Herb: Bergamot


Latin name: Monarda didyma


Family: Labiatae



Medicinal use of Bergamot:

Bergamot is often used as a domestic medicine, being particularly useful in the treatment of digestive disorders. The leaves and flowering stems are anthelmintic, carminative, diuretic, expectorant, febrifuge, rubefacient and stimulant. An infusion is used in the treatment of flatulent colic and sickness, it is also used as a diuretic to treat urinary disorders. The leaves can be harvested before the plant flowers, or they can be harvested with the flowering stems. They can be used fresh or dried. An essential oil from the herb is mainly used externally as a rubefacient in the treatment of rheumatism etc.

Description of the plant:



Plant:
Perennial


Height:
90 cm
(2 feet)

Flovering:
June to
September


Scent:
Scented
Perennial

Habitat of the herb:

Moist soils in rich woods, thickets and bottom lands.

Edible parts of Bergamot:

Leaves and young shoot tips - raw or cooked. They are used as a flavouring in salads, fruit salads, drinks etc. Flowers - raw. They are added as an attractive garnish to salads. An excellent aromatic tea is made from the fresh or dried leaves and flower heads. The leaves give an Earl Grey flavour to China tea.

Other uses of the herb:

Yields an essential oil, used in perfumery, as a hair tonic etc. The dried leaves and flowers are used to scent and add colour to pot-pourri.

Propagation of Bergamot:

Seed - sow mid to late spring in a cold frame. Germination usually takes place within 10 - 40 days at 20C. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out into their permanent positions in early summer. The seed can also be sown in situ in late summer in areas where the winters are not too severe and will produce larger plants. Cuttings of soft basal shoots in spring. Harvest the shoots with plenty of underground stem when they are about 8 - 10cm above the ground. Pot them up into individual pots and keep them in light shade in a cold frame or greenhouse until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the summer. Division in spring or autumn. Very easy, large divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found that it is better to pot up the smaller divisions and grow them on in light shade in a cold frame until they are well established before planting them out in late spring or early summer.

Cultivation of the herb:

Moist soils in rich woods, thickets and bottom lands.

Known hazards of Monarda didyma:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.