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How to make lemon balm oil + 10 ways to use it

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This soothing lemon balm oil moisturizes and promotes skin healing. Lemon balm oil’s healing properties may help with cold sores.

Lemon balm, also called honey plant, or balm mint, has been used for centuries to alleviate anxiety and enhance mood. The easiest way to use lemon balm internally is to brew lemon balm tea

Alternatively, this potent DIY lemon balm tincture helps you overcome emotional stress.

melissa oil uses

This aromatic herb with an intense citrusy flavor called in Latin Melissa Officinalis attracts honey bees and repels mosquitoes naturally. Simply growing Melissa in your garden helps keep insects and mosquitoes away. Or use lemon balm to make this handy mosquito spray that you can carry with you wherever you go.

Lemon balm Oil

Lemon balm infused oil is made by maceration of dried or wilted lemon balm leaves in carrier oil for several weeks. The cold maceration allows the lemon balm to relieve its oil soluble compounds into the oil. After straining the herbal material, you will get potent lemon balm oil that will carry the medicinal properties of lemon balm.

how to make lemon oil at home

infused oil vs essential oil

At this stage, I would like to clarify the difference between lemon balm infused oil that you can make at home and lemon balm essential oil that is done by steam distillation and involve several steps and special equipment.  

While lemon balm-infused oil is easy to make at home, making essential oil requires a hundred times higher amount of herb to produce a few drops of essential oil. By simmering the herbs, you make steam that goes into a distillation tube and runs through cold water, condensing the steam into a liquid. The liquid, also called hydrosol, carries on the top a few drops of essential oil that one needs to capture. The process is quite tricky and results in a tiny amount of oil.

In this tutorial, however, we will cover the step-by-step process of making lemon balm infused oil at home. 

Benefits of Lemon balm oil for the skin

Heals cold sores caused by herpes simplex (HSV)

This study suggests that using lemon balm topically may help heal cold sores caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV). Lemon balm possesses antiviral properties that help to ease herpes simplex virus, both oral and genital.

In another study of 116 people with HSV, those who applied lemon balm cream to their lip sores experienced significant improvement in redness and swelling after only two days. 

Antibacterial properties

Another study revealed that melissa oil showed a higher degree of antibacterial activity than did Lavandula oil against Gram-positive strains. Both oil samples tested have shown high activity against Candida albicans. The gram-negative bacteria were not affected by the lemon balm oil.

melissa oil uses

Moisturizing and astringent

Lemon balm oil possesses astringent and antibacterial properties and can serve as a facial cleanser and moisturizer.

lemon balm oil recipe

First step – gather lemon balm leaves and stems

Whether you decide to Forage lemon balm, you grow your lemon balm is easy to identify.

A simple test of crushing the leaves between your fingers reveals its unmistakably citrusy flavor.

Like all herbs from the mint family, lemon balm stems are squared. When you twirl them around in your fingers, you will feel it.

With oppositely paired and deeply wrinkled leaves of dark green to yellowish green in color, lemon balm is easy to recognize. 

Alternatively, you can order dried lemon balm leaves online.

make lemon balm oil

Second step – drying lemon balm leaves

Fresh leaves contain moisture that could spoil the infused oil. To play safe, we use dry or wilted leaves for the infusion.

Spread the leaves on a baking sheet or drying rack and place them in a dry place out of direct sunlight. It takes up to 3 days to dry them completely. 

If you are in a hurry, you can use wilted leaves, which take just a few hours to rid of the most moisture or use a dehydrator.

Third Step – select carrier oil

The selection of a carrier oil depends on several criteria.

If your intention is to use the final infused oil for massages, you need to select carrier oil that is easily spreadable with a high absorption rate.

If you want to use this oil to make a night cream, select carrier oils rich in fatty acids and vitamins that will perfectly nourish your skin. 

Another factor to consider is the scent of carrier oil that should not be too heavy to cover the herb’s fragrance. In the case of lemon balm oil, we want to have a lemony fragrance and thus use a relatively neutral carrier oil. My intent was to use this homemade lemon balm oil to make lemon balm lip balm. Thus, I selected almond oil as a carrier oil. You can search in this guide for various oils properties, actions, and viscosity and choose the best for your particular project.

making lemon balm oil

Fourth step

Grind the dry leaves between your fingers to better absorb active compounds in the carrier oil.

