This beautiful, showy plant is another member of the Mint family, the Labiatae, and flowers in August. It has intense whorled cluster of lavender to purple flowers, and can grow up to 5 or 6 feet in height! We harvest the leaves primarily, before the flowers bloom (if you wait too long the leaves may develop mold), but the flowers are excellent as well, and quite full of nectar that bees love (hence the name)! It is also called ‘Wild Bergamot’ or ‘Sweet Leaf’ (the latter being a translation of its native name).
Elemental associations: Air
Phytochemistry: Mostly volatile oil, including thymol (King)
Actions: Antifungal, expectorant, antiseptic
Specific systems: Respiratory, circulatory
This herb isn’t often mentioned, and I can’t really understand why. It is beautiful in the garden, attracts a variety of pollinators while also repelling pests, is easy to grow and produces in abundance, and addresses one of the more common chronic and acute complaints we see today: ‘damp heat’, in Chinese terms. What this means is that it provides excellent relief for fungal conditions such as candidiasis, and is an excellent addition to protocols for lung infection, especially if there is a lot of mucus involved.
The other use it has relates to the circulatory system, again helping to break up conditions of stagnation induced by this concept of ‘dampness’. Specifically, it can be used in combination with Ginkgo to help with tinnitus.
Indications: Bronchial infection, candida, tinnitus
Preparation/Dosage: It makes an excellent and tasty hot infusion, prepared with 3 TBS per quart of water. In addition, in cases of bronchitis or colds, it makes a wonderful steam to help loosen congestion.
The tincture can be prepared at 40% alcohol, 1:2 to 1:5, and taken ½ teaspoon 2-3 times daily.