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Synonyms : Satureia nepeta.
Common Name: Lesser Calamint,Nepitella
Habitat ; Grows in Europe, including Britain, south from France and S. Russia to N. Africa and to Iran in W. Asia.Dry banks, usually on calcareous soils
Lesser Calamint grows as a beautiful perennial shrub for the herbal border forming a compact mound of shiny, green oregano-like leaves which become covered with lavender pink flowers to a height of 18 inches. The Lesser Calamint plant smells like a cross between mint, and oregano, and can attract butterflies. Lesser Calamint usually grows in the Summer, and well into the Fall. This plant needs not to be replanted year after year, as it can become dormant in the winter months, then reblossom in the spring. Furthermore, in the Fall, the plant’s flowers, which contain seeds, fall to the ground, and will “plant themselves,” therefore making a new plant blossom in the Spring. These flowers will start to appear in late August. Lesser Calamint grows wildly, but can be planted in pots, for convenience. The life expectancy for an average Lesser Calamint plant is about 3–4 years. The only problem with this plant is that a powdery mildew might occur on the plant.
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Prefers a well-drained dry to moist neutral to alkaline soil and a warm sunny position. Plants are hardy to about -15°c. This species is very closely related to C. sylvatica, and is considered to be no more than a sub-species by some botanists. A very good bee plant.
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.
Lesser calamint was commonly used as a medicinal herb in medieval times, though is little used by modern herbalists. It is sometimes cultivated as a medicinal herb for household use. The whole plant is aromatic, diaphoretic, expectorant, febrifuge and stomachic. The leaves are harvested in July as the plant comes into flower and are dried for later use. An infusion is beneficial in cases of flatulent colic and weaknesses of the stomach, it is also used to treat depression, insomnia and painful menstruation. It should not be prescribed for pregnant women since in excess it can cause a miscarriage.
Calamintha nepita breaks a fever by promoting sweating. It is also used as an expectorant and helps to cure jaundice. Effective when applied to snake bites and insect stings. In the Journal of Ethnopharmacology, a study reported in 1993 showed that Calamintha nepita when analyzed for its antimicrobial and fungicide activities it was found to have a biotoxic effect.
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.
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