A Haitian Treasure: Melis (Lemon Balm)

Lemon balm, Melissa officinalis, is a perennial herb in the mint family. Lemon balm, known as melis in Haitian Kreyol, grows best above 70 degrees. It has a fresh, floral, sweet lemon scent, making it a popular essential oil in aromatherapy.  It is known for being purifying, balancing, and vitalizing. This also makes it popular as a starting point for perfume materials, soap, and incense.
In Haiti, lemon balm is commonly used as tea, and that's how I'm familiar with it. Growing up, I had simmering cups of Melis tea prepared for me for a variety of reasons. It is really good for treating colds and for calming anxiety.  But is known for being especially good at easing the discomforts associated with indigestion.

Fun fact: Lemon balm is often co-distilled with citronella, a plant that is closely related to lemon balm, but is quite different. Haiti is one of the world's TOP producers of citronella, but not of lemon balm.
Some Benefits:
  • naturally anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-spasmodic
  • can block some of the activity of the thyroid hormone
  • calms the nervous system through its citral and citronella components
  • natural astringent
  • known to be topically effective against cold sores
  • relieves nausea, bloating and gas
  • eases anxiety and stress
Suggested Uses:
  • as a tea, tincture, or powder concentrate
  • as a surgical dressing on wounds under proper medical guidance
  • as a cream to apply to lesions
  • as an essential oil for steam inhalation
  • as a natural insect repellent
  • for culinary uses
  • as a massage oil

In health,
Dr. Naika

The "Haitian Treasures" series was created by Dr. Naika in 2012. This series explores the magnificent benefits and uses of Haiti's natural resources, which Dr. Naika calls "Haitian Treasures". In this series, Dr. Naika explores the tie between Haiti's natural resources and natural, traditional, and holistic healing.

This blog post was originally posted on Dr. Naika's lifestyle blog, Naika in Balance. Dr. Naika's work is copyrighted. Please do not copy or repost Dr. Naika's work without citing her content as the original source.