Monday, April 4, 2016


Melissa (Lemon Balm)
During the Materia Medica portion of his Aromatic Medicine (part 2) course, Mark Webb spent some time on the "Lemon scented" oils.  Mostly high in Citral.  We've written of them before here, Lemongrass, Lemon Myrtle, Lemon Tea Tree, Melissa, etc.

He made a suggestion that I hadn't thought of, that there are two Australian oils that make wonderful substitutes for rare and costly Melissa.

Chart copyright Mark Webb,  

When I look at the uses of Melissa, I think first of it's anti-viral effects, how we add it to a lip balm for cold sores (herpes simplex virus) and how people say it is useful as an insect repellant.  Lemon Tea tree is known for its effectiveness at detering mosquitoes and other stinging beasties,  and matches Melissa in its content of germ and virus fighting Geranial and Neral, (together known as Citral.)   

One other substitution that Mark didn't mention in class leaped off the page at me when we studied this slide, and is noted in my handwritten notes.  The Esters, plant compounds ending in ATE, like the Geranyl acetate and the Methyl geranate mentioned above are relaxants. They are what make Roman Chamomile, some Clary Sages, some Lavenders so very relaxing.  And although I personally have found our Ironbark Eucalyptus delightfully calming and relaxing, I never made the connection on the chemistry. Of course!  Whichever name you choose.. Mark's  "Lemon scented Ironbark", Robert Tisserand's "Australian Lemon Balm",  Our  "Eucalyptus Ironbark", or its proper species name, Eucalyptus staigeriana, is a wonderful substitute for the emotional uses of Melissa Essential oil. 

There is a lot of research to be found regarding the calming effects of Melissa Essential Oil. I hope someone will try to replicate their results using Ironbark.  In the meantime it might be worth considering for yourself or your family.

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