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Herbs & Plants

Monarda punctata

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Botanical Name : Monarda punctata
Family: Lamiaceae
Genus: Monarda
Species: M. punctata
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Lamiales

Synonyms: Monarda lutea. Spotted Monarda.

Common Names :Spotted Beebalm and Horsemint

Habitat : Monarda punctata  is native to the United States and northeastern Mexico.

Description:
Monarda punctata is a perennial herb, growing in dry, sandy places. It has a strong erect stem, reaching 2 feet or more in height, with lanceolate, opposite leaves, 2 to 4 inches long, dotted on the under-surface with glands. The flowers form dense whorls, one being terminal, and have a large yellow corolla, the upper lip being spotted with purple. A circle of large, leaf-like bracts, purplish-pink in colour, surrounds them.
CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

It is a thyme-scented plant with purple-spotted tubular yellow flowers.

Medicinal Uses:
Part Used: Whole herb

Constituents:  The active virtues depend on the abundant volatile oil, which has been found to contain a hydrocarbon, thymol, and higher oxygenated compounds. It yields its virtues to boiling water, but particularly to alcohol.

Oleum Monardze or Oil of Horsemint is official in the United States.

It is  rubefacient, stimulant, carminative.
The plant contains thymol, an antiseptic and fungicide. It was historically used to treat upset stomachs, colds, diarrhea, neuralgia and kidney disease.
The infusion is used for flatulent colic, sickness, and as a diaphoretic and emmenagogue, or as a diuretic in urinary disorders.

The principal use is external, and in its pure state it may be a vesicant. It should be diluted with olive oil or soap liniment, two or four parts of either being added to one of oil of Monarda. It may be employed in chronic rheumatism, cholera infantum, or whenever rubefacients are required.

It may be taken like Hedeoma, or American Pennyroyal.

Disclaimer:
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

 Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monarda_punctata
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/m/mints-39.html#hor.

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Herbs & Plants

Monarda didyma

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Botanical Name :Monarda didyma
Family: Lamiaceae
Genus: Monarda
Species: M. didyma
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Lamiales

Common Names :Bee Balm,  Bergamot, Scarlet beebalm, Scarlet monarda, Oswego tea, or Crimson beebalm

Habitats :Bergamot didyma is native to   Eastern N. America – New York to Michigan, south to Georgia and Tennessee. It grows in  moist soils in rich woods, thickets and bottom lands.

Description:
Monarda didyma is a hardy perennial plant grows to 0.7-1.5 m in height, with the stems square in cross-section. The leaves are opposite on the square stems, 6–15 cm long and 3–8 cm broad, and dark green with reddish leaf veins and a coarsely-toothed margin; they are glabrous or sparsely pubescent above, with spreading hairs below.

click to see the pictures.......(01)…...(1).….………..(2)...………(3)..……...(4)
It is hardy to zone 4 and is not frost tender. It is in leaf 10-Apr It is in flower from Jun to September, and the seeds ripen from Aug to October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees.The plant is self-fertile. It is noted for attracting wildlife.

The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and can grow in heavy clay soil.The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils..It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade.It requires moist soil.

Cultivation :
Easily grown in ordinary garden soil so long as it is not too dry. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Requires a moist soil and a sunny position. Prefers some shade but succeeds in a sunny position so long as the soil does not dry out. Plants are hardy to at least -25°c. The flowers are rich in nectar and are very attractive to bees. A good companion plant, it grows well with tomatoes. Bergamot is a very ornamental and aromatic plant, it is often grown in the herb garden, there are some named varieties. The leaves, stems and roots carry a delicious aromatic orange-like perfume when crushed. Plants are subject to mildew in dry summers.

Propagation
Seed – sow mid to late spring in a cold frame. Germination usually takes place within 10 – 40 days at 20°c. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out into their permanent positions in early summer. The seed can also be sown in situ in late summer in areas where the winters are not too severe and will produce larger plants. Cuttings of soft basal shoots in spring. Harvest the shoots with plenty of underground stem when they are about 8 – 10cm above the ground. Pot them up into individual pots and keep them in light shade in a cold frame or greenhouse until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the summer. Division in spring or autumn. Very easy, large divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found that it is better to pot up the smaller divisions and grow them on in light shade in a cold frame until they are well established before planting them out in late spring or early summer.

