Wildflower of the Week – Monarda fistulosa – Wild Bergomot
MONARDA FISTULOSA | Wild Bergomot
Wild Bergamot also known as Horsemint & Bee Balm.
Monarda named in honor of Spanish botanist,
Nicolas Monardes, who wrote extensively in the
16th century about medicinal and useful plants.
Fistulosa from the Latin for "like a reed or
a pipe" referring to the individual flowers.
Common to the eastern and northeastern US and
the central Tallgrass region on rich, moist
soils. Found along the edges of woods, roadsides
and old pastures. Pink to light purple
flowers from July to September. Can grow to 5
feet. Typical square stem of the mint family.
Native Americans used a tea made from the
leaves of Wild Bergamot to treat colic,
flatulence, colds, fevers, stomachaches,
nosebleeds, insomnia, heart trouble
and to induce sweating in measles. Apoultice
made from the leaves was used to treat headaches.
Physicians once used the same leaf tea to expel worms and gas.
Edible Uses: Unknown
Medicinal Uses: Wild bergamot was often employed
medicinally by several native North
American Indian tribes who used it to treat
a variety of complaints, but especially
those connected with the digestive system.
It is still sometimes used in modern herbalism.
The leaves and flowering stems are carminative,
diaphoretic, diuretic and stimulant.
An infusion is used internally in the treatment
of colds, catarrh, headaches, gastric disorders,
aching kidneys, to reduce low fevers and soothe
sore throats. Externally,
it is applied as a poultice to skin eruptions,
cuts etc and as a wash for sore eyes. The
leaves can be harvested before the plant flowers,
or they can be harvested with the flowering stems.
They can be used fresh or dried. The plant contains
the essential oil 'bergamot oil' which can be
inhaled to treat bronchial complaints.The leaves
also contain 'thymol', an essential oil that can be used
to expel gas from the digestive tract.
Other Uses: The leaves have been used as an insect repellent.
Herbal Uses: Unknown
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