I was literally jumping up and down for joy when Abby shared that she was choosing bee balm (Monarda didyma) for this episode because this is such a fun plant. More than that, though, bee balm is powerfully medicinal, can be used for seasoning food (more on this later), and it’s great for pollinators.
By the end of this episode, you’ll know:
► Multiple ways to work with bee balm medicinally (it’s great for colds and flu, among other things!)
► What bee balm teaches us about balancing community with personal space
► Tips for growing bee balm yourself
► Why it’s important to incorporate community into the practice of herbalism
You’ll also receive instant FREE access to a recipe card for Abby’s Wild Oregano (Bee Balm) Salt. Not only is this recipe easy to make and medicinal, it’s also delicious! Abby shares that she uses it to season anything where you’d want oregano and salt: eggs, popcorn, and mushrooms are just a few ideas to get you started.
CAUTION: Bee balm is an emmenagogue and should not be taken during pregnancy.
Botanist, Herbalist, and Professional Forager, Abby Artemisia, was raised in Cincinnati, Ohio, where she spent her free time climbing trees and creek wandering. This is where her love of nature began. Her love of plants had a diverse foundation, from apprenticeships on organic farms on the west coast and in the Midwest, to a bachelor’s degree in Botany from Miami University and an apprenticeship in herbalism with herbalist Leslita Williams, along with owning and operating her own tea business.
After visiting Pisgah National Forest, she fell in love with the biodiversity of the southeast. Abby then founded the WANDER School, the Wild Artemisia Nature Discovery, Empowerment, and Reconnection School. Through the school, Abby offers the Wildcrafted Herb School Program, customizable workshops, and botanical property surveys. The WANDER School became a nonprofit in 2020 to provide botanical education, herbs, and herbal medicine to underserved communities, and practice Acknowledgement and Reciprocity for Traditional Ecological Knowledge. Abby is also the author of the Herbal Handbook for Homesteaders and The Wild Foraged Life Cookbook, along with the host of the podcast Wander, Forage, & Wildcraft.
Abby is currently working on Botany Breakdown: A Virtual Course for Botanists & Foragers to create the confidence to safely harvest the wild food and herbs that grow around us every day.
I love that Abby shared information, not only from her personal experiences, but also from traditional acknowledged sources. I’m so happy to share our conversation with you today!
Bee balm always grows in community. When I see it in the wild, I never see it growing alone.
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-- TIMESTAMPS --
01:17 - Introduction to Abby Artemisia
03:35 - Abby’s multi-faceted path to working with plants
11:33 - Introduction to bee balm (Monarda didyma)
12:53 - Why Abby chose bee balm as the focus herb for this episode
13:56 - Can Monarda didyma and Monarda fistulosa be worked with interchangeably?
14:38 - Antimicrobial properties of thymol in bee balm
15:54 - How the Cherokee word for bee balm describes its place in the ecosystem
20:33 - Why Abby doesn’t concentrate on any one phytochemical
24:32 - Wild Oregano (Bee Balm) Salt recipe
28:20 - Growing bee balm in your garden
37:07 - Abby’s current projects
45:00 - Where does our herbal knowledge come from – and how can we show appreciation?
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Rosalee is an herbalist and author of the bestselling book Alchemy of Herbs: Transform Everyday Ingredients Into Foods & Remedies That Healand co-author of the bestselling book Wild Remedies: How to Forage Healing Foods and Craft Your Own Herbal Medicine. She's a registered herbalist with the American Herbalist Guild and has taught thousands of students through her online courses. Read about how Rosalee went from having a terminal illness to being a bestselling author in her full story here.