Edible Uses :
Edible Parts: Flowers;  Leaves.
Leaves and young shoot tips – raw or cooked. They are used as a flavouring in salads, fruit salads, drinks etc.  Flowers – raw. They are added as an attractive garnish to salads.  An excellent aromatic tea is made from the fresh or dried leaves and flower heads.  The leaves give an Earl Grey flavour to China tea.

Medicinal Uses :
Anthelmintic;  CarminativeDiuretic;  Expectorant;  Febrifuge;  Rubefacient;  Stimulant.

Bergamot is often used as a domestic medicine, being particularly useful in the treatment of digestive disorders. The leaves and flowering stems are anthelmintic, carminative, diuretic, expectorant, febrifuge, rubefacient and stimulant. An infusion is used in the treatment of flatulent colic and sickness, it is also used as a diuretic to treat urinary disorders. 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. An essential oil from the herb is mainly used externally as a rubefacient in the treatment of rheumatism etc.

Bergamot tea is soothing and relaxing and makes a good night-time drink.  Add a handful of fresh leaves to your bath to sooth tired and aching limbs (in a net bag).  Native Americans used the leaves of monarda as a poultice and compress on skin eruptions, as a tea for colds and flus and inhaled as a steam to relieve sinus and lung congestion.  Scientific evidence shows that bergamot may inhibit the herpes simplex and the related chicken pox viruses.  It is also combined with other herbs to treat urinary tract infections and indigestion.

Other Uses
Essential;  Pot-pourri.

Yields an essential oil, used in perfumery, as a hair tonic etc. The dried leaves and flowers are used to scent and add colour to pot-pourri.

Disclaimer:
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Monarda+didyma
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monarda_didyma
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_AB.htm
.

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Herbs & Plants

Bergamot

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Botanical Name: Monarda citriodora/Citrus aurantium ssp. bergamia
Family :Rutaceae — (rue family)
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Sapindales
Genus: Citrus
Species: C. aurantium x C. medica
Other Name : The bergamot orange is unrelated to the herbs of the same name, Monarda didyma and Monarda fistulosa.Citrus bergamia syn C.b. rutaceae syn C. aurantium var. bergamia
The name BERGAMOT is shared by unrelated perennial plants of the Monarda species.
Parts Used: Flowers, ripe fruit peel.

Habitat:Originally Asia. Today also cultivated in the Ivory Coast and Reggio di Calabria in southern Italy. Italian Bergamot is preferred. Extensively cultivated in southern France and Italy for a long time, it is believed the orange blossom as a symbol for marriage originated there.

Description:
A tree of the citrus family which is similar in appearance to Bitter Orange aka Seville Orange (C. aurantium), but with wider leaves and a more aromatic rind on the fruit. Both Neroli oil from the flowers, and Bergamot oil from the rinds, are obtained by distillation.Bergamot grows on small evergreen trees which blossom during the spring.

.click to see the pictures..>…...(01).…..(1)....(2).…..(3)....

Leaves – The bergamot tree has an evergreen and a relatively light-green foliage, close to the one of the lemon tree. (Citrus limon)
Flowers – Flowers are white, star-shaped, and strongly fragrant. Branches are often thorny.
Fruits – The bergamot, or orange bergamot, is a citrus fruit that looks like a slightly flattened and small lemon. Its skin is yellow to orange-yellow. The bergamot is seldom eaten raw, but is rather candied or processed to get the essential oils it contains
Fragrance: Subtle orangey, citrus scent. Somewhat spicy.

Companion plant
Bergamot’s aromatic roots are thought to mask other nearby plants from pests that attack their roots, and so are sometimes grown as a companion in vegetable gardens.

Religious importance
It is believed that this herb is used in the rituals and spells for money and success.


USES:

In food
An essence extracted from the aromatic skin of this sour fruit is used to flavour Earl Grey tea and confectionery. One Italian food manufacturer produces a commercial marmalade using the fruit as its principal ingredient. It is also popular in Greece as a preserve, made with bergamot peel boiled in sugar syrup.

As a scent
Bergamot peel is used in perfumery for its ability to combine with an array of scents to form a bouquet of aromas which complement each other. Approximately one third of all men’s and about half of women’s perfumes contain bergamot essential oil. Bergamot was a component of the original Eau de Cologne developed in 17th century Germany – in 1704 the bergamot was first used to make the now famous “Eau de toilette” from the bergamot fruit by scooping out the pulp and squeezing the peel into sponges. 100 bergamot oranges will yield about 3 ounces of bergamot oil.

