Melissa Hydrosol is the hydrosol I immediately turn to if I’ve been bitten a Mosquito or other insect. It brings me relief almost immediately. I am one of those people, who seem to have quite a dramatic reaction to these sorts of bites. There may be some variation depending on what has bitten me, but I can usually count on having a red, itchy weal coming up. The itchiness can flare up over several days. I keep some Melissa Hydrosol in the fridge, so when I spray it on it has a lovely cooling effect. It also reduces the itching really quickly. While the itching can come back, the ‘life cycle of my bite’ is over a lot quicker when I use the hydrosol, than when I don’t.
Family: Lamiaceae (Labiatae)
Plant Description: Melissa, also known as lemon balm is a perennial herb. It has bright-green oval to heart-shaped leaves. When it comes into flower it has small, loose clusters of white flowers. Melissa produces an abundance of nectar so many cultivate it as a bee plant. Melissa contributes to the production of some of the very best honey.
History/Folklore: Melissa’s name is said to be derived from the Greek word ‘Melissa’ meaning honey bee. It is said to have been planted by the beekeepers at the Temple of Artemis to help keep the sacred honey bees content. Melissa was spread throughout Europe via the Spanish trade routes and was one of the 14 or so ingredients in the closely guarded secret formula for Carmelite water. Carmelite water was used as a drink to ward off nervous headaches and as a perfume to help bring good cheer and mask the strong odors prevalent in medieval and renaissance Europe. Melissa is also a key ingredient in Benedictine liqueur and Chartreuse liqueur.
Aroma and Taste: Suzanne Catty describes the aroma of Melissa Hydrosol as being much lighter and more floral than the essential oil. She says the taste is mildly bitter when undiluted and quite lemony, although not citrusy. Becoming very soft and quite sweet in dilution.
Stability and Shelf Life: Very Stable. Easily lasts two or more years.
pH: 4.8 – 5.0
Melissa hydrosol has analgesic, anticoagulant, anti-infectious, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, calming, digestive, expectorant, febrifuge, lipolytic, mucolytic, sedative, stimulant and tonic properties.
Melissa is a great addition to baths and can be very helpful for female problems like irregular periods, period pain and PMS. It is also very soothing to irritated skin.
Jeanne Rose recommends this hydrosol as being calming and sedating and good for mental stress and insomnia. It is also very helpful for herpes.
Suzanne Catty says that this hydrosol is more calming to the body than the mind, but without being overly sedative. She suggests using it for stress, anxiety, and childhood hysterics. She also says that Melissa has shown some positive results when used for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and recommends giving it a try.
Melissa Hydrosol is the one I use to relieve the itch of Mosquito, or other insect bites. I often have quite a dramatic reaction to those sorts of bites, so I always have Melissa Hydrosol in stock. As soon as they itch, I spray it on right away, and repeat as often as necessary. Most of the time, the bit heals a whole lot quicker and I don’t go through the agonies of itching.
I personally find that by their very nature, hydrosols are particularly helpful when used energetically. I like to include them in misters and sprays and find that they can make a subtle and effective difference.
Dr. Berkowsky in his Spiritual PhytoEssencing Materia Medica says, Melissa has a strong affinity with the Heart. He also says that The 16th century physician/alchemist Paracelsus referred to Melissa oil as the “Elixir of Life”. He believed it could help to completely revive a debilitated individual. Ancient folklore considers Melissa to be a plant symbolizing sympathy. It was also used to transmit messages between lovers.
You can view other posts written on individual hydrosols here. Another general article on Floral Waters/Hydrosols/Hydrolats. Reference Berkowsky’s Synthesis Materia Medica/Spiritualis of Essential Oils ©1998-2018 Joseph Ben Hil-Meyer Research, Inc.| Suzanne Catty, Hydrosols, The Next Aromatherapy, Healing Arts Press, 2001 Ernst Guenther, The Essential Oil, Vol V, 1948 reprinted 1972 Ann Harman, Harvest to Hydrosol, IAG Botanics LLC dba botanicals, 2015 Beverley Hawkins, Essential Oils and Carriers, Aromatherapy 101, Aromatherapy 201, Aromatherapy 301, 1999-2018 Len and Shirley Price, Understanding Hydrolats Churchill Livingstone, 2004 Jeanne Rose, 374 Essential Oils and Hydrosols, Frog Ltd, 1999