Family: Lamiaceae (Labiatae)
Extraction: Distilled from leaves. The sweet smell is soft, lemony.
Medicinal Action: Melissa treats indigestion, lung congestion, high blood pressure, muscle spasms, menstrual problems, and sometimes infertility. It fights inflammation and viral infections such as strep, herpes and chicken pox.
Emotional Attribute: Shock, distress, depression, nervousness and insomnia are helped by melissa's sedative action. Gerard (agreeing with Avicenna) said it "maketh the heart merry, joyful, strengthen the vital spirits."
Lemon Verbena (Aloysia triphylla, formerly Lippia citriodora) --Similar in fragrance and cost to melissa, lemon verbena is often adulterated with less expensive oils. It is used on oily complexions and for nervous indigestion. The soothing fragrance encourages both sleep and concentration.
(excerpted from _Aromatherapy:
A Complete Guide To The Healing Art_ by Kathi Keville and Mindy Green,
The name Melissa is an ancient title referring to a priestess of the Great Mother or to a nymph (the full-grown larva of bees are called nymphs)...
The Cretan Zeus was born in a cave of bees and was fed by them, and Zeus also had the title of Melissaios, Bee-man; he fathered a son, the hero Meliteus, by a nymph who hid the child from Hera in a wood, where Zeus had him fed by bees. Dionyous was fed on honey as a babe by the nymph Makris, daughter of Aristaeus, protector of flocks and bees.
As emblems of the goddesses Demeter, Cybele, Diana, Rhea and the Ephesian Artemis, bees are lunar and virgin. The bee appears on statues of Artemis and some of her priests were called Essenes - King Bees - Pausanias says that the word 'Essene' means King Bee. With the Essenes, 'King Bees' were priestly officials. Christ was called the 'aetherial bee'.(by the Church)
- _Dictionary of Symbolic
& Mythological Animals_, Cooper