Thursday, May 10, 2012

Growers Exchange Selected to Grow the 2013 Notable Native Herb of the Year

We are so excited to announce that The Herb Society of America has chosen Monardaulosa, commonly known as “bee balm”, as the 2013 Notable Native Herb of the Year, and has selected The Growers Exchange as the official grower and distributor of the herb. 

Continuing with the ‘Made in America’ trend sweeping the U.S., The Notable Native Herb of 2013,
bee balm Monarda Fistulosa, will be grown and distributed by The Growers Exchange, a family run Virginia farm that specializes in unusual and hard to find herbs.

“The Growers Exchange has been a member of the Herb Society of America (HSA) for a number of years and has a solid reputation for growing top quality plants,” says Katrinka Morgan, executive director of HSA. “This historic American farm is the perfect partner to help us bring attention to the vast selection of native herbs found in North America.”

According to Morgan, the defining characteristic for the Notable Native award is the herbs usefulness, including its value for culinary, medicinal, ornamental, economic, industrial, or cosmetic purposes.

”Bee balm is used mostly today to attract butterflies and hummingbirds to the garden, but its uses are far greater. We selected it for its culinary, medicinal and aromatic values, as well as its usefulness as a companion plant,” Morgan explains. “It also performs well in most gardens throughout the US.”

Briscoe White, owner of The Growers Exchange, agrees. “Bee balm is a common garden flower, but most people don’t know that it was used medicinally by Native Americans for its strong antiseptic properties in treating wounds.”

White says bee balm is gaining popularity as a culinary herb and makes a great substitute for oregano. “It’s a wonderful addition to pizzas, salads, breads and any dishes that are complimented by the herb's minty, slightly spicy flavor.”

Bee balm makes a fragrant, comforting tea, and, surprisingly, an excellent mouthwash. “Bee balm naturally contains high levels of thymol, an antiseptic found in many brand name mouthwashes, making it a natural remedy for mouth and throat infections caused by gingivitis,” White explains.

Bee balm also attracts helpful pollinators while at the same time, the thymol works to keep underground pests away.

You can grow bee balm in full sun in moist soil. To buy bee balm and other native herbs, or for more information visit The Growers Exchange http://www.thegrowers-exchange.com.

-Stacey @Staceygmg
Garden Media Group

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