By Christi Pugh
For Nature’s Gift, Inc.
Monarda (fistulosa), for its antibacterial and antifungal properties. Marge was familiar with it but I did not know what to expect and I’ve found it to be a more than suitable, almost superior substitute for Tea Tree hydrosol.
I’ve had the occasion to work with it some this summer on my dog Lexi’s eye irritation before we could get to the vet for more antibiotic drops. It is the only natural product that seemed to help her & she loved it so much she would lick it off the top of my hand. With a soaked cotton ball of Monarda, I gently patted the irritated area around her eye. None was used IN the eye itself.
The flower itself can be white, purple, or pinkish, and is said to attract hummingbirds. Note that there are two varieties of Monarda hydrosol, the fistulosa, which we offer, and the didyma, known for being higher in Thymol and more analgesic, however it is not as gentle and could irritate skin. Fistulosa is sometimes referred to as Purple Bee Balm, while the Didyma variety is known as Scarlet Bee Balm. The leaves and flowers have been recognized for healing properties over hundreds of years in North America and throughout Europe.
Similar in constituency to Thyme, it even has a slightly Thyme-like aroma due to the geraniol content! I find the scent pleasant, reassuring, gentle, and the hydrosol helpful for cleaning cuts, wounds, and cooling hot itchy feet. Suzanne Catty recommends Mondarda hydrosol as a wash for treating fungal infections of the skin or in a douche, and says it is antiviral in addition to its other benefits. It also makes an excellent toner for skin with acne, as a mouthwash, or used internally for immune boosting—for instance in a cup of tea. I plan to keep it in the fridge as a “go to” hydrosol for first aid.