Categories
Herbs & Plants

Spearmint (Mentha viridis)

Botanical Name :Mentha viridis
Family: Lamiaceae
Subfamily: Nepetoideae
Tribe:     Mentheae
Genus:     Mentha
Species: M. spicata
Kingdom: Plantae
Order:     Lamiales

Synonyms :Mentha spicata, Garden Mint. Mentha Spicata. Mackerel Mint. Our Lady’s Mint. Green Mint. Spire Mint. Sage of Bethlehem. Fish Mint. Menthe de Notre Dame. Erba Santa Maria. Frauen Munze. Lamb Mint.

Common Names : Spearmint or spear mint , Mentha  crispa

Habitat : Spearmint  is native to Eaurope and Iceland, but has become naturalized in other parts of the world. It is naturalized throughout the United States and Canada.It is an invasive species in the Great Lakes region of North America, where it was first sighted in 1843.

Description:
Spearmint is a herbaceous, rhizomatous, perennial plant growing 30–100 cm tall, with variably hairless to hairy stems and foliage, and a wide-spreading fleshy underground rhizome. The leaves are 5–9 cm long and 1.5–3 cm broad, with a serrated margin. The stem is square-shaped, a trademark of the mint family of herbs. Spearmint produces flowers in slender spikes, each flower pink or white, 2.5–3 mm long, and broad.
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Hybrids involving spearmint include Mentha × piperita (peppermint; hybrid with Mentha aquatica), Mentha × gracilis (ginger mint, syn. M. cardiaca; hybrid with Mentha arvensis), and Mentha × villosa (large apple mint, hybrid with Mentha suaveolens).

The name ‘spear’ mint derives from the pointed leaf tips.

Cultivation:
Spearmint grows well in nearly all temperate climates. Gardeners often grow it in pots or planters due to its invasive, spreading rhizomes. The plant prefers partial shade, but can flourish in full sun to mostly shade. Spearmint is best suited to loamy soils with abundant organic material.

Edible Uses:
Spearmint leaves can be used fresh, dried, or frozen. They can also be preserved in salt, sugar, sugar syrup, alcohol, or oil. The leaves lose their aromatic appeal after the plant flowers. It can be dried by cutting just before, or right (at peak) as the flowers open, about one-half to three-quarters the way down the stalk (leaving smaller shoots room to grow). Some dispute exists as to what drying method works best; some prefer different materials (such as plastic or cloth) and different lighting conditions (such as darkness or sunlight).

Medicinal Uses:
Constituents: The chief constituent of Spearmint oil is Carvone. There are also present Phellandrine, Limonene and dihydrocarveol acetate. Esters of acetic, butyric and caproic or caprylic acids are also present. (An Ester is a combination of an alcohol with an acid, the combination being associated with the elimination of water. The esters are highly important and in many cases dominant constituents of numerous essential oils, which owe their perfume largely, or in some cases entirely, to the esters contained. Many of the esters are used as flavouring or perfumery agents, and many are among the most important constituents of volatile salts.)

There are several different essential oils known under the name of Spearmint oil, the botanical origin of the plant used for distillation differing with the country in which the plant is grown. In the United States and in this country several varieties of M. viridis are distilled. In Russia the plant distilled is M. verticellata, and in Germany either M. longifolia, or more generally M. aquatica var. crispa – a plant cultivated in Northern Germany, the oil (called there Krausemünzöl) being imported into this country as German Spearmint oil. It appears to be identical with that from M. viridis. Oil of Spearmint is little distilled in England, either German oil or American oil distilled from M. viridis being imported.

The carminative, antispasmodic, and stimulant properties of spearmint are somewhat inferior to those of peppermint; its principal employment is for its diuretic and febrifuge virtues. As a febrifuge, it is superior to peppermint, and may be used freely in warm infusion. The cold infusion is beneficial in high color, or scalding of urine, difficult micturition, etc.; it may be used alone or in combination with marshmallow root. In fact, it is one of the best of simple diuretics, and acts nicely with potassium acetate. A saturated tincture of the fresh herb with gin has been found serviceable in gonorrhoea, strangury, suppressed urine, gravel, and as a local application to painful hemorrhoids. The oil is diuretic, stimulant, antispasmodic, and rubefacient, and is used externally in rheumatic and other pains. Dose, same as peppermint.

Other Uses :  Spearmint is often cultivated for its aromatic and carminative oil, referred to as oil of spearmint. The most abundant compound in spearmint oil is R-(–)-carvone, which gives spearmint its distinctive smell. Spearmint oil also contains significant amounts of limonene, dihydrocarvone, and 1,8-cineol. Unlike peppermint oil, oil of spearmint contains minimal amounts of menthol and menthone. It is used as a flavoring for toothpaste and confectionery, and is sometimes added to shampoos and soaps.

Known Hazards:To much use for some persons may cause Scanty secretion of urine with frequent desire to urinate; simple nausea.

