Plant of the Month: Bee Balm
Bee balm is a garden favorite. It’s one of those beloved perennial plants that just keeps coming back year after year! But there’s more to this flower than being really, really, really ridiculously good-looking — bee balm also has more than a few helpful health qualities.
About Bee Balm
As you might expect from its name, bee balm is a flowering plant that attracts pollinating insects like bees. This member of the mint family does well in full sunshine and likes to get plenty of water. It can be planted in both the Spring and Fall...so if you’re not able to get around to planting it now, no worries.
While we wouldn’t normally include gardening tips in our blogs, there’s probably been no better time to hone your green thumb than the present. Americans have been returning to their gardens en masse this month. And even if it’s been partially out of boredom, habits that get people out in nature are something to get excited about!
So...what is bee balm good for? All sorts of stuff.
Native Americans used the plant to make salves and medicinal drinks. Its leaves can be used to make tea; its flowers are completely edible. After becoming acquainted with bee balm’s unique taste you can easily use it to spice up recipes.
A Natural Anti-Microbial
Another way bee balm could benefit your health? It’s naturally antimicrobial.
Indeed, bee balm can be combined with beeswax to make a wonderful (and impressively holistic) salve. Topical bee balm is so therapeutic that it was once placed within bandages and wrapped around wounds. Today, we have a more practical invention called the band-aid...but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t experience bee balm’s antimicrobe effects for yourself.
Other delivery options include bee balm tea, which is reportedly a microbe-fighting home remedy for viruses and colds, and bee balm mouthwash, which capture’s the plant’s “essence” with high-proof alcohol.
Got Digestive Issues?
Bee balm is also good for digestion. To harness its gut-friendly qualities, simply make its dried flower petals into a tea by steeping them for ~15 minutes. Users report relief from stomach pain, nausea, and excess gas. One study confirmed before adding that bee balm is also “antihelmintic” — i.e, anti-parasitical. 26+ chemical compounds, including the limonene terpene also present in full spectrum hemp, are to thank for that. Bee balm may also be used to relieve menstrual pain and muscle spasms. The plant is pretty much just calming in general.
Perhaps all this relief goes hand in hand with bee balm’s role as what homeopathic medicine calls a nervine, or a substance that relaxes the nervous system. Brain health and gut health are directly linked, after all!
Why We Love It
Why do we love bee balm so much? Well, there are lots of medicinal plants out there, but bee balm is one of the most accessible ones around.
Just think: it’s a perennial, it’s easy to grow, and it’s easy to use, too, unlike some botanicals, which practically require a distillation machine to process into something edible. Bee balm offers virtually anybody the chance to get out in nature, grow their own medicine, and plant a quarantine garden or two.