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Scarlet monard, bee balm, wild bergamot or horse mint - there are many names for Indian nettle. In addition to the classic species Monarda didyma and Monarda fistulosa, there are many hybrids of both species, as well as variants that are interesting in terms of taste and appearance, such as Monarda citriodora (lemon monard), Monarda punctata (horsemint) or Monarda fistulosa x tetraploid (rose monard). What they all have in common, however, is that they can be used in a variety of ways, both in the garden and in the kitchen.

Indian nettle leaves are used for medicinal purposes

Indian nettle in the garden

Depending on the type and variety, Indian nettles grow up to 120 centimeters high and usually have purple, pink, red or white flowers. However, there are also yellowish blooming monards. The perennials are particularly effective in colorful perennial beds, in natural gardens and in prairie-like planted gardens - after all, that is where the plants come from. Suitable plant partners are for example

  • grasses
  • Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)
  • Bellflower (Campanula persicifolia)
  • Silver Cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa)
  • Loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria)
  • sword lily (iris)
  • astilbes.

Indian nettles are rather undemanding in terms of care and planting and tolerate slightly shady locations.

Indian nettle as a medicinal herb

Both Monarda didyma and Monarda fistulosa can be used as a medicinal plant due to similar ingredients and properties as the more well-known thyme, with the flowers and leaves being used in particular. A tasty tea can be prepared from this, which can be drunk for colds and other respiratory diseases, among other things. To what extent the hybrids also have similar properties has not yet been researched. However, they can also be eaten or used as tea.

Indian nettle in the kitchen

The intense bergamot aroma of Monarda didyma and the oregano aroma of Monarda fistulosa also invite you to use the plants in the kitchen, with the leaves in particular being used as a spice. You can basically use the Indian nettles anywhere you would season with thyme - for example in soups, stews, casseroles, for roasts or unusual desserts. The Indian nettle can be used dried or fresh, whereby harvesting is possible especially during the flowering period between June and October.


Since both the leaves and the flowers of the bee balm retain their beautiful color and intense fragrance when dried, you can use them for potpourris. If possible, pick the plant components for this purpose from older plants, as these are often more intense in terms of the fragrances and coloring substances they contain.

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