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://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spearmint
http://www.henriettes-herb.com/eclectic/kings/mentha-viri.html
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/m/mints-39.html#spe

Categories
Herbs & Plants

Mint

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Botanical Name : Mentha spp
Family: Lamiaceae
Tribe: Mentheae
Genus: Mentha
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Lamiales

Common Name:Mint

Habitat : Mentha spp has subcosmopolitan distribution across Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia, and North America.While the species that make up the Mentha genus are widely distributed and can be found in many environments, most Mentha grow best in wet environments and moist soils. Mints will grow 10–120 cm tall and can spread over an indeterminate area. Due to their tendency to spread unchecked, mints are considered invasive.

Description:
Mints are aromatic, almost exclusively perennial, rarely annual, herbs. They have wide-spreading underground and overground stolons and erect, square, branched stems. The leaves are arranged in opposite pairs, from oblong to lanceolate, often downy, and with a serrate margin. Leaf colors range from dark green and gray-green to purple, blue, and sometimes pale yellow.  The flowers are white to purple and produced in false whorls called verticillasters. The corolla is two-lipped with four subequal lobes, the upper lobe usually the largest. The fruit is a small, dry capsule containing one to four seeds.

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You may click to see different species of Mint

Cultivation :
Mentha x gracilis and M. rotundifolia. The steel ring is to control the spread of the plant.All mints prefer, and thrive in, cool, moist spots in partial shade. In general, mints tolerate a wide range of conditions, and can also be grown in full sun.

They are fast growing, extending their reach along surfaces through a network of runners. Due to their speedy growth, one plant of each desired mint, along with a little care, will provide more than enough mint for home use. Some mint species are more invasive than others. Even with the less invasive mints, care should be taken when mixing any mint with any other plants, lest the mint take over. To control mints in an open environment, mints should be planted in deep, bottomless containers sunk in the ground, or planted above ground in tubs and barrels.

Some mints can be propagated by seed. Growth from seed can be an unreliable method for raising mint for two reasons: mint seeds are highly variable – one might not end up with what one presupposed was planted; and some mint varieties are sterile. It is more effective to take and plant cuttings from the runners of healthy mints.

The most common and popular mints for cultivation are peppermint (Mentha × piperita), spearmint (Mentha spicata), and (more recently) apple mint (Mentha suaveolens).

Mints are supposed to make good companion plants, repelling pest insects and attracting beneficial ones. Mints are susceptible to whitefly and aphids.

Harvesting of mint leaves can be done at any time. Fresh mint leaves should be used immediately or stored up to a couple of days in plastic bags within a refrigerator. Optionally, mint can be frozen in ice cube trays. Dried mint leaves should be stored in an airtight container placed in a cool, dark, dry area.

Edible Uses:
The leaf, fresh or dried, is the culinary source of mint. Fresh mint is usually preferred over dried mint when storage of the mint is not a problem. The leaves have a warm, fresh, aromatic, sweet flavor with a cool aftertaste. Mint leaves are used in teas, beverages, jellies, syrups, candies, and ice creams. In Middle Eastern cuisine, mint is used on lamb dishes, while in British cuisine and American cuisine, mint sauce and mint jelly are used, respectively.

Mint is a necessary ingredient in Touareg tea, a popular tea in northern African and Arab countries.

Alcoholic drinks sometimes feature mint for flavor or garnish, such as the mint julep and the mojito. Crème de menthe is a mint-flavored liqueur used in drinks such as the grasshopper.

Mint essential oil and menthol are extensively used as flavorings in breath fresheners, drinks, antiseptic mouth rinses, toothpaste, chewing gum, desserts, and candies; see mint (candy) and mint chocolate. The substances that give the mints their characteristic aromas and flavors are menthol (the main aroma of Peppermint and Japanese Peppermint) and pulegone (in Pennyroyal and Corsican Mint). The compound primarily responsible for the aroma and flavor of spearmint is R-carvone.

Medicinal Uses:
Ayurvedic physicians have used mint for centuries as a tonic and digestive aid and as a treatment for colds, cough, and fever.  Medieval German abbess/herbalist Hildegard of Bingen recommended mint for digestion and gout.  Shortly after Culpeper wrote about the benefits of mint, peppermint and spearmint were differentiated, and herbalists decided the former was the better digestive aid, cough remedy, and treatment for colds and fever.  Spearmint cannot replace peppermint in combined bile and liver or nerve herbal teas even though it is used as a stomachic and carminative.

The Chinese use bo he ( M. arvensis) as a cooling remedy for head colds and influenza and also for some types of headaches, sore throats, and eye inflammations.  As a liver stimulant, it is added to remedies for digestive disorders or liver qi (energy) stagnation).  Disperses wind-heat: for patterns of wind-heat with fever, headache and cough.  Clears the head and eyes and benefits the throat: for patterns of wind-heat with sore throat, red eyes, and headache.  Vents rashes: used in the early stages of rashes such as measles to induce the rash to come to the surface and thereby speed recovery.

