Jon Mychal Heatherly
Benefits When You Brew Bee Balm
Updated: Dec 3, 2021
A minty, sage-like tea
Native to North America, indigenous tribes use this perennial herb for teas and medicines. Also called horsemint, Oswego, and bergamot, the flowers attract many pollinators. Find it wild between the Mississippi river and Appalachia up to Ontario.
Bee balm soothes bee stings and minor abrasions. The Blackfoot used it for external antisepsis, while the Cherokee and Teton Dakota alleviated stomach issues. The Chippewa and Meskwaki treated colds with it, and Ojibwa reduced fever and convulsions.
This herb smells like orange bergamot, a flavor of Earl Grey. Its binomial name derives from European Nicolás Monardes — a 16th-century slave trader, botanist, and medical doctor — who first categorized it.
Scientific name: Monarda didyma l. Tastes: minty, blended flavors of sage and oregano Uses: tea, expectorant, poultice, stomach relief