lemon balm
Photo by Shaiith — Getty Images

Melissa officinalis or most known as lemon balm is a perennial from the Lamiaceae or mint family. It grows up to 2 ft., and in the spring and summer clusters of small, yellow flowers grow where the leaves meet the stem. The plant can be used fresh or dried. When blooming, the lemon balm attracts scores of bees, which feed on the tiny white flowers.

The oil is steam distilled from the buds but it is quite popular as a tea as well. Most used for calming one’s nerves and senses, this plant produces an essential oil that is quite expensive because yields are low while production costs are high. Lemon scents can be replicated using cheaper citrus and lemongrass essential oils, pure lemon balm is valued for its properties in aromatherapy for calming, and in scalp and skincare for it being an anti-inflammatory. 

When combined with other herbs it may be used to treat indigestion and with its high degree of antibacterial activity it has been shown to inhibiting bacterial infections in the colon, intestines, kidneys, and urinary tract. This oil blends very nicely with basil, frankincense, geranium, chamomile, rose, lavender, and ylang-ylang oils.

Why is this oil great for our hair?

At the top of the list, lemon balm is perfect for curly girls suffering from excess sebum or oily hair. Yes, there are curly girls who suffer from too much oil. It is a mild astringent perfect for combating oiliness and balancing the scalp. The tannins provide an anti-inflammatory property that soothes and relieves an inflamed and irritated scalp. Lemon balm has caffeic acid and ferulic acid. The high concentration of flavonoids gives it an antioxidant effect.

Lemon balm also contains eugenol, which calms muscle spasms, numbs tissues, and kills bacteria including on the scalp. Most utilized for an oily scalp but still has some usage for hair loss, cleansing the scalp as well as treating minor scalp irritations. Below is a DIY hair rinse for an oily scalp.

Lemon balm hair rinse

  • 3 tbsp. dried lemon balm
  • 2 cups of boiling water

Pour boiling water over dried lemon balm and allow to steep for eight hours or overnight. Strain herbs from liquid and pour rinse over your entire head making sure to massage the infusion in your scalp and hair. Pour this over your hair after deep conditioning and do not rinse with water.

Products with lemon balm

Sabrina Perkins


Sabrina, founder of seriouslynatural.org and contributor to several online publications, is a freelance writer who engages her audiences on the relevance of natural hair, beauty, and style.

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