Monarda citriodora Open-pollinated. An annual member of the bee balm genus in the mint family. Native to Appalachia and related to Oswego Tea. The tiered pinkish-purple flower spikes of this showy 2–3' plant are long-lasting in fresh bouquets and can be dried for everlasting arrangements. Its lemon-scented leaves are delicious and commonly used to impart a coarse mint flavor with a hint of oregano to tea. Inhale the steam to relieve cold symptoms. Best in light moist soil. ~1,800 seeds/g. Especially attractive to pollinators.③
About medicinal herbs: Archeological evidence dates the medicinal use of herbs back 60,000 years to the Neanderthals. 85% of the world’s population employ herbs as medicines, and 40% of pharmaceuticals in the U.S. contain plant-derived materials. Fewer than 10% of higher plant species have been investigated for their medicinal components. Interest in traditional herbal remedies continues to grow.
Statements about medicinal use of plants have not been evaluated by the FDA, and should not be used for the diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any ailment. Before using or ingesting any medicinal plant, consult a healthcare practitioner familiar with botanical medicine.
Culture: Some herbs are customarily grown from divisions because they cannot come true from seed, such as scented thymes and flavored mints. Some require fall sowing of fresh seed, such as sweet cicely and angelica.
Using herbs: Drying herbs at home is not difficult. Whole leaves retain their flavor at least a year. To substitute fresh herbs for dried in cooking, use triple the dried quantity called for in a recipe.
For the latest results of our germination tests, please see the germination page.