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Video: Double Monarda - "Oswego Tea"
Monarda will decorate the garden and provide a tasty and healthy drink
"Oswego Tea" - this is how the North American Indians called the amazing plant that lives in nature along the shores of Lake Oswego on the east coast of North America.
Europeans, who got acquainted with this aromatic plant after the discovery of America, also liked it and quickly spread in the Old World. The British - connoisseurs of tea - called it "Bergamot".
And two centuries later, Carl Linnaeus, in his classification of plants, gave him the name
" Monarda" in honor of the Spanish physician and botanist Nicholas Batista Monardes, who described this and other useful plants in America in his writings in the middle of the 16th century. Monardes himself called this plant Canadian oregano or Virginian soulmate.
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It is about this medicinal, aromatic and ornamental plant Monarda didyma that I want to tell you about. It is a perennial plant about 1 m high. Its stems are erect, branching at the top. Leaves are oblong-lanceolate with large teeth. Tubular-funnel-shaped flowers (they can be pink, purple, lilac) are collected in capitate (at the tops of the stems) or whorled (in the axils of the leaves) large inflorescences with a diameter of 6-7 cm.The flowering of the monarda continues throughout the second half of summer, due to which it is widely cultivated in gardens as an ornamental plant.
But the main value of monarda is in its aromatic and healing properties. Describing a scent is not a rewarding task. If we compare it with the plants known in Russia, then in its aroma there are common notes with thyme, oregano, mint, lemon. But there is also something from lavender, eucalyptus. All this makes the scent of monarda very specific and pleasant.
The Indians have long noticed the healing properties of monarda: leaves healed wounds and treated skin infections, infusion of flowers and leaves was used to rinse the mouth and throat, heal the gums, for headaches, fever, and also as a general stimulant.
Modern studies of the composition of monarda have found substances that determine its medicinal properties. This is, first of all, thymol, the content of which in essential oil reaches 80%. In addition, monarda oil contains carvacrol (up to 9%), terpinene (up to 16%), monardin, linalool, cineole, limonene and other useful substances. Thanks to them, the monarda has a high bactericidal, fungicidal, anthelmintic activity, as well as immunomodulatory, antispasmodic, antioxidant, antisclerotic, radioprotective, antistress, adaptogenic and anticarcinogenic effects.
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It has been established that monarda double has a beneficial effect on the work of the gastrointestinal tract, liver and spleen, improves blood composition, increases food digestibility, is an effective remedy against colds and coughs, helps with bronchial asthma, chronic bronchitis, tracheitis, vomiting, and also strengthens the walls blood capillaries, dilates the vessels of the heart and thereby lowers high blood pressure.
Infusion and juice of the herb promote wound healing, help fight eczema, flaking skin, acne, dandruff.
Monarda's valuable medicinal and aromatic raw materials can always be at hand if there are several bushes of this perennial unpretentious winter-hardy plant in your garden area. You can grow it from seeds. It is best to sow them in March-April in a box on the windowsill, the seeding depth is 0.5 cm.After three weeks, the seedlings should be sown into cups, and in May, the seedlings should be planted in a permanent, well-lit place in the garden with an interval of 30 cm. Monarda is not particularly demanding on soils, but it grows worse on damp, heavy and acidic soils.
She is hardy. Here, in Siberia, it hibernates without shelter. It grows well, so it should not be kept in one place for more than 4-5 years, since the plantings will thicken. Then it will be necessary to divide the bushes and transplant the delenki to a new place.
Medicinal raw materials - the upper part of the shoots with flowers and leaves - are harvested from the second year. The stems are cut at least 30 cm from the soil surface at the time of mass flowering. The herb is dried, crushed and stored in sealed bags or cans to prevent the aroma from escaping.
Monarda enriches the bouquet of any tea mixture well, which is widely used by tea producers. It perfectly flavors various tinctures, liqueurs, tonic drinks, gives a special aroma to any jam, jelly, compotes and marinades. Monarda is added as a spicy seasoning to borscht, soups, okroshka.
Gennady Anisimov, experienced gardener, Tomsk
Photo by Natalia Butyagina