of this tree is also used in making handicrafts and furniture.

Disclaimer:

This article is only for the purpose of information and is not intended to diagnose or replace any professional advice or prescribed medication. Never use essential oils internally. Always use essential oils in a diluted form as pure and organic essential oils are highly concentrated substances. Please consult your Ayurvedic practitioner before choosing the appropriate essential oil for your health condition and unique constitution.

Thought for the day:

Nothing is more memorable than a smell. One scent can be unexpected, momentary and fleeting, yet conjure up a childhood summer beside a lake in the mountains.  – Diane Ackerman

Suggested Reading:

  1. Essence and Alchemy: A Natural History of Perfume by Mandy Aftel
  2. The Encyclopedia of Essential Oils: The Complete Guide to the Use of Aromatic Oils In Aromatherapy, Herbalism, Health, and Well Being by Julia Lawless
  3. Medical Aromatherapy: Healing with Essential Oils by Kurt Schnaubelt
  4. Aromatherapy Workbook by Marcel Lavabre

Reference Links:

  1. Litsea Cubeba by Wikipedia
  2. What is Litsea Cubeba? By WiseGEEK
  3. Uses of May Chang Essential Oil by Livestrong.Com
  4. Litsea Cubeba Essential Oil Profile Aromatherapy Lifestyle by Quinessence
  5. Screening of fruit and leaf essential oils of Litsea cubeba Pers. from north-east India – chemical composition and antimicrobial activity published in the Journal of essential oil research by Taylor Francis Online

Melissa Essential Oil


Mlissa-bannerMelissa………., the name that sounds sweet, smells great and means ‘honeybee’ in Greek is claimed as one of the rarest essential oils just because it requires about 12,000 pounds of Melissa leaves to obtain 1 pound of its essential oil.

Scientifically known as Melissa officinalis, this herb is also known to the world as Lemon balm, Life’s elixir, Cure-all, English balm, Sweet balm, Blue balm and Honey plant and is a member of the mint family Lamiaceae.

This herb is trusted to enhance cognitive performance, treat Alzheimer’s disease, venomous bites and fight against viral attacks like herpes in Ayurveda, the oldest of all healing systems in the world. Melissa essential oil is also used in treating insomnia, depression, nervous headache and known to clear one’s mind for right decision-making.

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Historical uses and importance of Melissa and its essential oil:

Wow!!! Is all I have to say when I read about a handful of pages about the history of Melissa herb and the way its medicinal importance have travelled all around the universe. From America to Australia, from Arabia to India, Melissa has not left any part of this world unhealed.

Lemon balm has been in use for more than 2000 years and few sources state that its use was recorded in Theophrastus’ Historia Plantarum around 300 B.C. and was used by the ancient Greeks and Romans. French Emperor King Charles V and Holy Roman Emperor Charles V are said to have taken Melissa beverages for augmenting their health.

Pliny The Elder, the renowned Roman naturalist have said that planting Lemon balm near bee hives will attract bees to return to their hives and “causeth the Bees to keep together and causeth others to come unto them” said English herbalist Gerard denoting that rubbing the leaves of Melissa on bee hives will encourage the bees to come back.

An Arabian proverb quotes Lemon balm as “Balm makes the heart merry and joyful” and the Arabian physician Avicenna (11th century) used Melissa in the treatment of melancholy and depression. Called as the ‘heart’s content’ in southern parts of Europe, Lemon balm tea was the most famous morning tea after it was taken along with honey after breakfast by the Princes of Sydenham and Glamorgan who lived 116 and 108 years respectively.

Paracelsus, the Swiss alchemist and physician called Melissa as “the elixir of life” for he trusted that this magical herb has the power to augment strength and pave way for longevity. Lemon balm was regarded as a sacred herb in the temple of Diana, the ancient Roman Goddess.

Greek physician Dioscorides used Lemon balm for treating toothaches, dog bites, scorpion stings, blocked menstruation, toothache and gout. Popular herbalist Nicholas Culpeper said that Melissa is effective in treating melancholy and boils and is good for the mind, spleen, heart and liver. Melissa has been associated with moon, water and feminine.

Chemical constituents and therapeutic properties of Melissa essential oil: The essential oil of Lemon balm has effective chemical constituents like geraniol, β-caryophyllene, citronellal, geranial, caryophyllene oxide, trans-ocimene, methyl heptenone, linalool, neral, 3-octanone, cis-ocimene, a-humulene, geranyl acetate and certain other components.

