Ran errands today and bought Scarlet Bee Balm. This is a native plant but comes from the eastern US and it wants some shade and lots of water. Have I gone crazy you may ask? Yeah, pretty much. On top of which, I want to see the flowers because it doesn’t really look like Monarda didyma photographs to me.
Basics: I have never owned Monarda didyma, I have always owned Monarda fistulosa, which is native to a larger (and drier) area. I was able to get M. fistulosa free because it grew wild where I lived.
Never mind, I will pot my Scarlet Bee Balm up and put it in the south window above my kitchen sink to be sure I water it enough. If I ever build a pond, there it goes. That’s what I get for hanging around in the Market Economy plant department.
Not to mention looking up essential oils for perfumes and noticing Scarlet Bee Balm is used in a perfume I really like. Of course I will need more than one little struggler in a pot, even though it has high essential oil production.
I wonder if I could bury a plastic tub and build a mini wetland? Shady too.
Why all this trouble? I was reading about perfumes and Scarlet Bee Balm came up and I started reading about it… then off to the weekly shopping, and there it was. I bought weighing scales for soapmaking at a deep discount, thread in all my colors for 50 cents each, and a pattern for clothing I have wanted for a couple years (classic plain is hard to come by) for $3. Those were on my list and I grabbed them while on sale. How did such a disciplined Market Economy shopper such as myself buy Scarlet Bee Balm?
I have no defense; however, it is a wonderful plant. It is perennial in zones 4-9, multiplies nicely, makes a delicious tea reminiscent of Earl Grey, attracts butterflies, hummingbirds, and bees. Is edible, makes a lovely cut flower, a perfume ingredient, and is an herbal medicine.
The essential oil, diluted with a carrier oil, eases rheumatism pain. The essential oil, diluted, is great for inflamed oily skin types.
In aromatherapy, Scarlet Bee Balm is uplifting; calming, anti-anxiety, and an antidepressant. Scientific tests are showing that linalool, one of its constituents, reduced stress in rats, lowering the levels of neutrophils and lymphocytes to nearly normal very quickly. Its aroma also reduced activity of more than 100 genes that go into overdrive in stressful situations. That’s a powerhouse and that’s why I am contemplating trying to build a small swampy spot in the high desert. That and the perfume.
Scarlet Bee Balm is an insecticide. An infusion is used for flatulence, nausea, vomiting. If I hadn’t been researching this perfume ingredient right before shopping, I would not likely have purchased it for my home. Only time will tell whether Scarlet Bee Balm will thrive here in the New Mexico mountains. If you get rain at your house, I strongly recommend a patch of Scarlet Bee Balm.