Balm or Lemon-Balm was introduced to the monastic gardens in Europe by Charlemagne in the early 9th century. The plant had been known for its sedative, anti-depressive as well as carminative effects long before. Due to its fresh lemony fragrance Balm was also called Cedronella. The botanical name Melissa (greek for “honey bee”) indicates the old belief that rubbing Balm leaves on new bee hives would attract bee swarms.
The essential oil is rather rare and usually needs “cohobation” (floral water recycling process) for distillation. The yield is extremely low: For 1 kg of essential oil we need an average of 8 – 10 000 kg of plants. What makes it that sometimes there is such a low yield? Very simple: the lower leaf surface of the Lemon Balm plant shows only a very light distribution of secretory glands with extremely low density also of trichomes. Just to compare: for 1 kg Palmarosa oil we only need about 50 kgs of plant material – and for 1 kg of Clove bud oil only average 20 kg of cloves!
An emotional companion
Lemon Balm oil with its fascinating top or head notes is one of the supreme oils to fight against sadness, depression, melancholy and the gloominess which stems from stagnant, “undigested” emotions and anxieties. Only Verbena oil, although more earthy, matches to some extent the beauty and sparkling colourfulness of true Lemon Balm oil and its quality of instilling optimism and happiness. Often, it is enough to just inhale the oil from a small bottle to change our attitude and gain more positive, uplifting outlooks on life and people. It is also possible to dilute 3 – 5 % of the oil in liquid soap and take a bath with it in order to soothen the nerves and invigorate heart and mind. It is clearly the pineal gland and the frontal lobes of our brain which receive most of Lemon Balm’s call responding in vibrating echoes of light and joy.
No wonder that Lemon Balm oil is an excellent helper for the long dark winter months and for those who cannot give in to the embrace of the night’s sleep. But since it gives power to the frontal and higher areas of the brain it accompanies also those who want to focus on late intelllectual work or take advantage of the moments when the world has become more silent and their spirit starts to be more receptive to the subtler influences of the secret realms behind thoughts.
In Victorian times Lemon Balm was known as a mythological or spiritual herb and was well appreciated for its capacity to transfer love messages between partners. Its soft, yet penetrating aroma was used as a kind of “emotional medicine” creating better feelings among people and leaving its fragrant warmth in the hearts of them. Often, it was grown at the entrances of houses to protect the inhabitants from evil spirits. Already in ancient times in Europe the herbal infusion made its name as an effective sedative helper against insomnia, and as a mood changer, especially against hysteria, nervous tension, anxiety, and the like. Also its benefits for headaches, migraines, fevers, digestive problems etc. were well known. Not to forget its strong effects against insect bites, skin problems such as acne and cold sores, and also gum infections, high blood pressure etc.
Mono- or poly… A few words
Yes, yes, says the medical doctor of today… So many things, so many effects. But who can believe all this? Well, the mono-molecular approach of modern allopathic will certainly “turn its head”. But they forget: Natural medicine from plants just CANNOT be “mono”. Due to their rich bio-chemical profile also their essential oils are “poly” which means they are “multi-functional”. It is this aspect of Aromatherapy which makes essential oils so exciting. So many bacteria and viruses hate them, because they cannot become resistant to the impact of such a powerful molecular diversity.
If they have learned “the trick” by finding out what to do with a few, always the same simplified molecular approaches like in the case of our modern antibiotics, here they fail utterly when it comes to “poly”.
Poly-molecular structures are just another story. And in plants and essential oils they are never the same. We know: from year to year, from season to season, from area of cultivation to another area of cultivation, essential oils change constantly. Nothing can really fix them. Secrets of Nature… How many times I have said it: Nature hates identity – nothing can be the same, and this forever. And Nature has no plant which would not be a multiple healer. That is also the reason why Peppermint oil, for example, helps simultaneously against nervous, hepatic, skin, circulatory, immunological, intestinal and psychological disorders etc. And if we look for example at the genus Lavender (Lavandula): Different Lavender oils together show even better results against MRSA (Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus). This again proves how richness in bio-chemical compounds adds even more to the efficiency of natural “aromatic antibiotics”.
Of course: This multi-dimension of Nature’s apothecary is a horror for an allopathic medical doctor of today. And for the industry even more so. They want to patent the “monos” and make money “mono”, right? The “polys” you cannot patent, too bad!
But why fight instead of integrating Nature’s miracle medicine into a healthy complimentary medical approach? Aromatherapy, here in the case of Lemon Balm oil, corresponds to the “multi-facet” aspect of our “Fragrant Medicine” from the Universe. Aromatherapy can never be single-oriented, never linear. Its poly-molecular and subtle energy aspects make it variable in its often unpredictable healing effects. Its effects are often very “personal”, ambivalent, adaptogenic, and often contradictory… And above all, unpredictable in its hidden POSITIVE side-effects. And why that? The psycho-spiritual aspects of the plants are always with the material aspects – and they are fluid like water, transparent like air, and vast like space.
What a difference to allopathic medicine!
