Calamintha ascendens

Botanical name : Calamintha ascendens
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Lamiales
Family: Lamiaceae
Genus: Calamintha

Synonyms–-Mill Mountain. Mountain Balm. Basil Thyme. Mountain Mint.

Habitat : Calamintha ascendens is native to the northern temperate regions of Europe, Asia and America.

Description:
Calamintha sylvatica is a perennial herb  growing to 0.6 m (2ft) by 0.5 m (1ft 8in).

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It is hardy to zone 6 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from Jul to September, and the seeds ripen from Sep to October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, insects.It is noted for attracting wildlife.

click to see the picture.:

Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very alkaline soils.
It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers dry or moist soil.

Edible Uses:
A sweet and aromatic herb tea is made from the leaves. Very refreshing. Leaves – used as a flavouring in cooked dishes. Pleasantly pungent and strongly aromatic, the flavour is said to resemble a cross between mint and marjoram.

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Propagation:      
Seed – sow spring in a greenhouse and only just cover the seed. It usually germinates in 2 weeks at 21°c. Prick out the seedlings when they are large enough to handle and, if they grow sufficiently, plant them out into their permanent positions in the summer otherwise wait until the following spring. Division in spring. Very easy, larger clumps can be planted direct into their permanent positions. It is best to pot up smaller clumps and grow them on in a cold frame until they are well rooted before planting them out in the summer. Basal cuttings in May or June. They should be rooted in a sandy compost. Harvest the shoots when they are about 10 – 15cm long with plenty of underground stem. Pot them up into individual pots and keep them in light shade in a cold frame or greenhouse until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the summer.

Chemical constituents: It contains a camphoraceous, volatile, stimulating oil in commonwith the other mints. This is distilled by water, but its virtues are better extracted by rectified spirit.

Medicinal Uses:
Diaphoretic, expectorant, aromatic. The whole herb has a sweet, aromatic odour and an infusion of the dried leaves, makes a pleasant cordial tea, which was formerly much taken for weaknesses of the stomach and flatulent colic. It is useful in hysterical complaints, and a conserve made of the young fresh tops has been used, for this purpose.

The decoction of the herb bringeth down women’s courses and provoketh urine. It is profitable for those that have ruptures or troubled with convulsions or cramps, with shortness of breath, or choleric torrnents and pains in their bellies or stomach. It helpeth those with yellow jaundice and, taken in wine, it stayeth vomiting. It helpeth such as have the leprosy and it hindereth conception in women.

Applied to the buckle-bone, it will by continuance of time spend the humours that causeth the pain of sciatica. The juice dropped into the ears killeth worms in them. The leaves boiled in wine and drank provoke sweat and open obstructions of the liver and spleen. The decoction with some sugar is profitable for those troubled with the overflowing of the gall and that have an old cough or are scarce able to breathe.

Calamint was commonly used as a medicinal herb in medieval times, though is little used by modern herbalists. It has very similar properties to lesser calamint (C. nepeta) though is milder in its actions. It is sometimes cultivated as a medicinal herb for household use. The whole plant is aromatic, diaphoretic and expectorant. The leaves are harvested in July as the plant comes into flower and are dried for storage. An infusion is beneficial in cases of fevers, flatulent colic and weaknesses of the stomach, it is also used to treat depression, insomnia and painful menstruation. Its expectorant action makes it a good cough and cold remedy and it is of value for treating mild respiratory infections. It is best mixed with other herbs, especially yarrow (Achillea millefolium) and Thyme (Thymus vulgaris). Calamint should not be prescribed for pregnant women since in excess it can cause a miscarriage

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calamintha
http://www.russianherbs.net/herbs/CALAMINT.htm
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Calamintha+sylvatica

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