Bee balm

Monarda (multiple species)

Mint Family (Lamiaceae)

Energetics: warming, diffusive - moves energy throughout body (De la Foret, n.d.); uplifting relaxant (Noveile, 2020)
Taste: spicy (De la Foret, n.d.)
When to harvest: Harvest aerial parts (stem, plus flowers and leaves) throughout growing season
Identification: Bee balm, like all mint family plants, has a square-shaped stem and pairs of opposite leaves. It is very aromatic, and has a similar scent to thyme. Bee balm is a perennial plant that can grow up to 180cm tall, and has frizzy pale purple flowers later in the summer, although some varieties have red or magenta flowers.

Please note that this information is largely based on De la Foret (n.d.) except where noted. See Reference section for all reference details.

Like many aromatic mint family plants, bee balm is very flavoursome and used both culinarily and medicinally. Whereas many of the culinary mint family herbs originate in the Mediterranean, bee balm (of which there are over 20 species), is a wildflower of North America. Bee balm is a strong antimicrobial and also has a strong diffusive energy, meaning it helps break up stuckness in the body. Some examples of stuckness in the body are mucus or phlegm; heaviness in the stomach; bloating; coldness in extremities.


Mouth - Like thyme, bee balm contains thymol, a strong antimicrobial that is an ingredient in many commercial mouthwashes. A strong be balm infusion could be similarly used to freshen breath, or to address infection in the mouth or gums.

Fungal/yeast - Bee balm is also strongly antifungal, and can be used topically or internally for this effect. It can help address Candida albicans imbalance in the gut, taken as a tea, and for chronic yeast infections, a cooled infusion can be applied as a douche. Bee balm can also help with fungal infections affecting the sebaceous glands, which might manifest as dandruff or cradle cap.

Urinary tract - Bee balm can help fight infection of the urinary tract. For best effect, it can be combined with cranberry and marshmallow root, and taken as a tea.

Respiratory - Thymol, which is present in the aromatic essential oil of bee balm, is strongly antimicrobial, and also has cough suppressing, pain relieving , and inflammation modulating effects (Lawson et al., 2021).


Like some other spicy herbs, bee balm supports digestion, alleviating heaviness, congestion, cramping, bloating, or gas. It may also help with diarrhoea, calming the intestinal tract.

Menstrual health

Bee balm can help stimulate menstruation if it has been delayed.


Bee balm helps heal burns and wounds (Hardin, n.d.)

Nervous system

Bee balm has a calming, uplifting effect, similar to its mint family relative lemon balm (Noveille, 2020)

Plant preparations


  • Infusion
  • Honey
  • Vinegar
  • Tincture
  • Hydrosol


  • Compress
  • Steam
  • Oil (external or internal)
  • Balm


Due to its ability to stimulate menstrual bleeding, it should not be used in medicinal doses (more than culinary use) during pregnancy.

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