Spearmint Leaf

Latin Names: Mentha piperita (Peppermint); Mentha arvensis (Wild Mint / Chinese Mint); Mentha spicata (Spearmint); Mentha pulegium (Horsemint / Pennyroyal); Mentha spp.

Other Names: Arabic – Na-Na (Mint), Fudhanj (Wild Mint); Persian – Nana (Mint), Punah (Wild Mint); Greek – Dyosmos (Mint); Sanskrit / Hindi / Urdu – Pudina (Mint); Chinese – Bo He (Wild Mint); Spanish – Yerba Buena (Spearmint), Mentha (Peppermint).

Taxonomy: Vegetable Kingdom, Labiatae family.

Part Used: The leaf, herb and aerial parts; the essential oil; the crystalline extract

Basic Qualities: Hot 2, Dry 2 (Wild Mint); Initially warming and stimulating, then cooling and sedating; drying (Peppermint); some residual moisture in both varieties

Other Qualities: Slightly constricting and astringing to the channels of the body (Wild Mint); dilutant and attenuating to the humors; light, floating and dispersing

Taste: Pungent and aromatic. Slightly astringent and bitter (Wild Mint)

Humoral Dynamics: Sanguine: cleanses the blood of heat and choler, as well as purulent abscess toxins. Phlegmatic: clears and dissolves superfluous phlegm from the throat and head. Choleric: soothes heat and inflammation, especially in the throat, biliary passages and GI tract; promotes sweating and breaks fevers. Melancholic: stimulates appetite and digestion, relieves colic and nausea.

Tropism: Peppermint / Wild Mint has an affinity for the head, nose and throat; the stomach, biliary passages and digestive tract; the skin and pores.

Constituents and Pharmacology: The main therapeutic effects of Mint derive from its essential oil content, of which the chief constituents are menthol and menthone. The leaves also contain tannins, flavonoids, a bitter principle and choline.

Medicinal Properties: Diaphoretic, stomachic, carminative, antiemetic, alterative, febrifuge, refrigerant, aromatic, antiseptic, analgesic, condiment.

Cautions and Contraindications: Nervousness, prostration or excessive sweating; in small doses only for epileptics.

Medicinal Uses: To settle the stomach and stop nausea and vomiting. To stimulate appetite and digestion. To soothe a sore throat, and clear the head, nose and sinuses of superfluous phlegm. To provoke sweating as a diaphoretic, and as a febrifuge to break and resolve fevers, and to treat colds and flu. To soothe irritation and inflammation in the gall bladder and biliary passages. To cleanse the blood of heat and purulent toxins and resolve abscesses, especially in conjunction with other alterative herbs. To cleanse the pores and beautify the skin via mild diaphoresis, and to promote or resolve the eruption of skin rashes and itching. As a soothing antiseptic in dentistry and oral hygiene. As a condiment to improve the flavor of bitter or unpleasant tasting herbs and medicines.

Other Uses: Peppermint is used as a cooking herb and in culinary condiments. Peppermint and its extracts are also used in candymaking and confectionery. It can also be used in aromatics, incense and perfumery.