Welcome to Hill Country Herbalist

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Lemon Mint (Monarda citriodora) Growing in the Texas Hill Country: Benefits & Uses

Lemon Mint, or Monarda citriodora, is a wonderful addition to your garden.  It invites and welcomes beautiful butterflies and honey bees as well as herbaceous plant lovers, like you and me.   It's also known as lemon bee balm, purple horsemint, lemon bergamot and lemon horsemint.  Like other Monardas, it is very beneficial to skin care and also helps promote our bodies to fight off colds and flu's. It is a member of the Lamiaceae or mint family.  This is my favorite family, I'm just naturally drawn to anything Lamiaceae!

In skin care, Lemon Mint leaves can be rubbed directly on the skin to ward off pesky mosquitoes and other biting flies.  The essential oils of Lemon Mint contain citronellol, which is the reason it is effective at deterring these pesky insects. Citronellol is also used in making perfumes.

The dried herb can be infused in oil (cold oil infusion) and later made into salves and lotions to sooth skin. It is also beneficial when added to facial steams. I would combine it with chamomille and lavender in a facial steam to assist with acne or oily skin.   

Internally, it is beneficial in soothing sore throats and boosting the body's ability to fight off colds and flu's since it also contains thymol-  like other Monardas such as Bee Balm.  Gargling with plants that contain thymol (such as Bee Balm and Thyme) helps fight sore throat and throat infections.  It has antiseptic and antibacterial properties. As an herbal tea, Lemon Mint can be sipped and enjoyed to help calm an upset stomach. 

Today, I'm heading to the garden to harvest some Lemon Mint.  I'm going to cut and dry the flowers by hanging them upside down in my kitchen window.  The dried flowers can also be used in floral arrangements but I will be drying the leaves and flowers for herbal infusions. Until nextime :) HCH.


Anonymous said...

Well, had sore throat this week. Grabbed my dried monarda- Infused in hot water- drank it- went away. I'm not saying this was the reason it went away. I'm just saying without other intervention, my sore throat went away.

Marie Arden said...

Do you know of a good nursery that will sell it via internet? I would like to grow some also. I love it got it in a bouquet.

Hill Country Herbalist said...

Hi Marie!
Monarda citriodora does very well in the garden from seed. I am not sure what region you are in, but trying seed is my first thought. If a plant is what you want, perhaps Horizon Herbs would ship. They are a wonderful company. For seed, try Wildseed Farms in Fredericksburg, Tx. Best of green luck to you!