Bergamot (Monarda didyma)

Bergamot (Monarda didyma)

Other common names: Oswego tea, bee balm (a few plants are known by this common name), crimson bee balmscarlet bee balmscarlet monarda

*Not to be confused with wild bergamot (Monarda fistulosa) or bergamot orange (Citrus bergamia) or one of the other herbs termed “bee balm” – these are completely different plants.

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

The following information may not be re-posted, copied or published without my permission and appropriate credit given. Please contact me via email (listed on the About page) if you wish to re-publish any of the information on my blog.

Family: Lamiaceae

Actions: 

Antimicrobial, vulnerary, carminative, antifungal, antioxidant, emmenagogue, analgesic, febrifuge, stomachic, aromatic, diuretic, antispasmodic, nervine, decongestant, uterine stimulant, anticatarrhal

Harvest: 

Diagram courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Diagram courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Flowers June – September – blossoms are best harvested just as they are opening, and leaves are best used when they are young.

Part used: Aerial parts, fresh or dried

Constituents: 

Thymol, volatile oils, carvacrol, rosmarinic acid and others.

Indications:

Dental health, oral and throat infections, canker sores, gas, indigestion, gingivitis, fever, colds/flu, fungal infections, mild pain, topical infections, cuts/scrapes, fluid retention, PMS, spasms, coughs, urinary tract infections, yeast infections, excess phlegm, congestion, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, promoting menstrual flow.

Medicinal preparations:

Internal

Bergamot is commonly used as a  mouthwash to aid in oral health concerns. It is also used as a tea infusion, and could be used in capsules and tinctures as well. It makes a great addition to a steam inhalation for congestion or respiratory infections.

External

This herb could be tinctured or infused and incorporated into salves, creams, poultices and washes for external use. It can even be included in an eyewash.

Contraindications:

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/User:Smartbyte

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/User:Smartbyte

Do not use if pregnant or nursing. Consult with a doctor before administering to a child in medicinal doses, or before taking it yourself if you have kidney/gallstones or other underlying health concerns, or are taking medications.

I suggest consulting a pharmacist or physician before starting any herbal supplement if you are taking a prescription medication or have serious underlying health concerns.

Energetic/traditional use:

The Blackfoot tribe and other First Nations cultures have traditionally used this plant in their medicine for many generations. They also used it in sweat lodge ceremonies, as it induces profuse sweating.  The Oswego natives showed early settlers how to use this plant, which is why it is still known as Oswego tea to this day. Its aromatic scent makes it useful in aromatherapy, and adds to its appeal as an overall pick-me-up when someone is sick.

Energetically, this plant is spicy and feisty – all about no-nonsense integrity. Rather than having a whimsical, flighty disposition or mincing words, it is solid and honest in its healing and its plant personality. Its constitution is hot and dry.

Disclaimer: The information on this website is intended as general education on herbs and is not intended to take the place of medical care. Please consult a health care professional before embarking on any health regime.

 

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