Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis ) is a shrub-like herbaceous plant that grows wild in Europe. It is characterized by leaves covered with a soft down and by small flowers that change color as they mature, passing from pale yellow to pinkish white, to pale blue in full bloom. Thanks to its antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory properties, due to the essential oils it contains, it is used in the treatment of many ailments. It is also known in popular tradition with the name of limoncella, due to the unmistakable lemon scent emanating from its leaves.
Lemon balm is commonly used to counter anxiety states related to manifestations affecting the gastrointestinal system. Due to its antispasmodic , anti- inflammatory and carminative action it is particularly indicated in case of neuralgia, digestive disorders , abdominal cramps and colitis .
In fact, modern phytotherapy considers lemon balm as the best herbal remedy for somatizations of nervous origin in the stomach and intestines , thanks to its excellent anxiolytic action and its ability to relax the smooth muscles of the abdominal organs. It has a calming, spasmolytic and carminative effect by relaxing the intestinal walls , restoring the normal rhythm of peristalsis , reducing bloating and calming abdominal spasms , so much so that it is also an ideal remedy for premenstrual syndrome constipation .
It also helps to counteract headaches and migraines of nervous origin , thanks to the relaxing action of the essential oil contained in its leaves on the nervous and muscular system. Its use is particularly indicated, therefore, in case of general irritability , lack of sleep caused by excessive fatigue, nervousness and tachycardia on an emotional basis .
Melissa: between myth and legend
The myth tells that the Mother Earth Rhea, in order to save her son Zeus from her husband Cronos, who devoured her newborn children in order not to be ousted, gave birth to the God on the island of Crete and entrusted him to the care of the nymphs Amalthea , who he fed with his own goat's milk, and Melissa , who supplied him with the honey distilled for him by the bees who guarded the entrance to the cave.
Once he became an adult, Zeus, to thank Melissa for her care, decided to free her from her mortal body and turn her into a bee. In ancient times the bee was in fact considered a sacred creature, associated with divinity . The name Melissa derives from the Greek and there is probably a correlation with the fact that the lemon scent of the plant attracts bees, who willingly suck the nectar to produce honey.
A bit of history
In many ancient civilizations , the appellative '' Melissa '' was used to indicate women considered to be particularly wise and rich in virtues. The Priestesses of the mysteries of Eleusis and Ephesus were also called "Melisse" , because in the initiation rites they washed their hands and mouth with honey, to purify their actions and words.
It was initially introduced in medicine as a remedy for bad mood and depression : Galen and Paracelsus recommended it for the treatment of psychic disorders, also considering it capable of counteracting moods such as sadness and melancholy.
During the Middle Ages, lemon balm became a medicinal herb in all respects. Its essential oil was judged by the Arabs to be suitable for strengthening the heart and brain, so much so that Charlemagne ordered its cultivation in the gardens of the kingdom, and the " lemon balm water " of the French Carmelites became a very renowned liqueur for its effectiveness against physical pain. and nervous. Even today, herbal teas and infusions of lemon balm are appreciated for their calming and mildly sedative effect , as well as being recommended to benefit the digestive organs when disturbances of nervous origin occur.
You can find lemon balm in Intestinal Wellness !