Horse Mint (moranda fistulosa)
Horse Mint aka Wild Bergamot
Edible Uses: The leaves of wild bergamot are edible, raw or cooked. It is also used as a flavoring in salads and cooked foods. The flowers make an attractive edible garnish in salads. The fresh or dried leaves can be brewed into a refreshing aromatic tea.
Medicinal Uses: Wild Bergamot was considered a medicinal plant by many Native Americans including, (but not limited to) the Menominee, the Objibwe, and the Winnebago. It was used most commonly to cure colds, and was frequently made into a tea. Today, many families still use Wild Bergamot during the cold and flu season. The tea may be sweetened with honey, as it tends to be quite strong. Bee Balm has a long history of use as a medicinal plant by many Native Americans including the Blackfeet.
The Blackfeet Indians recognized this plants strong antiseptic action, and used poultices of the plant for skin infections and minor wounds. A tea made from the plant was also used to treat mouth and throat infections caused by dental caries and gingivitis. Bee Balm is the natural source of the antiseptic Thymol, the primary active ingredient in modern commercial mouthwash formulas.
The Winnebago used a tea made from bee Balm as a general stimulant. Bee Balm was also used as a carmative herb by Native Americans to treat excessive flatulence.