Earlier this week a follower reached out to me with this very curious question:
“Question about Melissa Officianalis: why is this one of doTERRA’s rarest oils? It grows profusely anywhere you plant it. It's not endangered. I was shocked at its price so thought that I would ask (quietly of course) thx!” - Loyal Follower
While I know she asked me privately as to not raise any eyebrows about cost with my other followers…..I thought it was important to discuss, because YES, Melissa essential oil IS expensive. And I have no shame in saying so because of the number of reasons that explain why!
First, let’s talk about the oil and what makes it so special!
What is Melissa Oil?
With a sweet lemon fragrance, the Melissa plant, also known as Melissa officinalis or lemon balm, is the herbaceous origin of Melissa essential oil. This rare oil is extracted from the leaf of the Melissa plant and is cherished by many for its large array of uses and benefits.
It has been used as part of traditional health practices in Europe for over 2,000 years. It was used to support cognitive health, calm the nervous system, support digestive health, and promote healthy immune function. The emperor Charlemagne is said to have ordered melissa grown in the herb gardens in his empire.
What Is Melissa Oil Used For?
Melissa essential oil contains strong soothing properties. When used aromatically or topically, it can help promote feelings of relaxation and can assist in calming tension and nerves. Melissa oil is also valued for its fresh, sweet, and citrus-like aroma. In the kitchen, Melissa oil can be used to flavor a variety of different foods and drinks such as teas, ice cream, and some fish dishes.
Melissa oil contains the chemical constituents citral, germacrene, and beta-caryophyllene, all of which are supportive to the immune system. Experimental research suggests that citral has internal cleansing properties that may help support healthy immune system function when needed most. When taken internally, Melissa helps support healthy immune response. It also provides antioxidant support.
Like Frankincense, Melissa is supportive of cellular health. The citral content in particular, supports healthy cellular function in the nervous system when taken internally. Take a drop of Melissa under the tongue every morning to promote healthy cellular function, support cognitive health, and soothe the nervous system.
What Does Melissa Oil Smell Like?
With a sweet lemon, fresh, herbaceous aroma, this essential oil is calming and soothing. Diffuse or rub on your chest to lessen stress and promote emotional well-being. It can be especially helpful at night to promote feelings of relaxation and help encourage a restful night’s sleep. Tip: Mix Melissa and Lavender essential oils with fractionated coconut oil for a massage blend to calm the mind and body.
So – the question is….Why is Melissa essential oil so expensive?
Extremely Low Yield
The melissa plant has one of the lowest yielding oils, which means it takes the most plant matter to produce a bottle of oil, making Melissa essential especially precious. It take 22 pounds of Melissa leaves to produce a 5ml bottle of Melissa essential oil.
Watch this video about the Bulgarian Distillery, Esseterre, to learn more about the melissa plant. (2:40 mark)
Melissa is a very tender crop that will fail completely if the weather conditions are not just right. For example, a few years ago there was too much rain and the entire crop was wasted.
One of the keys with Melissa is that it’s a very sensitive. Once it’s harvested, it has to be distilled within an hour or two – so there is a short window of time between harvest and distillation before it loses potency. So doTERRA only accepts plants within a 50 kilometer radios from the distillery.
Also, doTERRA chooses to harvest only at peak time for max yield, potency and effectiveness. This peak time is a 12 hour timeframe! This is part of the strategy to have Melissa for years to come.
doTERRA sources the plant from Bulgaria where it’s easy to grow, but the climate and soil are perfect, which makes the profile they are looking for - Highest quality. They are not just taking the lemon balm that is growing in your back yard.
Side Note: Through using a strategy called “Co-Impact Sourcing,” doTERRA is working to improve lives and communities throughout the world. Co-Impact Sourcing helps create coalitions of growers and distillers that eliminate the need for those third parties. Thus, local communities are receiving fair and timely payments that not only support their crops and harvest, but also have a direct, immediate impact on the community as well. doTERRA works with these coalitions to provide the resources, tools, and training necessary to ensure a long-lasting partnership. Do a Google search for The Healing Hands Foundation for more info!
Essential oils contain many health-promoting benefits that can improve lives and assist in individual needs; however, in order to obtain the full benefits that each essential oil has to offer, an essential oil needs to be PURE.
Because of the extremely low yield we talked about above, Melissa essential oil costs in the thousands per KG direct from source. Because of this, Melissa is one of the most adulterated essential oils. Unfortunately, Melissa, like many essential oils available to purchase, are not pure and contain contaminants and fillers that reduce the effectiveness of an essential oil.
Almost all the Melissa oil sold on Amazon and Ebay are fakes and can easily be proven as such by an experienced analyst with GC/MS analysis.
doTERRA has made it their mission to provide a pure grade of quality essential oils. To ensure purity of these essential oils, doTERRA places each batch of their oils through the CPTG Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade® protocol. This protocol consists of a series of rigorous tests that assess the purity of each batch of oils. If essential oils have been tested and found pure, the oils are then sold so that people across the globe can experience the powerful effects of pure essential oils.
For all these reasons, Melissa is an expensive oil, but remember, it’s a must have oil, and it should be from doTERRA.
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Reference: The Essential Life, 6th edition
Reference: doTERRA Essential Oils website
Reference: Essential Oil University
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