Description : Wild mint is a herbaceous perennial plant generally growing to 10–60 cm (3.9–23.6 in) and rarely up to 100 cm (39 in) tall. It has a creeping rootstock from which grow erect or semi-sprawling squarish stems. The leaves are in opposite pairs, simple, 2–6.5 cm (0.79–2.56 in) long and 1–2 cm (0.39–0.79 in) broad, hairy, and with a coarsely serrated margin. The flowers are pale purple (occasionally white or pink), in whorls on the stem at the bases of the leaves. Each flower is 3 to 4 mm (0.12 to 0.16 in) long and has a five-lobed hairy calyx, a four-lobed corolla with the uppermost lobe larger than the others and four stamens. The fruit is a two-chambered carpel.
Uses : The entire plant is Antibacterial, antifibrile. It yeilds an essential oil and menthol which exert, through their rapid evaporation, aslightly anaesthetic, and anodyne local effect. It is effective in headache, rhinitis, cough sore throat, colic, prurigo and vomiting. Menthol obtained from this is used in balms. It is also used as Flavoring agent in culinary preparations.
Health Benefits :
Spearmint is pleasantly aromatic herb, packed with numerous health benefiting vitamins, antioxidants and phyto-nutrients.
Its leaves and herb parts carry essential oil, menthol. Unlike in peppermint, spearmint leaves compose only small amounts of menthol, 0.5% compared to that 40% in peppermint. Less menthol content would make this herb least pungent and subtly fragrant herb in the mint family.
- The herb has low calories (about 43 calories per 100 g), and contains zero cholesterol.
- The chief essential oil in spearmint is menthol. Other important chemical components of spearmint are a-pinene, ß-pinene, carvone, cineole, linalool, limonene, myrcene and caryophyllene. These compounds in mint help relieve fatigue and stress.
- The herb parts are also very good in minerals like potassium, calcium, manganese, iron (148% of RDA), and magnesium. Iron is required for enzymes in cellular metabolism and synthesis of hemoglobin. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps control heart rate and blood pressure. Manganese is utilized by the body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase.
Further, the herb is also rich in many antioxidant vitamins, including vitamin A (provides 4054 IU or 135% of RDA), beta-carotene, vitamin C, folates (26% of RDA), vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine), riboflavin and thiamin.
Medicinal Uses :
The herb decoction is an excellent remedy for minor ailments such as headaches, nervous strain, fatigue and stress, as well as for the respiratory problems; help relieving asthma, bronchitis and catarrh.
- It is very useful to deal with digestive problems, including nausea, flatulence and hiccups as it relaxes the stomach muscles.
- The essential oil, menthol, has analgesic, local anaesthetic and counterirritant properties. Menthol also found application in the preparation of toothpaste and mouth refresheners.
- On the skin, when used as cream or lotion, it may help relieve itching of pruritis, dermatitis, and hives.
- Spearmint oil is used as blended massage oil and in the aromatic therapy to help relieve headaches, stress, fatigue, and nervous conditions and to relieve itching.
When take in limits, spearmint tea can be used safely in pregnancy. In women, it helps reduce unwanted hairs through its anti-androgenic properties
Botanical Name : :PODINA / PIPERTIA
Family Name: :LAMIACEAE
Common Name: FIELD MINT, CORN MINT, JAPANESE MINT, PODINA
Part Used : Whole Plant, Oil
Habitat : Found through out India.