Jul 012008

The bees are in a glorious mood just now, buzzing and hovering above the honey sweet Beebalm flowers. Every year I wait for just this moment, for the rains that come sweeping in from the south, the new green growth that erupts everywhere and for the magnificent blooms of one of my favorite flowers. Not only is this blossom ungodly gorgeous, but it’s one of the most versatile and effective medicines I’ve ever used.

I’m not really sure I need to write about it anymore considering how much is already here. I’ve confirmed my primary uses for the plant over and over again, especially for many kinds of systemic infection (with Alder!) and specifically for the mucus membranes. That means yeast infections, UTI’s, toothaches and many gut infections.

Also, Beebalm tincture on burns is nothing short of great, it will kick your Lavender EOs butt every time, and is even better with a bit of Evening Primrose tincture. The salve is fabulous, I mix it up with Mugwort and Alder usually for a strange smelling but super super effective wound healer.

The honey made with the flowers is heavenly, and I don’t say that lightly. It tastes like spicy hot sweetness gone buzzy on your tongue. Pure pleasure. And if you don’t eat it up right away, then it also makes an excellent wound/burn dressing.

Keep in mind I’m speaking particularly of my own Mondarda fistulosa var. menthaefolia, your local Monarda may taste different (I’ve had delightfully and delicately sweet M. didyma from Ananda, yum) but so far, all spp. seem to work very similarly. I prefer a tincture made from fresh flowers for the strongest medicine, but also utilize the dried leaves for less intense purposes or broader applications to the body (makes a real nice decongesting steam).

Around here, everyone calls it Wild Oregano or Oregano de la Sierras, because the leaves smell very similar to Oregano, only better. We use them as a spice year round. It’s a good thing then, that the plant is very prevalent up the arroyo because we use tons of the stuff every year. Literal pounds just for our family’s use.

If you can take the super spicy taste it also makes a great relaxing diaphoretic, but it’s easier to swallow with equal parts Elderflower, Yarrow, Mint and maybe a pinch of Wild Pennyroyal (Hedeoma is what I use but probably Monardella would work just fine too).

If you have this plant nearby, I strongly recommend getting to know it. And if you’d like to read (much) more about it, check out some of my old posts on it:

This is probably my best overview of Beebalm

Monarda for your Mouth

My oldest Monarda post, but still worth reading.

Herbal steam (including Beebalm) for congestion

Beebalm for your bladder

My Top 12 Winter Remedies

And if you use the search box, I bet you’ll find even more!

Beebalm pic (c)2008 Kiva Rose

  10 Responses to “Bee’s Delight: Gathering Mountain Mondarda”

  1. Interesting that the Monardas from you in NM bloom at the same time as the ones here in CT so far away. Was just about to post on it myself πŸ™‚ Not sure there is anything left to say really -lol- but they are so damn pretty I forget all about fireworks. Who needs them? Bee balms put out their own show. My red ones seduce the hummingbird too, who hovers around all day when she blooms.

  2. Ours just started blooming too, here in Oregon, and the hummingbirds engage in aerial warfare over the blossoms, even though we have TWO enormous clumps of red Monarda Didyma.

    I tasted the blossoms, they’re not SUPER hot, but they are sort of like Oregano kicked up a notch. I’m excited to work with this plant a little more, it grows like mad for me. Every year I divide it up and give plants away, and it just keeps giving more and more. Love it! Thanks for gathering all your posts up so I can reference all of them.

  3. yup we just got flowers here ont he mentheafolia, i found some yesterday! and the pectinata is going gangbusters an dwill flower soon!! just in time for my herb walk!

  4. Interesting post. I love minarda. Saw a hummingbird partaking of its goodness yesterday.

    I’m curious though, can you use the leaves if they have a little of the white powder on them. I’m assuming it’s a fungus of some kind?


  5. Everyone loves beebalm! yay… our hummingbirds are also entranced (and crazed, as usual) by the flowers.

    We made beebalm pesto yesterday and it was so spicy we had to add lamb’s quarters to it to chill it out.

    our pectinata comes with the monsoons so it should be going crazy shortly. pretty pretty.

  6. Sage, I’ve not seen the white powder…. can you just brush it off or gently/briefly wash them?

  7. The white powder is powdery mildew – very common in more humid zones and up here it gets to most bee balms at the very end of their bloom cycle when the heat starts to peak. you can’t really just brush it off. keeping the Monarda patch thinned to increase air circulation helps a ton.

  8. Thanks Ananda, that’s what I get for living in a dry climate, completely mildew ignorance πŸ˜€

  9. Love your artical on Bee Balm
    When you tincture do you use both leaves and flowers and what proof of vodka.

  10. Hi Sue,

    Most often I opt to use mostly just flowers for tincture and save leaves for tea but it works fine to use both…

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