Antispasmodic, carminative, emmenagogue, diaphoretic, tonic, nervine, antidepressant, sedative, bactericidal, antiviral, stomachic, cordial, hypotensive, carminative and febrifuge are its therapeutic values.

Ayurvedic health benefits of Melissa essential oil:

Lemon balm essential oil is regarded as one of the most potent remedial essential oils in all of the oils used in Complementary and Alternative medicine system, amongst which Ayurveda is the oldest healing science. Melissa herb and its essential oil has been used in Ayurveda for the treatment of various illnesses associated with various tissues of the body like blood, spleen, nerve, organ tissue and lymphatic muscle.

The book on Ayurveda and Aromatherapy by Bryan Miller and Light Miller talks about certain important health indications where Lemon balm essential oil is used in Ayurveda as a natural remedy for treating menopause, fever, melancholy, depression, infant and child afflictions, cold and flu.

Ayurveda strongly believes that human beings are a significant part of nature. It phenomenally states that every individual is unique and their individual constitution is made up of three vital biological energies known as doshas.  They are vata, pitta and kapha. Every human being according to Ayurveda has a predominance of any one of these doshas that determines their physical, mental and spiritual set up.

Balance between these doshas indicates that the person is healthy and imbalance due to environmental factors, food habits, emotional factors and behavioral patterns cause illnesses. Ayurvedic remedies aim at bringing balance between the doshas with its natural healing methodologies.

Ayurveda turns towards nature for treating humanity and using essential oils is one of the most effective remedy that has been a part of this ancient wisdom. Ayurvedic texts claim that essential oils are the prana or life force of plants. Melissa essential oil is said to alleviate pitta and kapha while improving vata dosha.

Let’s take a look at the Ayurvedic health benefits of Melissa essential oil.

Melissa-brouchre1. Treats bacterial, viral and certain other infectious disorders:

Lemon balm essential oil is an excellent natural aid for treating all kinds of infections and health disorders that are associated with the infestation of micro organisms like bacteria and viruses. Numerous scientific evidences have witnessed that the antibacterial effects of this oil is due to the presence of eugenol and its ability to fight against virus is mainly because of tannins present in it.  

Bacteria and virus cause cold, flu, fever, infections in the intestine, kidneys, urinary tract and colon, skin problems like acne, rashes, herpes, allergies, severe itching and certain other respiratory infections.

Lemon balm essential oil has febrifuge, sudorific and diaphoretic properties that fights against bacteria, virus and other harmful microbes causing fever. Gently massaging the soles of your feet with 2 drops of Melissa oil with 20 drops of coconut oil will aid in reducing the temperature of your body by promoting sweat through which the destructive toxins are expelled.

Blend 2 to 3 drops of Lemon balm oil with 15 to 20 drops of olive oil and apply topically on pimples, boils, cuts, herpes, cold sores, ringworms, athlete’s foot, wounds, allergies, black heads, rashes and itches for effective remedy. This application also aids in preventing the wounds from getting septic as it combats bacteria like Staphylococcus aureus that are responsible for the wound becoming septic and defenseless.

The University of Maryland Medical Center states that the topical application of ointments containing Lemon balm essential oil aids in healing cold sores caused by HSV (herpes simplex virus). It witnesses this effect by quoting several studies and one among them is the vast study that involved 1 dermatology clinic and 3 German hospitals where Lemon balm was used in treating the primary infection of HSV I. The cream with Lemon balm formula was proved to lessen the healing time of oral as well as genital herpes.

Certain other studies proved the effectiveness of Lemon balm oil when applied to lip sores, herpes lesions and it also exhibited a concentration-dependent activity and improved effect against HIV infection. You can also add 2 drops of Melissa oil to steaming water and steam inhalation aids in treating cold, headache, sinus pain and flu by pushing out excessive fluids and toxic substances in the body through sweat.

2. Calms the digestive system:

Melissa essential oil has carminative and stomachic properties that assist in expelling gases in the stomach and intestines without any pain in the abdominal muscles and by promoting proper flow of bile and other digestive juices.

Applying 2 drops of this oil blended with 15 drops of sesame oil on your stomach and abdomen assists in treating flatulence, colic, dysentery, vomiting, intestinal spasms, dyspepsia, convulsions and also helps in strengthening the digestive system with its tonic and antispasmodic properties. You can also add 3 drops of Lemon balm oil to warm bathing water to stimulate your digestive process.

