Bergamot (Monarda didyma)



Bergamot (Monarda didyma) is an aromatic herb native to eastern North America. It is also known as Scarlet Beebalm, Scarlet Monarda, Oswego Tea, or Crimson Beebalm. The name Bergamot is derived from its odor which is quite similar to that of the bergamot orange.

Bergamot is a hardy perennial plant, 0.7-1.5 m tall, grows in dense clusters along stream banks, thickets and ditches. It has square stems and leaves that are dark green with reddish leaf veins and coarsely-toothed margins. It bears ragged, bright-red tubular flowers 3-4 cm long on showy heads of about 30 together, with reddish bracts, flowering from mid- to late summer.

Oswego Tea came about from the Oswego Indian who taught the immigrants how to use the plant for tea after the Boston Tea Party in 1773. The tea can also used to treat mouth and throat infections caused by dental caries and gingivitis.

Bergamot has strong antiseptic action, and is the natural source of the antiseptic Thymol, the primary active ingredient in modern commercial mouthwash formulas.

It is widely grown as an ornamental plant, and grows best in full sun, water-retentive but well-drained soil.
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