This month is all about Bee Balm! This is a special month as the full moon and Spring Equinox, or Ostara, occur within days of each other. The equinoxes fascinate me; the idea of our planet in balance, day and night being of equal length is pretty groovy when you think of it. I don’t know about you, but Spring (yes, I know seasons shouldn’t be capitalized and I’ve always thought that rule was wrong - my blog, my choice) is not a particularly easy season for me. I often feel like I’m in transition or turmoil - much like the weather this time of year, ha! The equinox provides a wonderful opportunity to pause and cultivate balance.
Bee Balm (Mondarda spp.) is a lovely plant to help find balance. Energetically it is warming and drying with a strong diffusive action. Diffusive herbs are those used to break up stagnant energy within the body. Think of stuck congestion or sluggish digestion - stagnation that needs to be loosened and cleared. Bee Balm begins to pop up in my garden in March, this is a picture of the new leaves poking through the soil in our yard this week. And thank goodness it does, for in my house we all get hijacked by pollen this time of year and there is so, so much stuck congestion. Drinking a cup of strong Bee Balm tea will immediately give you sense of how diffusive herbs work; I can feel the congestion begin to break and warmth spread from my core to fingertips.
Bee Balm is a powerful antimicrobial - taking on virus, bacteria, and fungus. It is a fabulous plant to have on hand for internal or topical infection. It can be used in place of the more expensive oil of oregano in combating Candida as they contain the same active phytochemical, thymol. Herbalists will often use Bee Balm in formulations for urinary tract infections, respiratory bacterial infections, and cold and flu that present with signs of chill and cold.
I have two Bee Balm formulations in my cupboard at all times: Bee Balm/Thyme Chest Rub and Echinachea/Bee Balm Infused Honey. (OK - truth be told, I just finished the honey and am making more as I type.) I find that a good coating of the Chest Rub and a hot water bottle are often all that is needed to loosen and expel respiratory congestion, especially the stuck/thick kind. The honey is of great use for sore throats and I’ll often stir it into hot water (typically infused with Yarrow) if fever is present.
Traditionally, Bee Balm has been used to bring clarity and order to difficult situations - an herb for balance indeed! In addition to Bee Balm’s generous therapeutic gifts it has a beautiful flower and is absolutely beloved by pollinators - especially bees and hummingbirds. Bee Balm can grow up to five feet in my area and the fascinating blossoms range from white to a stunning dark pink. All species are medicinal, albeit, you’ll notice a wide-range of ‘spice factor’ based on color and even location in the garden. It is not recommended for pregnant women as it supports suppressed menstruation. I strongly invite you all to plant and experience this incredible herb!!
Green Blessings to you and Happy Ostara - may your Spring be filled with growth and promise! xoxo
Cunningham, S. (2019). Encyclopedia of magical herbs. Woodbury, MN: Llewellyn Publications.
de la Foret, R. (2020). Bee balm. herbmentor.learningherbs.com
Grieve, M. (1971). A modern herbal. (Originally published in 1931). New York: Dover Publications.