Scientific Names: Monarda didyma

Common names: Oswego Tea, Bee balm

Ayurvedic names:

Chinese names:

Bangladesh names:

Arabic names:    البرغموث (al berghamoot)

Rain Forest names:

Family: Lamiaceae

Approximate Number of Species Known:

Common Parts Used: Leaves


Annual/Perennial:  Perennial

Height: 0.7 to 1.5 m

Actions:  strong antiseptic action, and used poultices of the plant for skin infections and minor wounds. A tisane made from the plant was also used to treat mouth and throat infections

Known Constituents: 

Constituents Explained:

Description:   (please note: this is the general characteristics –  colour, flavor etc)

Traditional Use:

Clinical Studies:

Cystic fibrosis (CF) airway pathology is a fatal, autosomal, recessive genetic disease characterized by extensive lung inflammation. After induction by TNF-α, elevated concentrations of several pro-inflammatory cytokines (IL-6, IL-1β) and chemokines (IL-8) are released from airway epithelial cells.

In order to reduce the excessive inflammatory response in the airways of CF patients, new therapies have been developed and in this respect, medicinal plant extracts have been studied. A study investigated the possible use of bergamot extracts (Citrus bergamia Risso) and their identified components to alter the expression of IL-8 associated with the cystic fibrosis airway pathology.

The extracts were chemically characterized by 1H-NMR (nuclear magnetic resonance), GC-FID (gas chromatography-flame ionization detector), GC-MS (gas chromatography-mass spectrometry) and HPLC (high pressure liquid chromatography). 

Both bergamot extracts and main detected chemical constituents were assayed for their biological activity measuring (a) cytokines and chemokines in culture supernatants released from cystic fibrosis IB3-1 cells treated with TNF-α by Bio-Plex cytokine assay; (b) accumulation of IL-8 mRNA by real-time PCR.

The extracts obtained from bergamot (Citrus bergamia Risso) epicarps contain components displaying an inhibitory activity on IL-8. Particularly, the most active molecules were bergapten and citropten. 

These obtained results clearly indicate that bergapten and citropten are strong inhibitors of IL-8 expression and could be proposed for further studies to verify possible anti-inflammatory properties to reduce lung inflammation in CF patients.

Another study evaluated the antimicrobial properties of flavonoid-rich fractions derived from bergamot peel, a byproduct from the Citrus fruit processing industry and the influence of enzymatic deglycosylation on their activity against different bacteria and yeast.

Bergamot ethanolic fractions were tested against Gram-negative bacteria (Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas putida, Salmonella enterica), Gram-positive bacteria (Listeria innocua, Bacillus subtilis, Staphylococcus aureus, Lactococcus lactis) and the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. 

Bergamot fractions were found to be active against all the Gram-negative bacteria tested, and their antimicrobial potency increased after enzymatic deglycosylation.  The enzyme preparation Pectinase 62L efficiently converted common glycosides into their aglycones from bergamot extracts, and this deglycosylation increased the antimicrobial potency of Citrus flavonoids. 

It was concluded that Bergamot peel is a potential source of natural antimicrobials that are active against Gram-negative bacteria.


Borgatti M, Mancini I, Bianchi M, Guerrini A, Lampronti I, Rossi D, Sacchetti G, Gambari R. “Bergamot (Citrus Bergamia Risso) Fruit Extracts And Identified Components Alter Expression Of Interleukin 8 Gene In Cystic Fibrosis Bronchial Epithelial Cell Lines.” 2011 April.

Mandalari G, Bennett RN, Bisignano G, Trombetta D, Saija A, Faulds CB, Gasson MJ, Narbad A. “Antimicrobial Activity Of Flavonoids Extracted From Bergamot (Citrus Bergamia Rissu) Peel, A Byproduct Of The Essential Oil Industry.” 2007 December

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Other names: scarlet monarda, bee balm, oswego tea.

Scientific name: Monarda didyma

Family: Rustaceae

Common part used: peel, leaves, fruit

This plant is known for its fruit, which is rather like a lemon in size and colour, and with an extremely pleasant and charming aroma. It’s taste is something in between the taste of a lemon and grapefruit. It also has showy red flowers on the top of the stems. The flowers are placed on the bracts, and the leaflets of these bracts are reddish and pale green. The leaves are arranged in pairs, and their surface is quite rough. The stem is about sixty centimetres high, and hard and strong. 

A bergamot plant would be an attraction to any garden due to its exotic look and flavour, of course, but it is widely cultivated only in Calabria (Italy), for the simple reason that it does not favor any other kind of climate. The plant blossoms in the winter. It is also cultivated in some countries of Latin America, like Argentina and Brazil, and in the state of Georgia in the USA. But the quality is not that good as the original Calabrian bergamots can offer. 

The whole plant has a strong and delightful fragrance, and because of this characteristic is so popular and in demand in the perfume industry, in culinary fields and other spheres. 

Bergamot peels are widely used for producing perfumes, and thanks to its wonderful ability to perfectly merge with other ingredients, the bergamot fragrance can be found in half of all the perfumes for both men and women.

 The bergamot essential oil is also successfully used in aromatherapy as a remedy for all sorts of depressions and anxiety disorders. 

The leaves and aromatic skin of the bergamot fruit is used to flavor the teas of the most respectable and well-known tea companies.  It is even known as ‘Oswego Tea’, because the infusion of the bergamot young leaves is used as an ingredient of the popular beverage in the USA.  

Herb Name: Bergamot

Others names: Bee balm, Oswego tea

Latin name: Monarda didyma

Family: Lamiaceae

Common part used: Leaves, Flowers

Description: Bergamot is a medium-height herb that belongs to the mint family. The flavor of the leaves resembles the citrus flavor. The color of the flowers varies from pink to a bright scarlet.

Properties: Bergamot is used in herbal medicine to help digestion, to clear up skin infections, and for creating a balanced emotional state. Bergamot has a spicy and fruity flavor. This aromatic and stimulating herb is especially helpful for improving digestion.

Contents: Bergamot contains antiseptic thymol. 

Internal use: Internally, Bergamot is used to relieve the symptoms of colds, to help with chest and throat problems, as well as with mild digestive problems. The leaves of the herb can be used in a tea for the aforementioned purposes.

External use: Externally, Bergamot leaves and flowers (fresh or dried) can be added to bath water to make a perfumed and revitalizing bath.

Essential oil and aromatherapy use: The essential oil of Bergamot is used by aromatherapists to combat nervous tension and anxiety, and to assist the urinary tract and the respiratory system. It helps with problem skin, especially the stress-related eczema and psoriasis. The oil is also beneficial for wounds, acne, varicose veins, and seborrhea. Bergamot essential oil has the following effects: analgesic, anti-anxiety, anti-depressant, anti-spasmodic, antiseptic, carminative, cicatrisant, digestive, deodorant, expectorant, insecticide, sedative, and tonic.

Safety precautions: Bergamot essential oil may be photo-toxic. Avoid exposing your skin to sunlight immediately after the application of any dilutions that contain Bergamot essential oil. The oil should not exceed 1% in dilution.