The Physiomedical Dispensatory by William Cook, M.D., 1869
HORSEMINT [BEE BALM]
Description: Natural Order, Labiatae. The genus to which this plant belongs, is characterized by an elongated and striated calyx, and a ringent-tubular corolla, of which the upper lip is linear and has the two stamens ascending under it. The species PUNCTATA has a square stem two to three feet high, obtusely angled, and the whole plant minutely pubescent. Leaves oblong- lanceolate, tapering to a petiole, remotely serrate, nearly two inches long. Flowers in a few dense verticils, subtended by colored bracts which are longer than the verticils; corolla pale-yellow, marked strongly with brown spots. Grows abundantly in somewhat thin soils, from New Jersey westward and southward. In the West it is often four feet high and openly branched. Blooms in August and September. The mentha canadensisa grayish pubescent plant, with a hairy calyx, purple corollas, and no colored bracts below the verticils is often mistaken for this plant, as both are popularly called horsemint. The monarda fistulosa is also called horsemint and wild bergamot; and has a purplish and hollow stem, leaves from two to four inches long on petioles half an inch long, and whitish-blue corollas an inch in length. The properties of the three plants are somewhat similar, but the monarda punctata is the most valuable.
Properties and Uses: This herb is diffusively stimulating and relaxant, of the distinctly carminative nervine and anti-spasmodic order. It makes a grateful and useful addition to diaphoretic drinks in the treatment of recent colds, catarrhal and typhus fevers, and measles; and sustains the nervous peripheries and outward circulation well. It is used by infusion. By distillation it yields a moderate quantity of a yellow-green oil, which is very fragrant, and forms an excellent ingredient in nervine liniments containing such articles as tincture of lobelia and oil of rosemary. Oil of origanum is often substituted for it; but monarda possesses a nervine action not found in the more fiery origanum.
Medical Herbalism journal and medherb.com