3. Pacifies your emotional instabilities:

Lemon balm and its essential oil has been held high as a perfect remedy for treating melancholy, mental disturbances, depression, hopelessness, negative emotions and lack of confidence. The uplifting, energizing, refreshing and revitalizing aroma of this oil helps in driving away mental agony, feelings of loneliness, fear, emotional shock, anxiety and anger.

The calming and encouraging touch along with the presence of terpenes in this essential oil is said to grant soothing effects on the mind and drive in understanding, self-confidence, hope and acceptance to proceed with life’s challenges. It helps in balancing your emotions and few popular studies have proved its effects in lessening agitation and have considerable quality-of-life effects.

It is because of these reassuring and comforting properties, Melissa essential oil is lovingly called as the ‘Nectar of life’ or ‘The elixir of life’. Dr. Hill recommends diffusing few drops of Lemon balm oil at night to treat depression, insomnia and restlessness. Add 2 to 3 drops of this oil your diffuser, burner or vaporizer to relieve from worries and treat emotional blocks.

You can also massage your body with 2 drops of Melissa oil, 2 drops of Lavender oil, 1 drop of Ylang Ylang oil and 2 drops of Frankincense oil blended with a small cup of coconut oil to ease tension, stress and fatigue and for relaxing the nerves and muscles.

4. Boosts your brain power:

Lemon balm essential oil is known to enhance brain power and improve the cognitive performance. Certain studies witness that Lemon balm aids in enhancing cognitive function and reduce agitation in people affected by Alzheimer’s disease. Lemon balm has been approved by the German Commission E for treating nervous disorders, insomnia and gastrointestinal problems. Diffusing 2 drops of Lemon balm oil and 1 drop of Rosemary oil during the day or at night can help in treating dementia, cognitive impairments and Alzheimer’s disease.

5. Helps mitigate womanly problems:

With its emmenagogue properties, massaging 2 drops of Melissa oil blended with 15 drops of sesame oil will promote blocked menstruation, relieve menstrual pain, nausea, irritability and mood fluctuations during menstruation. This herb was also used in the traditional medicine to treat depression during menopause, to grant strength during and after childbirth.

Other health benefits:

Melissa essential oil is also used to treat hair loss, baldness, nervous disorders, trauma, inflammation, high blood pressure, insect stings, hyperactive thyroid, phobias and palpitations. It is also used as a culinary herb and as a flavoring agent in various products.

Kurt Schnaubelt in his book Advanced Aromatherapy quotes Melissa oil as “The way in which Melissa oil combines an excellent antiviral component with a soothing but pervasive sedative power is difficult to imagine; it has to be experienced. In its complexity, power, and gentleness, Melissa oil perfectly illustrates how nature time after time works better than one-dimensional synthetic medicines.”

Disclaimer: Never use essential oils internally as pure and organic essential oils are highly concentrated substances and always remember to use it in a diluted form. Consult your Ayurvedic practitioner before using the right essential oil for your health condition and unique individual constitution. This article is meant only for informational purpose and is not meant to diagnose or replace any prescribed medications or expert advice.

Thought for the day:

Nature teaches more than she preaches. There are no sermons in stones. It is easier to get a spark out of a stone than a moral.  John Burroughs

Suggested Reading:

  1. Melissa Extract: The Natural Remedy for Herpes by Jan de Vries
  2. Herbal Healing for Women by Rosemary Gladstar
  3. Effects of chronic administration of Melissa officinalis L. extract on anxiety-like reactivity and on circadian and exploratory activities in … Journal of Phytotherapy & Phytopharmacology by Alvin Ibarra, Nicolas Feuillere, Marc Roller, Edith Lesburgere, Daniel Beracochea
  4. Antiviral activity of the volatile oils of Melissa officinalis L. against Herpes simplex virus type-2.: An article from: Phytomedicine: International Journal of Phytotherapy & Phytopharmacology by A. Allahverdiyev, N. Duran, M. Ozguven, S. Koltas

Reference Links:

  1. Lemon Balm by University of Maryland Medical Center

  2. Melissa officinalis by Boston University School of Medicine

  3. Lemon Balm: An Herb Society of America Guide by Herb Society

  4. Melissa officinalis by Wikipedia