If you’ve been frolicking in the garden world for a hot minute, you’ve probably heard of the superstar that is bee balm.
Sure, it’s a head-turner with those dazzling blooms, but did you know that this floral MVP is more than just a pretty face?
Oh yeah, bee balm’s got tricks up its petals, and I’m here to spill the tea (literally and figuratively).
From backyard bouquets to kitchen concoctions, bee balm is the gift that keeps on giving.
And if you thought it was just for jazzing up your garden, you’re in for a wild ride, my green-thumbed friends.
Join me as we unravel the multifaceted world of bee balm uses.
By the end, you’ll be looking at this plant powerhouse with a whole new level of respect.
Table of Contents
Bee Balm: A Glance
Bee balm, scientifically known as Monarda, is a delightful plant native to North America.
It is prized for its vibrant, colorful flowers, which attract bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds.
With historical relevance in the United States and among Native Americans, bee balm offers several practical uses.
Native Americans have long valued bee balm for its medicinal properties and various practical uses.
They used it to treat anything from digestive issues to skin infections, eventually sharing their knowledge with European settlers.
As a result, bee balm continues to be cherished across North America today.
In addition to its medicinal uses, you’ll find that bee balm has culinary applications, with Native Americans using it as a seasoning for wild game, particularly fowl.
This fragrant herb is still utilized to impart minty and oregano-like flavors in dishes, often accompanying lamb and featuring in Greek cuisine.
When it comes to preparing bee balm, you’ll find the petals can be dried to make a brightly colored, soothing tea or even turned into jelly.
The flowers also serve as an eye-catching, edible garnish for salads, particularly fruit salads, and can be incorporated into creative recipes like bee balm bread.
Growing bee balm requires nutrient-rich soil, which can be achieved by adding compost or coffee grounds a few weeks before planting.
Make sure to space your bee balm plants at least 18-24 inches apart and keep in mind that most varieties grow between 2.5 and 4 feet tall.
Enjoy the multitude of practical uses for bee balm, from the garden to your kitchen, knowing that you’re continuing the legacy of Native Americans and their appreciation for this versatile, vibrant plant.
Culinary Uses of Bee Balm
Bee balm (Monarda) is a versatile herb with a unique blend of flavors, making it a wonderful addition to your kitchen.
Its edible leaves and flowers have a taste that combines aspects of spearmint, peppermint, oregano, and citrus.
In this section, you’ll learn about incorporating bee balm into various dishes, including salads, cooked meals, teas, and herbal mixes.
You can use bee balm’s bright, colorful petals and tender leaves to add a fresh, minty taste and visual appeal to your salads.
Simply pluck the petals off the flower and tear off small leaves to sprinkle over your salad.
Their peppermint-meets-oregano taste works well in mixed greens or fruit-based salads, making your dish stand out both in flavor and presentation.
Bee balm’s uniquely spicy flavor can enhance various types of dishes.
You can experiment by substituting or complementing other herbs like oregano and mint in recipes.
It’s particularly popular in Greek cuisine and pairs well with dishes featuring lamb.
Native Americans even used bee balm as a seasoning for wild game, especially fowl.
To use it in cooking, you can either chop fresh leaves or dry them to store and use later as a seasoning.
Bee Balm Tea
Bee balm tea is both delicious and medicinal, helping soothe sore throats and treat colds due to its antimicrobial properties.
To make the tea, steep fresh or dried bee balm leaves and flowers in hot water.
The resulting brew will have a comforting minty and citrusy taste.
You may also choose to add a touch of honey to further enhance the flavor and add sweetness.
Incorporating bee balm in an herbal mix can add a pleasant, complex taste to your dishes.
Combine bee balm leaves with other edible flowers, such as calendula and nasturtium, to create a colorful and flavorful blend for salads, teas, or garnishes.
You can even add bee balm to homemade bread, jelly, or mead recipes for a unique twist.
