Ancient and Traditional Uses
The Native Americans were the first to recognize the value of Bee balm as this wonder herb was cultivated for their healing properties. Interestingly, it was used by the indigenous people of the land to treat fever, indigestion, and other ailments. In fact, it was from them where Europeans learned that this plant was beneficial for their overall health. The Oswego Native Americans brewed a tea out of its leaves (hence the name Oswego tea) for relaxation and medicinal purposes. They taught this process to European settlers who later replaced black tea after the Boston Tea Party to protest the high British tea tax. Soon Bee balm tea became an alternative cheaper tea for both the English and Americans alike. Its popularity did not stop there as it spread to different parts of Europe.
Characteristics of the Plant
Bee balm which is a member of the mint family is known by many names. As previously mentioned, it was also called Oswego tea, bergamot, horsemint, and Monarda which is actually the genus of these flowering plants. Monarda has 16 species that are native to North America. The most cultivated ones are Monarda fistulosa (Wild Bergamot) and Monarda didyma (Bee balm, the herb that we sell here at Tea Life). Bee balm produces scarlet-red flowers collared by red-tinged bracts. Monarda fistulosa, on the other hand, has light lavender or pinkish-white flowers surrounded by bracts that are usually tinted with pink. With tall, sturdy square stems, both species are valued for their healing benefits.
Modern Medicinal Value
A cup of Bee balm tea is not only relaxing; it is highly nutritious as well. Bee balm contains thymol, which is highly beneficial for overall health. A good source of Vitamins A and C, it can provide tea drinkers the following benefits:
- It can help treat oral problems such as dental caries, toothaches, and gingivitis
The Bee balm plant has antibacterial and antiseptic properties which help treat infections, bacteria, parasites, and fungi. Since bacteria worsen dental problems, this herb can also be used to improve dental health and treat dental caries, gingivitis, and toothaches.
- It is good for the digestive system
The saying “healthy gut, healthy life” is undoubtedly true in a lot of ways, since the digestive system is important in breaking down nutrients that are needed for energy, cellular repair and growth. Bee balm tea which has anti-spasm and anti-gas properties is a good remedy for indigestion, stomach pain, and cramping. It relieves nausea, acid reflux, and treats symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.
- It can relieve headache
More than 6 million Australians suffer from headache. It is a very common health condition that affects the quality of life of many. Triggers can include stress, hormonal influences, fatigue, muscle tension, eye problems, and many other more. Bee balm has relaxing properties that can help people who consume it relax and release tension. Through this way, it can help lessen the stress that may lead to headaches.
- It helps treat insomnia
The modern society, as convenient as it may seem, has its downsides. Life choices become poorer since people are more stressed and the access to modern conveniences like electricity, the Internet, and modern gadgets have turned nights into days, causing anxiety, stress, and depression to be more rampant than ever before. This can lead to sleeping disorders such insomnia, in which people have trouble sleeping. Bee balm can help with insomnia, because of its ability to improve the quality of sleep in people with sleeping disorders.
Nursing mothers and pregnant women should avoid its consumption since this herb stimulates contractions in the uterus. Also, it is highly recommended that people with thyroid problems must consult a doctor first before consuming it.