Melissa Distillation (Archive Feb 2013)

Aromatic Adventures News Letter 6 Melissa 

I had delayed this newsletter to hopefully share my experiences making my first distillation of osmanthus hydrosol but after planting the trees a few months ago and lots of vigorous growth and a lot hot summer, there has been no sign of any flowers....I found this great website packed with information about this most incredible smelling oil and the hydrosol is just as gorgeous ( But my anticipation and excitement will have to wait a while....

Melissa Officinalis Hydrosol

I have completed one distillation of melissa hydrosol ( about three weeks later than I had planned) but it turns out waiting was a good thing as the plants not only grew bigger but there is a lot of new growth underneath to carry over to the new season. As an essential oil, melissa is one of the most expensive with one of the lowest yields. it is also often highly adulterated. So i thought I would give the hydrosol a go this year, leaving in what ever few molecules were in there.
I distilled approx. 350 gm leaves/branches as a steam distillation. I put 6 litres of water in the base of the still and my yield was approx. 2.4 litres of hydrosol. I could have carried on further but felt that the aroma was turning to a ‘cooked’ smell so left it. Comparing with the hydrosols I have done a 50% output is quite low. The aroma of the hydrosol is not as crisp and lemony as the actual plant, it almost has an earthy note to it. I could not measure the pH at this time as my meter had chosen to break! Referring to Suzanne Catty’s text, ‘Hydrosols The Next Aromatherapy’ she notes that melissa hydrosol would have a ph of 4.8-5. She states that melissa hydrosol is very stable and would last up to 2 years. As I use a copper alembic still , this will also provide some anti microbial protection. Melissa is safe to be drunken, especially at times of stress (dilute 60 ml in 1 litre of water). I find it interesting that it will assist with intestinal spasms (taken internally) and externally has use  as a soothing agent for rashes, irritations and excema. True to form I got slightly sunburnt the day I harvested, sneaking a quick dip in the spa pool in the middle of the day without any sunscreen. It was a cloudy day but here in NZ that means nothing. two days later parts of my legs are still inflamed and sore so I conducted a test using melissa as a compress- the melissa hydrosol compress was instantly soothing and cooling and seemed to speed up the healing.
All the best Wendy

Posted: Tuesday 4 January 2022