Bee Balm and Lemon Balm (Mar. 23, 2010)

Last year I noticed that we had some very tall, beautiful looking flowers in our wildflower garden. The previous homeowners had planted them, so I had no idea what they were. So, I did a little research. I found out it’s called bee balm. Here’s a picture of the flower:

I found some more information about bee balm at http://www.altnature.com/gallery/beebalm.htm. It’s sometimes listed as Eastern Beebalm, Bergamot, Wild Oswego Tea, Horsemint, or Monarda.

There’s a similar plant, but in a different family, called Lemon Balm, or Mellissa Officinalis. I had this as a medicinal tea while I was in Europe on a mission trip one summer. When I introduced myself to one of the teens in Latvia, her first comment was, “Oh, like the tea.” At that point, I had to try it! It’s known for calming the stomach. And it works! I love it! And I’m having a hard time finding it in the grocery stores, even natural stores.

But Mellissa and Monarda are two different plants, so I’ll have to find seeds for Mellissa. They have similar calming affects on humans. Most commonly, they are used in teas. You can use the flower and the leaves, fresh or dried, to make your tea. I think I’ll be using my dehydrator when these flowers bloom again. Here’s a link on how to make lemon balm tea at herbalmedicine.suite101.com.

One more site that you might find interesting is http://www.organicgardening.com/. I signed up for their newsletter, and they included a “Wacky Garden Helpers” pdf. Check it out here: http://www.organicgardening.com/pdf/WackyGardenDL.PDF.

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