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Medicinal Herbs Series: Monarda fistulosa

January 8, 2013

Untitled

Monarda fistulosa
“Bergamot”

Welcome to our medicinal plants series, showcasing all of the medicinal plants in the Ithaca College Permaculture Garden! This series was put together by the medicinal plants team in Professor Jason Hamilton’s lab in the Environmental Studies and Sciences Department, namely Danielle Prizzi, Tori Safner, and Hannah Whitehead. They have worked with many of these plants, and use them regularly in their research. Photography was done by Danielle Prizzi. Without further ado…

Bergamot (Mondarda fistulosa) originates in North America and was used for its medicinal properties by many different Native American tribes, including the Blackfeet, who used this perennial in poultices to treat minor cuts and wounds. Bergamot contains high levels of naturally occurring antiseptic (thymol) in the roots, which allow this plant to be used in tea form to treat throat and mouth infections caused by gingivitis.  This plant can be used to ease bloating and indigestion because of its carminative  properties, and treat headaches and fevers. Bergamot is an herbal ingredient in earl gray tea. The leaves and roots of this plant can be dried and infused into a tea. Bergamot can also be used as a culinary herb, as it tastes slightly minty and spicy.

Bergamot grows along the walls of the garden, both on the north and west walls, as well as on the east wall that goes around the corner of the garden facing the Campus Center. Careful not to mix it up with Bee Balm or Butterfly Weed – they look similar. You are welcome to harvest bergamot in the fall, but please maintain the integrity of the plant and leave a healthy plant behind when you do. You are also welcome to take small amounts of root cuttings for your own use.

Sources: Mountain Rose Herbs

The Complete Book of Herbs: A Practical Guide to Growing & Using Herbs by Lesley Bremness

The Growers Exchange

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Renee permalink
    February 3, 2013 1:37 pm

    It’s a little known fact that roughly 40 percent of our prescription medicines come from plant extracts or synthesized plant compounds. Medicinal plants give us the ability to treat and cure many ailments including malaria, arthritis, diabetes, glaucoma, heart disease, thyroid disorders, skin conditions and many more. The U.S. National Cancer Institute has identified thousands of rainforest plants that are active against cancer cells, with likely thousands more of these medicinal plants, and their uses, yet to be discovered. For more information, visit http://www.herbalrainforest.com

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