Herbal Medicine 101, Lesson 26: Bee Balm/Bergamot


  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,641 admin

    Synchronicity! I just got an article in an email from Susun Weed about bee balm.

    I have wild bee balm (M. fistulosa) growing in my area although it isn't common. Certainly not common enough to harvest.

    I also have the red bee balm (M. didyma) growing in my garden. Second year for it. I've had the other hybrid garden varieties in the past but I like this one the best. You are very lucky to have it growing wild.

  • judsoncarroll4
    judsoncarroll4 Posts: 5,462 admin

    It is a very nice and useful herb. I would grow it for the hummingbirds alone, though.

  • MaryRowe
    MaryRowe Posts: 736 ✭✭✭✭

    I have a nice big patch of wild bee balm next to my house--it picked a spot of hard dry clay where nothing much else would grow, so I gladly let the bee balm have it. They call it horsemint around here, don't know why, but it is definitely M. fistulosa, (not the horsemint M. punctata described in the article Torey posted, which plant I have never seen either.)

    My bee balm patch was mostly for the hummingbirds at first, then I discovered what a lovely, soothing tea it makes, especially when I come down with flu, or just generally feeling under the weather or down about something. Then a mead-making acquaintance asked for some to flavor his mead, and took a start to get some going at his place. Then I discovered it is also very nice as an herbal incense or in smudging bundles.

    I hadn't thought about it as a topical before, but now you have me interested. Plan to tincture some to see what I can do with it, and maybe try the essential oil as well. I'm particularly intrigued by your suggestion of mixing bee balm and St. John's wort for damaged nerves--the nerves in the area below the incision for my hip replacement in March 2020 have never fully come back, and I think some experiments might be in order.

    Thanks for the information and inspiration.

  • judsoncarroll4
    judsoncarroll4 Posts: 5,462 admin

    I had not thought of mead or brewing with bee balm... good idea!

This Week's Leaders