Bee Balm (Monarda) 

Latin:  Monarda fistulosa (and other species)

Family:  Lamiaceae

Parts Used:  Mainly leaves

Taste/Energetics:  Warming, aromatic

Properties:  Anxiolytic, antispasmodic, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, antifungal, carminative, diaphoretic, emmenagogue, vulnerary

Actions:  This is an herb that had mainly fallen out of use in the Western herbal tradition but is enjoying a resurgence due to its numerous useful medicinal properties.   With its antimicrobial and diaphoretic properties,  monarda is useful for fighting off colds and the flu.  It has a nice soothing quality that can be useful for sore inflamed throats, especially when infused in honey.

It gently relaxes the stomach and any cramping and bloating to improve digestion.  Its antispasmodic properties are also useful for spasming coughs and menstrual cramps.  Externally, monarda can be used in salves for its ability to heal bruises, abrasions, bee stings and rashes.

Monarda is calmative and a nice herb to offer children, elderly or infirm due its  gentle action (think similar to other gentle mint family plants like lemon balm).

Dosage:  1-2 tsp infused in hot water for 10 minutes.  In tincture 1-2 ml to 2 x/day.  Lovely in honeys, syrups, oxymels, etc.

Contraindications:  Avoid in Pregnancy.

Further Reading:

Bee Balm monograph  by Rosalie de la Foret

Monarda   by Kiva Rose