Saturday, August 10, 2013

Bee Balm

I have always loved herbs.
Their tastes and delicious scents have a profound affect on my mood.
One herb I have wanted to grow for a long time is bee balm,
also called monarda.
Every plant I plant succumbs to its environment here.
Not enough sun or air circulating around it I presume.
But every couple of years, I give it another try.

I love the scarlet bee balm (monarda didyma) the best:

Bee balm is very attractive to bees and butterflies and hummingbirds,
but there are also many varieties of it commonly used to make tea. 
According to NaturalNews.Com,
different varieties of bee balm make different teas.
The scarlet bee balm makes oswego tea, 
which is supposed to be good for digestion.

Another variety, mondara fistulosa has purplish flowers
and is commonly referred to as bergamot,
a chief ingredient in Earl Grey tea.

Unlike many herbs, bee balm is a plant native to the United States,
so it makes its appearance in English herbals very late.
According to Alice M. Coats, its genus name monarda 
comes from Dr. Nicolas Monardes, the Spanish physician 
who first described it in his book Joyfull newes out of the new founde worlde,
published in English in 1577.

Herbs as joyful news? 
I agree. 
Where else would joy spring but from a garden full of contented bees?

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