Article - BergamotCommon Name: BERGAMOT, (BEEBALM)
Scientific Name: Monarda didyma
Hardy and decorative garden perennial. Evergreen.
Flowers are flamboyant and can range from white to vivid scarlet (they are so attractive to bees that it is sometimes called Bee-balm).
The entire plant, which is related to mint, is impregnated with a delightful fragrance. A tea from the leaves used to be drunk by the Oswego Indians from North America - hence the country name Oswego tea. It is rich in tannin, minerals and vitamins.
Use flowers (petals) and chopped leaves in salads, fruit cups and fruit drinks. Add a few leaves to pork dishes, while cooking. Freeze chopped flowers/ or single flowers in ice cubes. Tea: Use 5-6 large fresh leaves / or 1 tsp. crushed dried leaves to 1 cup of boiling water. You can also add fresh/dried leaves to Ceylon tea. (Bergamot gives Earl Grey Tea its distinctive aroma).
Medicinal: It is said that:
Warm Bergamot tea eases sore throat and nausea. To help get rid of mucous in your lungs pour some boiling water over approximately 10 leaves in a small container. Put the container in a paper bag. Put it in front of your face. Inhale through your nose or mouth. Repeat a few times. Bergamot tea (infusion) eases digestive and respiratory symptoms.
Use it as a facial steam for any skin type. Use flowers and leaves in potpourri. Aromatherapy: it is one of the most uplifting oils - helps for depression.
Cut back in autumn. Divide every 2-3 yrs. Full sun or semi-shade. Can plant in pots.