Bergamot monarda didyma
Bergamot - Monarda didyma
(Bee balm, Oswego tea)
“Speak not, whisper not,
Here bloweth thyme and bergamot.” - Samuel 'Taylor' Coleridge
Bergamot is used extensively in the production of a lovely scented essential oil. Bergamot monarda didyma is perennial that reaches 3 to 4 feet in height and is easily grown from zone 4 to 10. Bergamot seeds are ripe in the fall and being to drop in late August thru October. If you wish to save seeds you will need to pay close attention to the blossoms as birds will readily eat them. This lovely perennial can tolerate partial shade but prefers a sunny location and moist soil. Till the soil and shake and scatter seeds and then gently rake soil over them and water well every day until the seedlings are well established.
Bergamot was used as replacement for tea after the Boston tea party due to the shortage of tea.
The leaves and flowers are medicinal. Bergamot is very commonly used to treat digestive disorders and is a useful diuretic that aids in urinary conditions. It is anti-viral and works very well to treat infections. Its scent is calming and works well on conditions of nervousness and anxiety. The essential oil being most useful for these types of nervous conditions as well as being good for rheumatism.
Fill a quart jar with the flower heads of bergamot and pour boiling hot water to the cover. Let this steep or ten minutes and then strain the tea off. Put a lid on the jar and allow to cool. After 30 minutes or so place the quart jar into the refrigerator for several hours. Pour chilled tea into glasses and sweeten with local honey to taste.