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Herbs & Plants

Mentha citrata

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Botanical Name :Mentha citrata
Family:    Lamiaceae
Genus:    Mentha
Species:M. citrata
Kingdom:Plantae
Order:    Lamiales

Synonym: Mentha odorata.

Common Names: Bergamot mint, Eau-de-cologne Mint, Horsemint, Lemon Mint, Lime Mint, Orange Mint, Pineapple Mint, Su Nanesi, Water Mint, Wild Water Mint, Yerba Buena

Habitat : :Mentha citrata is found in wet places in Staffordshireand Wales, though very rarely, but is often cultivated in gardens.It is found  on the sides of ditches, roadsides etc in S. England.

Description:
Mentha citrata is a perennial herb, growing to a height of about a feet.The whole plant is smooth, dotted with yellow glands and is of a dark green colour, generally tinged with purple, especially the margins of the leaves, which are finelly toothed. There are very conspicuous lines of yellow glands on the purple calyx.It blooms during August to October.

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This Mint has a very pleasant, aromatic, lemon-like odour, somewhat resembling that of the Bergamot Orange, or that of the Oswego Tea (Monarda didyma), also called Bergamot, and its leaves like those of the latter can be employed in pot pourri.

Cultivation & Propagation: A natural hybrid, M. aquatica x M. spicata found in moist soils on the sides of ditches, roadsides etc in S. England.

Seed – sow spring in a cold frame. Germination is usually fairly quick. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and plant them out in the summer. Mentha species are very prone to hybridisation and so the seed cannot be relied on to breed true. Even without hybridisation, seedlings will not be uniform and so the content of medicinal oils etc will vary. When growing plants with a particular aroma it is best to propagate them by division. Division can be easily carried out at almost any time of the year, though it is probably best done in the spring or autumn to allow the plant to establish more quickly. Virtually any part of the root is capable of growing into a new plant. Larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. However, for maximum increase it is possible to divide the roots up into sections no more than 3cm long and pot these up in light shade in a cold frame. They will quickly become established and can be planted out in the summer.

Edible Uses:
Leaves – raw or cooked. Used as a flavouring in salads or cooked foods. A very pungent flavour, the leaves of the true eau-de-cologne mint are too aromatic for most tastes, though the cultivar “Basil” has an excellent flavour and makes a very good substitute for basil in pesto. A herb tea is made from the fresh or dried leaves.

Medicinal Uses:
Mentha citrata or Eau de Cologne mint, like many other members of this genus, is often used as a domestic herbal remedy, being valued especially for its antiseptic properties and its beneficial effect on the digestion. Like other members of the genus, it is best not used by pregnant women because large doses can cause an abortion. The leaves and flowering plant are anodyne, antiseptic, antispasmodic, carminative, cholagogue, diaphoretic, refrigerant, stomachic, tonic, vasodilator. A tea made from the leaves has traditionally been used in the treatment of fevers, headaches, digestive disorders and various minor ailments. The medicinal uses of this herb are more akin to lavender (Lavandula spp) than the mints. It is used to treat infertility, rapid heartbeat, nervous exhaustion etc. The leaves are harvested as the plant comes into flower and can be dried for later use. The essential oil in the leaves is antiseptic, though it is toxic in large doses.

A tea made from the fresh or dried leaves has traditionally been used:

*For stomach aches, nausea, parasites and other digestive disorders

*For nerves and sick stomach

*For fevers and headaches.

Other Uses: An essential oil obtained from the whole plant is a source of lavender oil which is used in perfumery. It is also used in oral hygiene preparations, toiletries etc. Formerly used as a strewing herb, the plant repels insects, rats etc. Rats and mice intensely dislike the smell of mint. The plant was therefore used in homes as a strewing herb and has also been spread in granaries to keep the rodents off the grain.

Known Hazards:  Although no specific mention has been seen for this sub-species, it should be noted that, in large quantities, the closely allied M. x piperita vulgaris can cause abortions, especially when used in the form of the extracted essential oil, so it should not be used by pregnant women.

