Lemon balm oil ( Melissa essential oil ) is one of the costliest and most used essential oils. Lemon balm oil is very soothing, relaxing and uplifting essential oil. It is an excellent home remedy for cold sores, herpes and anxiety. Lemon balm essential oil also has some influence on the mental health of a person, which makes it so useful in aromatherapy. It offers many health benefits, besides its numerous uses in products.


Lemon balm essential oil is distilled from lemon balm ( Melissa officinalis ). It is a common and widely used herb, mainly used to deal with viral infections. Lemon balm herb is also known as balm mint, because it has been used since past times in balm formulations to soothe the skin and reduce pain. Melissa essential oil is also used primarily for this purpose. Melissa officinalis has a unique combination of mint and lemon. Its tea has many therapeutic properties.


Lemon balm essential oil is extracted by steam distilling parts of the herb, like its stem and leaves. This essential oil is very expensive because it takes about 3 tons of herb matter to produce just 1 pound of essential oil. The yield of essential oil from this plant is very low. There are other methods to extract its essential oil that promise higher yield, but they are not organic. That is why pure, organic therapeutic grade lemon balm essential oil is one of the most expensive essential oils. Other essential oils that are as expensive as this oil are pure jasmine essential oil and rose absolute.

Other Names

Melissa essential oil is also known as Sweet oil and Common oil.


Lemon balm oil exerts many powerful therapeutic properties.

  • Antidepressant – It alleviates depression and negative feelings. [1]
  • Anxiolytic – alleviates anxiety.
  • Sedative – creates a relaxing environment. It has a tranquilizing effect.[2]
  • Antispasmodic – It prevents spasms and also provides relief from pain in spasms.
  • Hypotensive – It reduces blood pressure.
  • Antibacterial – It kills some species of bacteria. [3]
  • Antiviral – Lemon balm oil is a prominent antiviral agent. It kills herpes virus and many others.
  • Antioxidant – Lemon balm essential oil is one of the most powerful natural antioxidants.
  • Anti-inflammatory – It soothes and reduces inflammation.
  • Sudorific – It promotes perspiration.
  • Antipyretic – Lemon balm has a cooling effect on the body. It quickly lowers a fever.
  • Emmenagogue – It gets rid of problems that accompany menstruation.
  • Cordial – It promotes feelings of warmth and comfort.
  • Nervine – Lemon balm oil is a tonic for our nervous system, providing it strength.
  • Anti-histamine – It suppresses allergies by acting as an anti-histamine agent.
  • Stomachic – It helps to calm down common causes of upset stomach like nausea, vomiting and acid reflux.
  • Antihyrotropic – It is helpful in hyperthyroidism.
  • Carminative – It eases intestinal gas out of the body, getting rid of flatulence and bloating.
  • Insect repellent – It drives away mosquitoes besides many other insects.
  • Cardiotonic – reduces palpitations and allows the heart to relax especially during a panic attack.
  • Uterine – It is a tonic for the urinary system as well.
  • Tonic – In general, it stimulates various channels within our bodies and provides strength.
  • Analgesic – Provides relief from pain.
  • Anti-diabetic [4]
  • Anti-tumor [5]

Color and Aroma

Melissa essential oil is a bright yellow in color. It has a sweet, fruity smell. There is a strong hint of lemon like odor and some aroma that resembles mint.

Blends Well With

Lemon balm essential oil blends great with lemon essential oil, mint essential oil, lemongrass oil and citronella oil. It also goes nicely with geranium, basil, orange, bergamot, frankincense and lavender essential oils. It is also used in combination with angelica essential oil.

Health Benefits

Because of its comprehensive list of healing properties, lemon balm oil provides many health benefits. There are different ways to avail them all.

Cold Sores

Lemon balm essential oil is a powerful remedy for cold sores. This is because it affects the infectivity of herpes virus which causes cold sores[6]. There are a few ways to apply lemon balm oil to cold sores. One can either apply lemon balm oil directly on the cold sores using a cotton bud. But, this may lead to skin rashes and chemical burns in some people as we are using an essential oil without dilution. A safer way to use lemon balm essential oil for cold sores is to make a homemade cream. Take about 30 gm of beeswax. Add 1 tablespoon of bee propolis and add 8 – 10 drops of lemon balm essential oil. Mix them together. Apply this cream on cold sores. It is not as powerful as the direct application, but it is safer and it works too. This cream can also be used on herpes lesions in other parts of the body and even on shingles. It is soothing and cooling to the skin.
Lemon balm actually interferes with the protein synthesis of the herpes virus. A similar action is performed by coconut oil. So, one can add coconut oil as base ingredient for this cream to make it more effective.


Lemon balm oil when used in aromatherapy provides powerful health benefits. The simplest way to do it is to diffuse its aroma in the air inside a closed environment, like a room. Add just 3 – 4 drops of lemon balm essential oil to a vaporizer to fill the air with its essence. If you are using an oil burner, then add about 10 drops of this essential oil. This aroma contains many compounds present in lemon balm and helps with the following conditions.

  • Breathing air with essence of lemon balm oil helps to calm down anxiety, panic attacks and general nervousness. It puts the mind at peace and helps to alleviate melancholy and depression. Although lemon balm oil feels cool when applied, its aroma on the other hand is warming.
  • It reduces stress. So, if you have a tough day, infuse lemon balm oil in the room.
  • It relaxes the body and calms down any irritation. This is helpful in overcoming negative energy, like frustration, anger and irritability.
  • Its aroma has a tranquillizing effect which can help one sleep better. This is helpful for people dealing with insomnia.
  • Its fragrance helps to calm down palpitations. Lemon balm essential oil brings down high blood pressure and reduces pulse rate. This is helpful in conditions when the person suffers from high blood pressure and increased pulse rate, like during anger.
  • It uplifts the mood and promotes feelings of warmth.
  • It helps to overcome allergies that are air borne and associated conditions, like allergic rhinitis.
  • Aromatherapy using lemon balm essential oil is also helpful in Alzheimer’s and ADHD ( attention deficit hyperactivity disorder ) to some extent.