Remember to use the herb sparingly, as its strong flavor can overpower your dish.
As you explore these culinary uses of bee balm, you’ll discover a versatile and aromatic herb that can elevate your meals and add a touch of creativity to your kitchen.
Enjoy experimenting with different combinations and dishes, and watch how bee balm can transform your culinary experience.
Bee Balm in Traditional Medicine
Treating Digestive Issues
Bee balm has been used traditionally to help alleviate a variety of digestive issues.
It has been effective in relieving nausea, bloating, gas, and indigestion.
To help with these problems, you can try drying the leaves and blossoms of bee balm, and store them in labeled glass jars.
Making a tea from the dried bee balm can aid in reducing your upset stomach and help with digestion.
Cold and Flu Relief
Bee balm possesses antimicrobial properties, making it useful for relieving cold and flu symptoms.
An oxymel made from bee balm can help treat congestion and coughs.
You can also use bee balm tea as a sore throat remedy.
Incorporating bee balm into your herbal medicine kit during cold and flu season could be beneficial for your health and overall well-being.
The antimicrobial and anti-fungal properties of bee balm make it a great candidate for skin remedies.
You can use bee balm salve to treat minor skin irritations, such as rashes, stings, and scrapes.
You can also create a poultice from the leaves and flowers of the plant to apply directly to the affected area, providing a soothing effect and promoting healing.
Bee Balm for Anxiety and Stress
Bee balm is not only helpful in addressing physical ailments but also helps in managing anxiety and stress.
Drinking bee balm tea can induce a calming effect, reducing anxiety and stress levels.
Incorporating bee balm into your relaxation routine can help you maintain a more balanced mental state.
So, give these traditional bee balm remedies a try and experience the natural benefits this versatile herb has to offer.
Remember to always consult with a healthcare professional before trying any new herbal treatments.
Bee Balm Products
Bee balm is a versatile herb with various uses, and several products can be made from it to take advantage of its antimicrobial, antifungal, and soothing properties.
In this section, you’ll find information on how to make bee balm oxymel, salve, and mouthwash.
To create a bee balm oxymel, you’ll need the following ingredients:
- Bee balm (fresh or dried)
- Gather a handful of bee balm flowers and leaves.
- Place the bee balm in a jar and cover it with equal parts vinegar and honey.
- Stir the mixture well and let it infuse in a cool, dark place for 2-4 weeks.
- Strain the mixture, discarding the plant material, and store the oxymel in a clean jar.
This oxymel can be used to support your immune system and help soothe colds, congestion, and sore throats.
A bee balm salve is great for treating fungal infections and healing minor skin irritations.
To make your own salve, follow these steps:
- Bee balm (fresh or dried)
- Carrier oil (such as olive, coconut, or almond oil)
- Fill a jar with bee balm flowers and leaves.
- Cover the bee balm with your carrier oil and let it infuse for about 2 weeks in a dark, cool place.
- Strain the oil and measure its volume. For each cup of infused oil, add 1/4 cup of grated beeswax.
- Gently heat the mixture until the beeswax melts, then pour the salve into tins or jars to cool.
Apply this salve to the affected area to help with fungal infections or skin irritations.
Using a bee balm mouthwash can help improve oral hygiene thanks to its antimicrobial properties, specifically the presence of thymol.
Here’s how to make a simple bee balm mouthwash:
- 1 cup of water
- 1/4 cup dried bee balm leaves
- 1 tablespoon vodka or other neutral alcohol (optional, as a preservative)
- Bring the water to a boil, then pour it over the dried bee balm leaves.
- Let the mixture steep for at least 30 minutes.
- Strain the infusion, discarding the plant material.
- Add the vodka or alcohol, if using, and mix well.
- Store your mouthwash in a clean bottle, and use it in your daily oral care routine.
Remember to always use these products responsibly and consult with a professional if you have any concerns or underlying health issues.