Acqua di Melissa

Cannaregio, 54 - 30121 Venezia - Venice   see map - Contact
The melissa water of the Discalced Carmelite Fathers of Venice, still prepared according to the ancient original method, is based on a special Melissa: Moldavica or Turkish, a spontaneous species native to the Carpathians. The Melissa herb is directly cultivated and distilled in steam by the Discalced Carmelite Fathers. The Melissa Water of the Discalced Carmelite Fathers of Venice comes from the association of different essential oils extracted from officinal plants; the essential oil of Melissa Moldavica, the most important and abundant of the preparation, is accompanied by those of Cedro, Garofano and Cannella. Produced and distributed since 1710.

Acqua di Melissa History

The Melissa moldavica or (Dracocephalum moldavia) is the plant from which the essential oil is extracted at the base of all the melissa products of the Discalced Carmelites of Venice.

The recipe of the Melissa alcolato comes from the 1611 France where the Melissa officinalis was used, but the formula used by the Venetian friars, starting from 1710, uses the Melissa moldavica, a variation that made the fortune of the product. The alcolato was so successful that the Discalced Carmelites of Venice, to defend it from counterfeiting, demanded and obtained the exclusive of the production in 1754. Currently the herbal products and the alcoholic of Melissa are no longer produced by the Discalced Carmelites of Venice but from the confreres of Verona. The Melissa is still present in the convent of Venice, cultivated in the second flowerbed of the Mystical Garden, the hortus semplicium.

M. moldavica is an annual plant that grows mainly in arid environments and prefers the hilly areas above 200 meters above sea level. The plant is famous for its bluish flowers that are very similar to those of the Melissa officinalis. The blue flowers can remember a snake's head and it is from this characteristic that it has earned the name of Dracocephalim which literally means "snake's head". The name melissa instead is related to its relationship with the bees, in Greek mélissa means bee because it is pollinated mainly by this insect, attracting in large numbers during its flowering.

This delicate plant, which blooms between June and October, has brought its beneficial properties from the southern regions of Siberia where it comes from, even though it is now adapted to the Mediterranean regions.

Its leaves are harvested in June and dried before extraction of the essential oil by steam distillation.

The essential oil dissolved in alcohol (70%) began to be used for therapeutic empiricism in 1710. From empiricism we have moved to modern scientific studies on the essential oil components, which have confirmed some of the properties already identified at the empirical level. . The extract is rich in flavonoids which are strongly antioxidant molecules. Also present geraniol and linalool which have antibacterial and antifungal properties. Rosmarinic acid, on the other hand, gives an anti-inflammatory action.

A top product among those with melissa is "Acqua di Melissa", a blend of essential oils dissolved in alcohol. The scientific study and the ancient knowledge of 300 years lead to determine the following ways of use:
Fainting and dizziness: to be sniffed a few drops on the handkerchief, wet the nostrils, rub the forehead.
    Stomach upset: take a little water (one teaspoon) or some drops on a sugar cube.
    Toothache: take a few drops in the mouth or soak a little cotton and bring it to the painful area.
    Headache and insomnia: moisten with forehead and temples.
    Inflammation of the mouth and throat: Place 10/15 drops in a glass with a little water and gargle, rinse 3 or 4 times a day.
    Respiratory inflammation: Take a few drops on a sugar cube, 2 or 3 times a day.
    Inflammation of the skin and burns: rub several times with a cotton swab moistened with a few drops.
    Dandruff and hair loss: rub the hair with a little bit of drops after shampooing and before rinsing.

All herbal products, Acqua di Melissa above all, can be found at the Punto Amico, the Carmelite shop of the Scalzi di Venezia, located next to the Church at number 54 of Cannaregio. The times of the Punto Amico are: 9 - 13 and 16 - 19, with closure on Monday.

Acqua di Melissa

Time period
  • 1700s
  • Italy, Venice
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Acqua di Melissa
  Cannaregio, 54 - 30121 Venezia

Acqua di Melissa
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