Is it not rather a miracle that plant medicine is so old? Is it not rather glorious to be able to somehow pass beyond time, when we use plant oils and connect directly with Nature’s intelligence? Of course, essential oils are also material structures, and they often contain hundreds of retraceable bio-chemical compounds in synergistic blends, structured by Nature over millions of years. But inside these material structures we can find an amazing array of subtle energies which we absorb when we expose ourselves to them. And here is the level where real healing has to start, we know this today!
Helping, protecting, healing
Confirmed by countless experiences with Lemon Balm from all over the world, we can say: With its soothing yet tonifying quality, expressed also by its richness of aldehydes, esters, sesquiterpenes and sequiterpenols, Lemon Balm oil is an amazing uplifter, invigorator, and harmoniser. The oil can especially help those who are suffering from a burn out situation. It is an excellent “rescue remedy” in case of psychological shocks, panic attacks, acute anxiety etc. The application can be olfactive, through massage, orally, via inhalation – and best even combined.
“Researchers studied 20 volunteers, aged 18 to 70, who experienced mild-to-moderate anxiety disorders and sleep disturbances. The volunteers were also stressed. They received either 300mg of Lemon Balm extract twice a day (for a total of 600mg daily) or a placebo for 15 days. The volunteers were then tested, and the researchers concluded that the Lemon Balm: “…demonstrated a significant improvement in all categories studied: anxiety manifestations, anxiety-associated symptoms and insomnia…” The volunteers also reported feeling calmer and more alert. It’s very important to point out that Lemon Balm was: “…well tolerated by the studied population”. No adverse effects were observed and all volunteers complied with the treatment until the end of the study.”Cf. https://saveourbones.com/lemon-balm-a-calming-alternative-to-bone-damaging-anti- anxiety-drugs/
Also confirmed: people with problems of hypertension can use the oil with success. Compounds like neral and geranial (citral), prevailing in Lemon Balm, also bestow the oil with a powerful vibrational energy against viral and bacterial infections.
Lemon Balm oil should not be used directly on the skin and instead should be diluted in at least 95 % carrier oil. It has balsamic effects, but the strong aldehydes need to be buffered for direct skin contact. Also remember: It is an oil which is photo-sensitising, so exposure to direct sun radiation should be avoided for the next 15-20 hours after application.
Acne, cold sores and fungal infections are often well treatable with Lemon Balm oil. Moreover, it is a good wound healer, stopping blood flow and preventing inflammatory reactions on the skin. But again: the oil has to be used in dilution since the aldehyde compounds are skin-irritant per se.
Here are two recipes for nervous exhaustion, anxiety, and worries
From a medical doctor:
Local treatment 1:
- Lavender oil: 2ml
- Lemon Balm: 2ml
- Green Mint: 2ml
- Carrier oil St. Johnswort: 30ml
- Carrier oil Olive or Avocado oil: 30ml
Massage the solar plexus and shoulders with this blend and repeat once or twice per day if necessary (Dr. Telphon)
Local treatment 2:
- Cape Chamomile (Eriocephalus punctulatus): 2ml
- Davana: 2ml
- Lemon Balm: 2ml
- Carrier oil St. Johnswort: 30ml
- Carrier oil Olive oil: 30ml
Massage the thorax, solar plexus and shoulders with this blend and repeat twice per day if necessary (Dr. Telphon)
Lemon Balm oil also has strong anti-inflammatory effects on the digestive tract and the bronchial membranes. It is recommended in case of stomach spasms and nausea during pregnancy. It stimulates liver and gall bladder and definitely helps digestion especially in those cases when the problem behind is nervous tension and stress. It is recommended to take before or after meals mixed with a teaspoon of honey. It is also useful in case of migraine originating from digestive problems.
A study on Colitis Treatment
Lemon Balm was evaluated in combination with Taraxacum officinale, Hipericum perforatum (St. John’s Wort), Calendula officinalis, and Foeniculum vulgare (Fennel) for the treatment of chronic nonspecific colitis (Chakurski et al, 1981). Results indicated that all 24 patients in the study experienced the disappearance of pain in the large intestine. Lemon Balm may be given to children.
Cf. Mosby’s handbook of herbs and natural supplements
Lemon Balm oil is also a good choice for invigorating the heart and relieving heart palpitations. It can be taken in dilution on liver and chest in case of coughing with headaches resulting from fever and cold.
With its highly complex bio-chemical profile Lemon Balm oil illustrates beautifully the intrinsic richness of the hydro-carbonic build-up of plant essences and their holistic multiple healing powers in contrast to the poverty of the uni-dimensional approach of modern allopathic medicine.
A royal oil and a most subtle creation of Mother Nature, it belongs definitely to any good “home pharmacy”. And it is a great expression of a needed helper for our special time in history, where more and more the psychology and spirituality of healing has to be emphasized. Lemon Balm is subtle, secretive, very immediate – with a whiff of smelling it makes the brain tingle and expand. Joyful medicine of the future for those who cannot wait.
Wings of protection of a powerful guardian angel with his blessing hands of light.