July 6, 2018

Bee Balm

Proper name Monarda... also known as Bergamot.  Earl Grey tea is flavored with Bergamot leaves.
The blooms make a pretty addition to a flower arrangement and last a very long time. I have pink and white varieties in my garden but I have seen bright red as well.

I found the following in my search for uses for bee balm, Looks like it is good for everything! I make a tincture of the leaves and flowers. I also love bergamot tea - heck, I haven't found a tea I didn't like.

 Bee Balm leaves and flowers and stems are used in alternative medicine as an antiseptic, carminative, diaphoretic, diuretic and stimulant. A medicinal infusion is used internally in the treatment of colds, catarrh, headaches, and gastric disorders, to reduce low fevers and soothe a sore throat, to relieve flatulence, nausea, for menstrual pain, and insomnia. Steam inhalation of the plant can be used for sore throats, and bronchial catarrh (inflammation of the mucous membrane, causing an increased flow of mucus). Externally, Bee Balm is a medicinal application for skin eruptions and infections. Bergamot’s distinctive aroma, found in both the leaf and flower is wonderful for use in potpourri.

Bee Balm is easy to grow. They are happy in full sun or part shade and don't need any special care. The plants in my garden grow up to 4 feet tall and they spread to 3 or 4 feet wide. I'm sure they would spread farther if I didn't keep them pulled out when they get too think. They are easy to pull out so keeping them contained is easy. The bees and butterflies love them. I cut them back to about 6-8 inches when they are done blooming. I scatter a few seeds to be sure of plants the following year but most of the time they come back from the roots. 

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