There are many different names given to this very versatile herb. Some of them are Monarda, Bee Balm, Oswego Tea (used extensively by the Oswego and other Indian tribes), Bergamot, Sweet Leaf and Wild Oregano.
Bee Balm grows in the wild or can be easily planted just about anywhere. It comes back year after year and spreads like other plants in the mint family. It is an antiviral, an antibacterial, an antifungal and is soothing to the nerves. In the past it was used extensively for colds and flu and can even be used as a fresh poultice for cuts, bites and burns. It is also used for culinary purposes, with a similar flavor to oregano
The following is an excerpt from "From Earth To Herbalist" By Gregory L. Tilford. "Many contemporary herbalists value bee balm as one of nature's best antifungal medicines. They use it in the form of a tea, tincture, or footbath, or as a vaginal douche to inhibit the growth of Candida albicans and various other forms of fungal infections."
Nowadays, a person could go broke trying to purchase the many different natural substances used to treat our growing number of modern illnesses. Some of them, in order to be patented must be refined or extracted into single components. When you separate the many vital and complimentary ingredients of plants, you end up with substances which have more of a drug like effect. You no longer have some of the protective properties inherent in the whole plant. In other words, using these derivatives may often cause certain side effects which would not have been caused if the whole plant was used. This is not to say that all plants in their whole form are safe. Some herbs and vegetables have toxic properties or antinutrients, which when prepared in specific ways, loose their toxicities. Sometimes this involves cooking or fermenting the food. And...as we know, some plants are poisonous and must not be eaten at all.
However, there are many plants which have been used historically for thousands of years in their whole form, providing many preventative and healing benefits. Why mess with nature's perfection? Why not save some money and also discover the fullfillment and excitement of growing your own remedies. In this way you also help to save the environment. The other easy to grow, super nutritious perennial that I have written about is Stinging Nettle. You can read about it here http://lymesentinel.blogspot.com/2009/10/health-benefits-of-stinging-nettle.html
Not only is Bee Balm an excellent medicinal remedy, a relaxing tea and a wonderful flavoring agent but it attracts bees, humingbirds and butterflies. Of course it is also beautiful to behold as part of the landscape. For a little more detail on this herb...see the link below