(From because bees are fond of it,) apiastrum, erotion, mellifoliutn; citrago, citraria, and cedronella, from its colour; melissa officinalis Lin. Sp. Pl. 827, is a well known plant in our gardens: the stalks are square; the leaves are oblong, pointed, dark green, somewhat hairy, and set in pairs, in the bosoms of which arise pale, reddish, labiated flowers, standing several together, on one pedicle, with the upper lip roundish, erect, and cloven, and the lower divided into three segments. It is perennial, a native of mountainous places in the northern parts of Europe, and flowers in our gardens in June.
Baum is one of the mildest cordials and corroborants: with a pleasant smell, resembling that of the lemon, and a weak aromatic taste, which it loses in a great degree by drying; a slight roughness discoverable in the fresh herb, becomes more sensible when dry; the young shoots are stronger than the full grown stems. Infusions of the leaves, in water, smell agreeably of the herb, but have not much taste, though, when inspissated, that of the extract is bitterish and austere. Infusions of baum do not, like other aromatics, offend the head. Cold infusions in water, or spirit are far better than the cohobated distilled water, and are the best preparations. It used to be considered as an efficacious nervous medicine in hypochondriasis and melancholia, as well as an emmenagogue. At present it is only given in infusion as a grateful diluent in fevers, sometimes acidulated with lemon juice.
On distilling the fresh herb with water, it strongly impregnates the first running with its grateful flavour. When large quantities are subjected to the operation, a small portion of essential oil, called ol. Syriae, or ol. Germanis, swims on the surface. It is of a yellowish colour, and a fragrant smell. See Molucca.
Melissa nepetha. See Calamintha.
Melissa calamintha. See Montana.
Melissa turcica, camphorosma, turkey, or Canary baum, commonly called balm of Gilead, dracoce-phalum Canariense Lin. Sp. Pl. 829. This species is a native of the Canary isles, and scarcely bears the cold of our climate without shelter. It is commended as a warm tonic if frequently drank in infusion.