Bee balm, however, isn't just a pretty face! It is considered an anti-microbial and anti-spasmodic herb. Some herbalists use it as a substitute for oregano in herbal preparations. New Mexican herbalist Kiva Rose uses it a variety of ways, including for urinary tract infections and infused in honey as a dressing for burns.
I use bee balm tea to relieve sinus infections, especially the pressure from sinus infections. A few years ago I raised my head quickly and received a blow to the back of my head from the cabinet above my dryer. Since then I experience an uncomfortable sense of pressure in that area when the barometer drops. Bee balm has been an unfailing help in that situation by bringing me rapid and lasting relief. I also use the tea both internally and as a nasal steam when suffering from colds.
I use bee balm tincture diluted in water as a mouthwash. It leaves my mouth feeling clean and refreshed.
I keep an infused honey on hand to use medicinally but also because the flavor is delicious. Bee balm is a member of the mint family. The lavender variety is rather spicy with a pleasant, distinctive flavor. I enjoy a spoonful as a candy. Bee balm-infused honey complements the flavor of salmon beautifully when drizzled it over it before cooking.
Although I have not seen it growing wild, bee balm is listed as an Oklahoma native and it is worth growing both for herbal and culinary use as well as for its beauty and ease of care.