Companion plant
Bergamot’s aromatic roots are thought to mask other nearby plants from pests that attack their roots, and so are sometimes grown as a companion in vegetable gardens.

Medicinal Uses:
The strongly acidic fruit of the bitter orange stimulates the digestion and relieves flatulence. An infusion of the fruit is thought to soothe headaches, calm palpitations and lower fevers. The juice helps the body eliminate waste products, and, being rich in vitamin C, helps the immune system ward off infection. If taken to excess, however, its acid content can exacerbate arthritis. In Chinese herbal medicine, the unripe fruit, known as zhi shi, is thought to regulate the quick helping to relieve flatulence and abdominal bloating, and to open the bowels. The distilled flower water is antispasmodic and sedative.

In sunscreens:

In the past psoralen – extracted from bergamot oil – has been used in tanning accelerators and sunscreens. Psoralens penetrate the skin, where they increase the amount of direct DNA damage. This damage is responsible for sunburn and for an increased melanin production.

These substances were known to be photocarcinogenic since 1959, but they were only banned from sunscreens in 1995. These photocarcinogenic substances were banned years after they had caused many cases of malignant melanoma and deaths. Psoralen is now used only in the treatment of certain skin disorders, as part of PUVA therapy.

Witchcraft
Bergamot was said to be used by Italian calabrian wiccas that used the fruit in potions to make women fertile, men impotent, or to get rid of warts or blemishes. Today there is a well-known pagan cult that worship the god given name of the Bergamot. On their talismans is a bergamot orange.

In hoodoo rootwork, bergamot is used to control or command, and for this reason is used in a variety of spells and formulas in which a practitioner might wish to subdue another person.

Bergamot Oil (Citrus bergamia) – A light greenish-yellow liquid with a fresh sweet-fruity, slightly spicy-balsamic undertone. Blends well with lavender, neroli, jasmine, cypress, geranium, lemon, chamomile, juniper, coriander and violet. Contains 0.2-0.5% furocoumarin (as bergaptene). If used straight, it has severe phototoxicity. Avoid sunlight after use on skin. To avoid phototoxicity use in dilutions of less than 1%. Otherwise non-toxic and relatively non-irritating.
Extraction: Cold pressed from the peels.
Country of Origin: Italy

MEDICINAL USES:
*Antiseptic, appetite stimulant.
*Bitter, aromatic; relieves tension; antispasmodic; digestive aid.
*Oil is considered sedative and healing.
*Orange blossom water has been used for infant colic.
*Bergamot oil has been used in douches and baths for vaginal infections.
*Formerly, the dried flowers were used in infusion form as a mild nervous stimulant.

This herb also known as Oswego tea and Bee Balm is good for the treatment of nausea, vomiting, cold and flu. If used in oil form is an effective treatment for Gingivitis, lost appetite, acne, coughs, fevers, tension, stress, and depression.


AROMATHERAPY:

Bergamot oil is considered sedative and healing and used for stress related problems, depression and anxiety. Neroli oil is considered stimulant and aphrodisiac. Both are used for skin conditions.

COSMETIC:
Increases tanning (do NOT apply directly to skin – photosensitivity)
Oil used in perfumery, diffuser (aromatherapy), massage, bath.

CULINARY:

Bergamot oil is used to flavor Earl Grey tea; also hard candy, tobacco, some chewing gum, baked goods and desserts.
Orange blossom water is used in desserts such as blancmange and in pastries.

Toxicology:
In one study, oil of bergamot has been linked to certain phototoxic effects (due to the chemical bergaptene) and blocking the absorption of potassium in the intestines.

Bergamot is also a source of bergamottin which, along with the chemically related compound 6’,7’-dihydroxybergamottin, is believed to be responsible for the grapefruit juice effect in which the consumption of the juice affects the metabolism of a variety of pharmaceutical drugs.

BITTER ORANGE (Citrus aurantium ssp amara): The peel is CONTRAINDICATED with stomach or intestinal ulcers; NOT given to children (possible toxic effects); NOT with ultraviolet or sun therapy (increased photosensitivity).

CAUTION:Because bergamot EO contains bergaptene and bergamotine, it needs to be used with care when applied to the skin. These two chemicals can produce over pigmentation of the skin when exposed to the sun or even just light. Do not apply bergamot oil to skin in greater than .5 to 1% diluted form in a base oil. It increases PHOTOSENSITIVITY.

