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Benefits of Growing Bergamot

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola Fact Checked

growing bergamot

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  • Also known as bee balm, the botanical names Monarda didyma and Monarda fistulosa refer to the color and height of the plant bergamot, introduced by Native Americans, who had several medicinal uses for it
  • Besides being a perennial herb that attracts hummingbirds and bees, bergamot has lemon-scented leaves that repel mosquitoes and gnats, and is used by herbalists for its carminative, rubefacient and stimulant benefits
  • It’s the high thymol content in bergamot that explains its antiseptic use for upper respiratory problems and whooping cough, and topically for skin problems and wounds
  • To perpetuate this herb, divide bergamot roots and plant them 18 inches apart, which should be done every third year or so to ensure the plants remain hardy, unless you feed them with compost in the fall and keep them in the same spot
  • While bergamot can be grown from seed, you can hurry the process by dividing the roots, and root cuttings can be taken during its long growing season, which generally falls between June and September

If you're not familiar with the herb bergamot, you may recognize its more common name: bee balm. The tall plants with eye-catching blossoms on top look like an exploding firecracker and come in a rich lilac, pale pink or bright red hue, depending on the variety. Also known by the botanical names Monardo fistulosa and Monarda didyma, bergamot is a perennial that grows easily and has a variety of uses.

This herb has a number of other unique designations: Gold Melissa, scarlet monarda, Indian nettle and Oswego tea are a few of them, as is American bee balm. The plant has large leaves, the lavender version of which have a red or purple cast. In some areas, bergamot grows wild; generally in the northeastern portion of the Midwest and on the East Coast down through Georgia. The Herbal Academy notes:

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