Fifth step

Place them in a sterilized jar that is completely dry. Pour a carrier oil of your choice so, that all herbal material is covered with oil. Close the lid.

lemon balm oil recipe

Sixth step – select the maceration method

I like to use the old cold maceration method, which is easy to make but takes at least four weeks for the herb to release its medicinal properties. 

Place the jar in a warm and dry place for four weeks and keep an eye on it. Shake it occasionally, check if the oil hasn’t evaporated and all leaves are covered with the oil.

The second method is faster but requires a double boiler. If you want to speed up the process, you can use a heated infusion method using a double boiler. Place uncovered jar with lemon balm leaves and carrier oil in a double boiler. Let it simmer for 3-4 hours at a low temperature of around 40 C (100 F). It is essential to monitor the water level periodically so it won’t evaporate. Through this gradual maceration in a water bath, you can obtain high-quality lemon balm oil.

Seventh step

After four weeks, strain the herbal material using a fine strainer or cheesecloth and discard it. Use a pure melissa oil that you need to label. 

how to make lemon balm oil
How long does this lemon balm oil last?

It can last up to 1 year if stored properly in a dark and cold place. To extend its shelf life up to 2 years, you can refrigerate it.

Melissa oil uses

  1. I used it as a base for this lemon balm lip balm which is a great solution for cold sores.
  2. Similarly, you can make salve or cream
  3. Add Melissa oil to your moisturizer or to a spray bottle with water and spritz your face
  4. For its astringent properties, add a few drops to your toner or make up remover.
  5. Use it to make lemon balm soap
  6. Because this oil has an aromatic, citrusy flavor, it is great to use in salad dressings
  7. It also makes a tasty marinate for the chicken or fish
  8. BATH OIL – its soothing and relaxing properties make a wonderful calming bath. Relax with a lemony fragrance of lemon balm oil. Just a few splashes make you relax, help to relieve tension, and calm your mind.
  9. Similarly, this melissa oil makes a great massaging oil that makes you relaxed and can help calm anxiety and ease pain. 
  10. Use it to make these relaxing lemon bath bombs
Lemon balm oil recipe
Yield: 240 ml (8 oz or 1 cup)

How to make lemon balm oil

how to make lemon balm essential oil

This soothing lemon balm oil moisturizes and promotes skin healing. Lemon balm oil’s healing properties may help with cold sores.

Active Time 15 minutes
Additional Time 28 days
Total Time 28 days 15 minutes
Difficulty Easy

Instructions

  1. Grind the dry lemon balm leaves between your fingers for better absorption of active compounds in the carrier oil.
  2. Place them in a sterilized jar that is completely dry. Pour a carrier oil of your choice, so all herbal material is covered with oil. Close the lid.
  3. Place the jar in a warm and dry place for four weeks and keep an eye on it. Shake it occasionally, check if the oil hasn’t evaporated and all leaves are covered with the oil.
  4. After 4-6 weeks strain the herbal material using a fine strainer or cheesecloth and discard it. Use just pure melissa oil and label it.

Notes

If you want to speed up the process, you can use a heated infusion method using a double boiler. Place uncovered jar with lemon balm leaves and carrier oil in a double boiler. Let it simmer for 3-4 hours at a low temperature of around 40 C (100 F). It is important to monitor the water level periodically so it won’t evaporate. Through this gradual maceration in a water bath, you will be able to obtain high-quality lemon balm oil

Did you make this project?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram

Vladka Merva on August 26th, 2022

4 Comments on “How to make lemon balm oil + 10 ways to use it”

  1. I have some lemon balm powder, how much of the powder would I add to a cup of oil to infused it?

    Reply
  2. Infusing lemon balm powder into oil is a great way to extract its flavor and potential benefits. The ratio of powder to oil can vary but I would start with
    1 to 2 tablespoons of lemon balm powder per cup of oil.

    However, you can adjust this ratio based on how strong you want the infusion.

    Reply
  3. For the ½ cup of dried lemon balm leaves, you can loosely pack them into the measuring cup. Whether they are lightly crumbled or whole leaves doesn’t need to be exact. The goal is to have enough leaves to fill about ½ cup when measured.

    Reply

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