Disclaimer:The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://earthnotes.tripod.com/bergamot_h.htm
http://www.wellbeingsonline.com/Aroma-pedia/Bergamot.htm
http://www.ayurveda-herbal-remedy.com/herbal-encyclopedia/ayurveda-encyclopedia-b.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bergamot_orange
http://coolexotics.com/plant-9.html#
http://www.candbsupplies.ca/essentialoils.html

http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_LMN.htm

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Herbs & Plants Herbs & Plants (Spices)

Bee Balm

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Botanical Name:Monarda didyma
Family: Lamiaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Lamiales
Genus: Monarda
Other Names: Bergamot,Eastern Beebalm, Wild Oswego Tea, Horsemint, Monarda

Parts usually used: Leaves

Habitat: Native to Eastern North America. It grows in dry thickets, clearings and woodland edges from Ontario and British Columbia to Georgia and Mexico.

Description:
It is of 16 species of erect, herbaceous annual or perennial plants in the Lamiaceae, indigenous to North America. Ranging in height from 1 to 3 feet (0.2 to 0.9 m), the plants have an equal spread, with slender and long-tapering (lanceolate) leaves; the leaves are opposite on stem, smooth to nearly hairy, lightly serrated margins, and range from 3 to 6 inches (7 to 14 cm) long. In all species, the leaves, when crushed, exude a spicy, highly fragrant oil. Of the species listed, M. didyma (Oswego Tea) contains the highest concentration of this oil.Flowers: About 1-1/2 inches long; corolla 2-lipped, 5-lobed; stamens2, projecting; stigma 2- parted.Reddish bracts present beneath flower cluster.Leaves: 3 to 6 inches long; opposite, dark green, ovate to lanceolate, coarsely toothed.

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It has a dense, rather shallow root system, with many runners, making root division a most

reliable method of plant propagation.

The genus was named for Nicolás Monardes who wrote a book in 1574 describing plants found in the New World.

Cultivation:
The Monarda plants prefer full sun and moist yet well-drained soil. Plants established in partial shade or filtered sun have higher incidences of rapid horizontal spread and flower less. An aggressive plant in the South-eastern United States, Bergamots can grow in a wide variety of soil conditions. Powdery mildew, rust, and (rarely) tobacco mosaic viruses disrupt established plants on occasion, but the plants are in general highly resistant to most wilts and viruses and are not easily damaged. Used most frequently in areas in need of naturalization, Monarda is often used in beds and borders to encourage and increase the appearance of hummingbirds, pollinating insects, and because of oils present in its roots is sometimes used to companion plant around small vegetable crops susceptible to subterranean pests. While seed should be stratified briefly before starting, seed may be cast directly or started in coldframes or greenhouses at soil temperatures approaching 70° Fahrenheit. Generally, propagation occurs by hardwood and softwood cuttings, root cuttings, layering, and division; the latter, quite frequently, is the most popular method out of necessity: the plant should be divided every 3 to 5 years to reduce spread, keep the central core of the plant healthy, preclude root rot, and improve air circulation about the foliage.

Flowers, species, cultivars
Monarda species include annual and perennial upright growing herbaceous plants with lanceolate to ovate shaped leaves. The flowers are tubular with bilateral symmetry and bilabiate; with upper lips narrow and the lower ones broader and spreading or deflexed. The flowers are single or in some cultivated forms double, generally hermaphroditic with 2 stamens. Plant bloom in mid to late-summer and the flowers are produced in dense profusion at the ends of the stem and/or in the stem axils, the flowers typically are in crowded into head-like clusters with leafy bracts. Flower colors vary, with wild forms of the plant having crimson-red to red, pink and light purple. M. didyma has bright, carmine red blossoms; M. fistulosa — the “true” wild bergamot — has smokey pink flowers. M. citriodora and M. pectinata have light lavender to lilac-colored blooms and have slightly decreased flower quantities. Both species are commonly referred to as “Lemon Mint.” There are over 50 commercial cultivars and hybrids, ranging in color from candy-apple red to pure white to deep blue, but these plants tend to be smaller than wild species, and often developed to combat climatic or pest conditions. “M.didyma” species can grow up to 6 feet tall. Seed collected from hybrids — as with most hybridized plants — does not produce identical plants to the parent.

Constituents: Volatile oil, Compounds related to Thymol, Tannic acid.

