Mintleaf Beebalm (Monarda fistulosa)


Mintleaf Beebalm Monarda fistulosa L. var. fistulosa (MINT FAMILY)

Mintleaf beebalm is an erect, aromatic perennial 2-4 ft tall arising from a branched rhizome. The often-branched stem is square and usually and pubescent. The opposite leaves are commonly deltoid-lanceolate, pubescent, and more or less serrate. Both leaves and flowers are dotted with glands which secrete volatile, aromatic oils. The inflorescence is a hemispheric head with tubular pale lavender to rose-purple flowers with bilabiate corollas mixed with leafy bracts. The upper lip of the corolla is densely villous at the summit. The fruit is composed of 4 nutlets. The aroma from dried leaves of this plant can be used to freshen closets, trunks, and other areas. A tea from the dried leaves has a delightful aroma and a pleasing taste. Oil from this plant has also been used as a fixative in perfumes. Thymol, an antiseptic drug, can be extracted from the plant. Dried leaves are said to be good for nausea for vomiting in bilious fevers. The Choctaw Indians gave it as a cathartic, for colds, and to promote perspiration.