Bergamot, Bee Balm
Other Names: Monarda, Monarda didyma, Scarlet Monarda,
Oswego tea, bee balm, Red bee balm.
Habitat: This prolific perennial herb bears scarlet
flowers beloved by bees for their nectar. It's hard, square, grooved stems grow up to 3
feet tall, and the rough, dark, paired leaves which branch off from them, when crushed,
exude an exotic fragrance strongly reminiscent of bergamot oranges. Bergamot is very easy
to grow, preferring a light moist soil in either sun or shade. However, as with all the
other mints, you will have to keep an eye on its roots to make sure they do not begin to
strangle your other herbs. (Many gardeners plant mints in boxes or pots only for this very
reason). Such is the exuberance of the bergamot, you will probably be able to divide it
every 3 years, keeping one clump and giving away the others to your friends.
Properties: Bergamot is a rich source of
aromatic antiseptic substance used extensively in modern medicine and dentistry. The chief
value of the herb for the herbalist, however, is as an infusion to benefit an upset
stomach, nausea, and vomiting.
TRY THIS RECIPE
Bergamot Tea: Infuse 1 teaspoon dried bergamot in 1
covered cup boiling water for fifteen minutes. Strain and add honey to flavor.
Copyright 1996, 1998 by Lori Herron, R.N.and Alternative Nature
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