Take a warm water bath with a few drops of lemon balm essential oil and lavender essential oil in it. This is very relaxing and soothing for the body. Both lavender and lemon balm aid in getting better sleep.


Lemon balm essential oil is also used in aromatherapy massage. Add about 4 – 5 drops of lemon balm oil to 1 ounce of olive oil and massage it into the skin. This massage can be used to treat many conditions.

  • Eczema – Massaging diluted lemon balm oil on skin helps to overcome eczema. It exerts a soothing effect on the eczema lesions and reduces itching.
  • Spasms – Massage warm oil on the chest, back and the throat. This helps to reduce spasms in asthma, bronchitis and other respiratory conditions. A throat massage provides relief from throat infections like pharyngitis, laryngitis and even tonsillitis. When applied to the abdomen, it reduces abdominal spasms and cramps.
  • Nervous pain  – Lemon balm oil massage is applied specifically to places that experience nerve related pain, like in the foot caused by diabetes ( diabetic neuropathy ). Regular massage with this oil helps to reduce the sharp, burning pain caused by nerves. It thus helps in trigeminal neuralgia and other kinds of neuritis.


Lemon balm oil can be used to quickly get over a headache and even migraine headaches. For this condition, inhale the vapors from lemon balm oil bottle for about 2 minutes deeply. This inhalation also helps to curb nausea and vomiting.

Other Health Benefits

Lemon balm essential oil has also been identified to have anti-diabetic effects, although it is not sure how to use this effect. It has also displayed anti-tumor effects.


Apart from its use in home remedies, it is also used for many other purposes.

  • Lemon balm essential oil is used to make balms.
  • It is being studied for extracting anti-viral compounds. Lemon balm based formulations are used to treat herpes.
  • It is used in natural mosquito repellents.
  • It is a common flavoring in food products.

Side Effects, Safe Dosage and Toxicity Issues

Lemon balm essential oil is considered generally safe. It is among the less dangerous essential oils and may be applied neat ( undiluted ) on the skin.Lemon balm containing products should not be taken at least 2 weeks before a surgery as it may affect the efficiency of anaesthetics. There is not much information about its safety and interactions with medication and other foods. One should avoid using it in pregnancy and on toddlers.

Nutritional and Medicinal Information

Melissa essential oil contains volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from complete nutrients found in lemon balm. These volatile, aromatic compounds have powerful health benefits. Let us look at the nutrition facts of lemon balm essential oil.

Chemical composition of Lemon balm essential oil ( flowers of Melissa officinalis )

Nutrient Percentage
Citronellol 25.24 %
Trans carveol 28.89 %
Geraniol 2.2 %
γ – Murolol 1.69 %
Spathulenol 2.06 %
δ – 3-Cavene 5.2%
1-octen-3-ol 2.03 %
Linalool 4.30 %
Lavandulol 0.39 %
Germacrene – D 0.49 %
a – Cadinol 0.16

Source : 7

These are the health benefits of some major chemical constituents of Lemon balm essential oil.

  • Citronellol – This is a slightly toxic ingredient which is used as an insect repellent. It drives away mosquitoes.
  • Geraniol – This compound is closely related to citronellol. It is used in perfumes and as an insect repellent.
  • Carveol – It is also found in spearmint essential oil. It has been found to be a chemopreventive agent in breast cancer.
  • Lavandulol – It is also extracted from various essential oils and its primary use is in making perfumes.
  • Linalool – It is believed to a be a potent anti-stress compound.

Antioxidant Capacity 

Melissa essential oil is noted for its powerful antioxidant capacity. In terms of ORAC values ( oxygen radical absorbance capacity ), Melissa officinalis oil has an antioxidant capacity of 134,300 μ TE pe 100 gm. This is among the highest among essential oils. The most powerful antioxidant is clove oil which has a ORAC value of 1,078,700 which is about 10 times more than lemon balm essential oil.

Buying and Storage

Lemon balm essential oil is a costly product. It is often adulterated with lemon and lemongrass essential oil. One should make sure that the essential oil is absolutely pure, organic and not adulterated by cheaper oils. It needs to be kept in a dark colored bottle away from sunlight.


1. Lemon Balm and Lavender herbal essential oils: Old and new ways to treat emotional disorders? Sawsan Abuhamdaha, b, Paul L. Chazot. Current Anaesthesia & Critical Care
2. Relaxant effect of essential oil of Melissa officinalis and citral on rat ileum contractions. H. Sadraeia, A. Ghannadib, K. Malekshahi. Fitoterapia
3. Antimicrobial and Antioxidant Activities of Melissa officinalis L. (Lamiaceae) Essential Oil. Natasa Simin et. al.
4. Anti-diabetic effects of lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) essential oil on glucose- and lipid-regulating enzymes in type 2 diabetic mice.Mi Ja Chung et. al. British Journal of Nutrition
5. Melissa officinalis L. essential oil: antitumoral and antioxidant activities.Allyne Carvalho de Sousa et. al. Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology
6. Melissa officinalis oil affects infectivity of enveloped herpesviruses. P. Schnitzler et. al. Phytomedicine
7. Essential Oil Component in Flower of Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis L.). Jafer Adinee, Khosro Piri and Omid Karami. American Journal of Biochemistry and Biotechnology

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