Aromatherapy: Melissa Oil for Beauty and Home

Green Mulch Lemon Balm Mask

This is a wonderful primitive and satisfying mask to make and use, and good on dry or sensitive skin.

  • 2 handfuls of fresh lemon balm leaves
  • 2 tbsp still mineral water
  • 2 pieces of gauze or muslin (each large enough to cover half your face)

Spread both pieces of gauze on a flat surface. Put the herbs and water into a food processor and blend until completely liquidised. Add a little more water if necessary, but ensure the mixture is not too runny or it will drip through the gauze and make it difficult to keep in place. Then, spread the mixture over the centre of each piece of gauze, then fold over the edges and make into two neat parcels. Place one over the forehead (this should cover the area down to the tip of your nose) and leave for 20 minutes. Then remove the mask and throw it away. To finish, blot the skin dry and apply moisturiser.

Moisturising Milk Bath Blend

This combination of ingredients creates a fragrance and effect very similar to genuine melissa oil. The following quantity makes enough for two baths, so cover leftovers and keep in the fridge for up to 2 days.

225ml milk
banana, peeled and roughly chopped
3tbsp clear honey
3 drops pure lemon oil
3 drops pure lemongrass oil

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Put the milk, banana, eggs and honey into a food processor and blend. Then add the drops of essential oils and whizz briefly to mix. Run a warm bath, and just before stepping in add half the mixture and swish around to disperse. Soak for 15-20 minutes. Pat dry, leaving a film of the blend on your skin, which will continue the moisturising effect.

Lemon Balm Freshener

For centuries, lemon balm has been used as a refreshing skin tonic. This recipe is particularly good for dry or sensitive skin.

75g fresh (or 30g dried) lemon balm leaves
500ml water

Put the lemon balm into a jug. Boil the water and allow to come off the boil before pouring over the herb. Cover the mixture and leave to infuse for 10 minutes. Strain through a nylon sieve into a dark glass bottle and, when the infusion has cooled, use as a skin freshener or to remove face masks.

Melissa 'Substitute' Bath Oil

This relaxing bath blend is ideal to help you unwind at the end of a hard day. The blend will soothe frayed nerves and encourage a good night's sleep.

1 drop lemongrass oil
2 drops mandarin oil
2 drops pure neroli oil
5ml sweet almond oil

Mix the essential oils into the carrier oil and add to a warm bath. Swish to disperse and soak for at least 10-15 minutes. Blot dry.

Lemon Balm Rebalancing Shampoo

aromatherapy shampoo

This mild shampoo for oily hair will not strip the hair of its natural oils, but help to rebalance the natural sebaceous secretions and leave the hair with a very delicate, refreshing lemon fragrance.

30g grated Castile soap
500ml water
1 handful lemon balm leaves
2 drops pure lemon essential oil

Pour 500ml near-boiling water over a handful of fresh lemon balm leaves and leave the infusion to stand overnight. Strain the tea an throw away the herbs. The pour it into an enamel saucepan, and add the grated Castile soap. Gently heat the mixture, stirring constantly until the soap has completely melted. Allow the mixture to cool then add the lemon essential oil and shake well the mix thoroughly.

This recipe makes enough for eight shampoos. If the shampoo solidifies in cold conditions, warm and shake gently to mix the ingredients thoroughly.

Golden Pot Pourri

A warming, fresh potpourri for your home. You can dry your own plants or buy a packet of ready-dried material. You will need about three times as much fresh plant material as dried.

You will need:

  • 1 1/2 cups mixed dried leaves of lemon verbena, lemon balm and southernwood (for extra texture and interest, add golden marjoram leaves, a few golden hop leaves and some hops flowers)
  • 1 cup mixed dried pot marigold heads, sunflower petals, golden rod flowers, fennel flowers and yellow helichrysum flowers
  • rind of 2 oranges
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp orris root power
  • 5 drops pure melissa oil
  • 2 drops pure bergamot oil
  • 2 drops orange-flower essence
  • greaseproof paper
  • a potato peeler
  • a tin
  • a bowl

Scrape the thin strips of rind off the oranges and lemon with a potato peeler, and lay on greaseproof paper. Put into a warm airing cupboard and leave to dry until papery (around a week). Mix together in a tin. Return to the airing cupboard for a further week, then put into a bowl and display.

Scented Soap Balls

These unusual and refreshing 'wash balls' make an ideal gift.

You will need:

  • 150g bar of white unscented soap
  • 250ml lemon balm tea
  • 1 tbsp fine oatmeal
  • 1 tsp crushed dried lemon balm (or lemon verbena) leaves
  • 5 drops pure melissa oil
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Grate the soap and put into a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of boiling water. Pour in the lemon balm tea and stir until the soap begins to melt and forms a thick paste. Add the dried herbs and essential oil. Divide the mixture into nine equal pieces and roll between the hands to form apricot sized balls. Leave in a warm place to dry out for several days.