Uses:
Several Bee Balm species (Monarda fistulosa and Monarda didyma) have a long history of use as a medicinal plants by many Native Americans including the Blackfeet, Menominee, Objibwe, Winnebago and others. The Blackfeet Indians recognized the strong antiseptic action of these plants, and used poultices of the plant for skin infections and minor wounds. A tea made from the plant was also used to treat mouth and throat infections caused by dental caries and gingivitis. Bee Balm is the natural source of the antiseptic Thymol, the primary active ingredient in modern commercial mouthwash formulas. The Winnebago used a tea made from bee Balm as a general stimulant. Bee Balm was also used as a carminative herb by Native Americans to treat excessive flatulence.

Although somewhat bitter, due to the thymol content in the plants leaves and buds, the plant tastes like a mix of spearmint and peppermint with oregano, to which it is closely related. Bee Balm was traditionally used by Native Americans as a seasoning for wild game, particularly birds. The plants are widespread across North America and can be found in moist meadows, hillsides, and forest clearings up to 5,000 feet in elevation.

Medicinal Properties:
Carmative, rubefacient, stimulant. Has been used mainly as a stomach preparation, to relieve nausea, vomiting, and flatulence.
An infusion is good for colds, coughs, nausea, and sore throats. Native Americans used leaf tea for colic, gas, colds, fever, stomachaches, nosebleeds, insomnia, heart trouble, measles, and to induce sweating. Poultice used for headaches. Historically, physicians used leaf tea to expel worms and gas.

Formulas or Dosages:
The best quality tea material is achieved if the leaves are stripped off the square, hollow stems and dried in warm shade within 2-3 days. A longer drying period might discolor the leaves, producing an inferior type product. Finish drying with artificial heat when necessary.
Legends, Myths and Stories:
This plant is entirely different and hardier than Melissa. It is a beautiful scarlet flowering native American mint. The foliage has a perfume fragrance. The flowers are so popular with bees that the plant deserves the name American bee balm.

Bergamot or bee balm is a part of American history; it is a source of tea which was a popular substitute for the imported variety amongst the mid-Atlantic patriots in the wake of the Boston Tea Party. That period was probably the best in bergamot’s history, though it retains its mystique, thanks to a striking appearance and the richly American nick-name, Oswego tea.

The name Oswego tea came from the town, Oswego, New York? More likely both the town and the tea acquired the name Oswego from the Native Americans inhabiting the area, who had it first. The Native Americans passed their knowledge of the plant to the colonists, and one, a John Bartram of Philadelphia, reportedly sent seeds to England in the mid-1700s. From England, bergamot traveled to the Continent, where it is still cultivated, generally under the names gold melissa and Indian nettle.

Among the foremost growers of this herb in the United States were the Shakers, who had a settlement near Oswego, New York. The Shakers were among America’s great herbalists; they valued bergamot not only for tea and culinary uses, but for its medicinal virtues. The leaves can be used to flavor apple jelly, fruit cups, and salads.

The entire plant emits a strong fragrance similar to citrus, but most like that of the tropical tree, orange bergamot, hence the nickname bergamot. The scent is suitable for use in potpourris and other scented mixtures. The bright red flowers attract bees, hummingbirds, and butterflies and make striking, long-lasting cut blooms. The blossoms provide the flavoring for the famous Earl Grey tea. The flowers are also edible.

The hills around Pittsfield, Massachusetts are rife with this plant, wild and domestic.

Companion plant
Bee balm is considered a good plant to grow with tomatoes, ostensibly improving both health and flavor. It also is a good companion plant in general, attracting pollinators and some predatory/parasitic insects that hunt garden pests.

Monarda species are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including case-bearers of the genus Coleophora including C. heinrichella (feeds exclusively on M. fistulosa), C. monardae (feeds exclusively on Monarda spp) and C. monardella (feeds exclusively on M. fistulosa).

Other Information:
The Bergamot of the Monarda species should not be confused with the popular flavoring used in Earl Grey tea. Dried leaves may be used for teas or aromatherapies, but the odor is subtly different from Citrus bergamia, the Earl Grey flavoring. For medicinal usage, Monarda has been known to treat headaches and fevers by infusing crushed leaves in boiling water.

Click to see:->Growing and Using Bee Balm

Disclaimer:The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://www.indianspringherbs.com/Bee_Balm.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bee_balm
http://www.emedicinal.com/herbs/americanbeebalm.php
http://www.greenspiralherbs.com/Pictures.htm
http://www.plantcare.com/encyclopedia/bee-balm-2122.aspx

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