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://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/m/mints-39.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mentha_citrata#Description
http://www.naturalmedicinalherbs.net/herbs/m/mentha-x-piperita-citrata=eau-de-cologne-mint.php

Categories
Herbs & Plants

Water mint (Mentha aquatica)

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Botanical Name : Mentha aquatica
Family:    Lamiaceae
Genus:    Mentha
Species:M. aquatica
Kingdom:Plantae
Order:    Lamiales

Synonyms: Mentha hirsuta Huds

Common Names : Water mint

Habitat :Water mint is native to much of Europe, northern Africa and western Asia. It has been introduced to North and South America, Australia and some Atlantic islands.It grows in damp places,swamps, fen, marshes, near rivers, streams and ponds, in wet woods.

Description:
Water mint is a herbaceous rhizomatous perennial plant growing to 90 centimetres (35 in) tall. The stems are square in cross section, green or purple, and variably hairy to almost hairless. The rhizomes are wide-spreading, fleshy, and bear fibrous roots. The leaves are ovate to ovate-lanceolate, 2 to 6 centimetres (0.79 to 2.36 in) long and 1 to 4 centimetres (0.39 to 1.57 in) broad, green (sometimes purplish), opposite, toothed, and vary from hairy to nearly hairless. The flowers of the watermint are tiny, densely crowded, purple, tubular, pinkish to lilac in colour and form a terminal hemispherical inflorescence; flowering is from mid to late summer. Water mint is pollinated by insects, and also spreads by underground rhizomes, like other species of mint. All parts of the plant have a distinctly minty smell. A variety known as Mentha aquatica var. litoralis is native to areas of Sweden and Finland near the Baltic Sea. It is unbranched, hairless, with narrower leaves and paler flowers.

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Cultivation:
Succeeds in most soils and situations so long as the soil is not too dry. Grows well in heavy clay soils. A sunny position is best for production of essential oils, but it also succeeds in partial shade. Plants can grow in water up to 15cm deep. Most mints have fairly aggressive spreading roots and, unless you have the space to let them roam, they need to be restrained by some means such as planting them in containers that are buried in the soil. Hybridizes freely with other members of this genus. The whole plant, especially when bruised, has a pungent aroma of bergamot. The flowers are especially attractive to bees and butterflies. A good companion for brassicas. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer.

Propagation  :       
Seed – sow spring in a cold frame. Germination is usually fairly quick. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and plant them out in the summer. Mentha species are very prone to hybridisation and so the seed cannot be relied on to breed true. Even without hybridisation, seedlings will not be uniform and so the content of medicinal oils etc will vary. When growing plants with a particular aroma it is best to propagate them by division. Division can be easily carried out at almost any time of the year, though it is probably best done in the spring or autumn to allow the plant to establish more quickly. Virtually any part of the root is capable of growing into a new plant. Larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. However, for maximum increase it is possible to divide the roots up into sections no more than 3cm long and pot these up in light shade in a cold frame. They will quickly become established and can be planted out in the summer.

Edible Uses: Edible Parts: Leaves.
Used as Condiment &  Tea.

Leaves – raw or cooked. A strong distinctive peppermint-like fragrance. Used as a flavouring in salads or cooked foods. The leaves are too pungent for most people to use as a flavouring. A herb tea is made from the leaves

Medicinal Uses:
Water mint is Emetic, stimulant and astringent. Used in herbal medicine in diarrhoea and as an emmenagogue, the infusion of 1 OZ. of the dried herb to 1 pint of boiling water being taken in wineglassful doses.

In severe cold and influenza, or in any complaint where it is necessary to set up perspiration and in all inflammatory complaints, internal or external, the tea made from this plant may be taken warm as freely as the patient pleases. It can be used in conjunction with stomach remedies and in difficult menstruation. A strong infusion is inclined to be emetic.

A decoction of Water Mint prepared with vinegar is recommended to stop blood vomiting.

Other Uses:
Repellent;  Strewing.

The plant repels flies, mice and rats. It has a pleasant, fresh scent and was formerly used as a strewing herb and has been strewn in granaries to keep mice and rats off the grain. The plant, harvested before flowering, yields about 0.8% essential oil[240]. The fresh or dried plant is very good when used in herbal baths and can also be used in herb pillows.

Known Hazards: Although no records of toxicity have been seen for this species, large quantities of some members of this genus, especially when taken in the form of the extracted essential oil, can cause abortions so some caution is advised.

Disclaimer:
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.

Resources:
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/m/mints-39.html#wil
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mentha_aquatica
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Mentha+aquatica