Bee Balm (Wild Bergamot)

Wild Bergamot or Bee Balm 

Secwepemc name: cw7ecw7u7cw

Wild Bergamot, or Bee Balm (Monarda fistulosa):
cwecw7ú7cw, cw7ecw7ú7cw (refers to all mints)

This plant has a strong fragrance, and was commonly used as a smudge, to ward off mosquitoes and other biting insects. Mary Thomas’s granny crushed the leaves and rubbed over the kids’ arms and neck as an insect repellent; she also put the leaves in a smudge pot and walked all around, wafting the smoke, to repel mosquitoes. Sometimes pitch from the blisters of balsam (subalpine fir) was gathered, then mixed with bear grease or goose grease and wild bergamot, then rubbed on the skin as a fragrant mosquito repellent.

Extract taken with permission from “Culturally Important Plants of the Salmon River Delta and Floodplain”

 

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