Peppermint also contains antioxidants that help prevent cancer, heart disease and other diseases associated with aging.  From Jim Duke’s “Green Pharmacy” comes a Stone Tea for gallstone attach:  brew a mint tea from as many mints as possible especially spearmint and peppermint and add some cardamom, the richest source of borneol, another compound that is helpful.
The oil of peppermint has been shown to be antimicrobial and antiviral against Newcastle disease, herpes simplex, vaccinia, Semliki Forest and West Nile viruses.

Menthol is an allergic sensitizer that may cause hives.  The menthol in oil of peppermint is an effective local anesthetic.  It increases the sensitivity of the receptors in the skin that perceive the sensation of coolness and reduces the sensitivity of the receptors that perceive pain and itching.  Menthol is also a counterirritant, an agent that causes the small blood vessels under the skin to dilate, increasing the flow of blood to the area and making the skin feel warm.  When you apply a skin lotion made with menthol, your skin feels cool for a minutes, then warm.  Menthol’s anesthetic properties also make it useful in sprays and lozenges for sore throats.

Other Uses:
Used asinsecticide :  Mint oil is  used as an environmentally-friendly insecticide for its ability to kill some common pests like wasps, hornets, ants and cockroaches.

Used as Room Scent and Aromatherapy:  Known in Greek Mythology as the herb of hospitality, one of the first known uses for mint in Europe was as a room deodorizer. The herb was strewn across floors to cover the smell of the hard-packed soil. Stepping on the mint helped to spread its scent through the room. Today, it is more commonly used for aromatherapy through the use of essential oils

Mints are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including Buff Ermine.

Taxonomy:
Mentha is a member of the tribe Mentheae in the subfamily Nepetoideae. The tribe contains about 65 genera and relationships within it remain obscure. Different authors have disagreed on the circumscription of Mentha. Some authors have excluded Mentha cervina from the genus. Mentha cunninghamii has also been excluded by some authors, even in some recent treatments of the genus. In 2004, a molecular phylogenetic study indicated that both of these species should be included in Mentha.

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.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_LMN.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mentha

Categories
Herbs & Plants

Catmint or Catnip

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Botanical Name: Nepeta cataria
Family:    Lamiaceae
Genus:    Nepeta
Species:N. cataria
Kingdom:Plantae
Order:    Lamiales

Other Names:catmint, catnep, catswort, field balm

Nepeta is a genus of about 250 species of flowering plants in the family Lamiaceae. The members of this group are known as catnips or catmints due to its famed liking by cats—nepeta pleasantly stimulates cats’ pheromonic receptors.

Parts Used: flowers and leaves.

Habitat-–Catmint or Catnep, a wild English plant belonging to the large family Labiatae, of which the Mints and Deadnettles are also members, is generally distributed throughout the central and the southern counties of England, in hedgerows, borders of fields, and on dry banks and waste ground, especially in chalky and gravelly soil. It is less common in the north, very local in Scotland and rare in Ireland, but of frequent occurrence in the whole of Europe and temperate Asia, and also common in North Arnerica, where originally. however. it was an introduced species. It grows   on the roadsides and near streams. Hedgerows, borders of fields, dry banks and waste ground, especially on calcareous and gravelly soils.


Description:

Catnip is a gray green aromatic perennial plant that grows to 3 feet and bears all the hallmarks of the mint family, a square stem, fuzzy leaves, and twin-lipped flowers. The oblong or cordate, pointed leaves have scalloped edges and gray or whitish hairs on the lower side. The flowers are white with purple spots and grow in spikes from June to September.

click to see the pictures…....(01).....(1).…...(2)...…(3)......(4).……..(5)….………………………………..

The root is perennial and sends up square, erect and branched stems, 2 to 3 feet high, which are very leafy and covered with a mealy down. The heartshaped, toothed leaves are also covered with a soft, close down, especially on the under sides, which are quite white with it, so that the whole plant has a hoary, greyish appearance, as though it had had dust blown over it.
The flowers grow on short footstalks in dense whorls, which towards the summit of the stem are so close as almost to form a spike. They are in bloom from July to September. The individual flowers are small, the corollas two-lipped, the upper lip straight, of a whitish or pale pink colour, dotted with red spots, the anthers a deep red colour. The calyx tube has fifteen ribs, a distinguishing feature of the genus Nepeta, to which this species belongs.

Cultivation—Catmint is easily grown in any garden soil, and does not require moisture in the same way as the other Mints. It may be increased by dividing the plants in spring, or by sowing seeds at the same period. Sow in rows, about 20 inches apart, thinning out the seedlings to about the same distance apart as the plants attain a considerable size. They require no attention, and will last for several years if the ground is kept free from weeds. The germinating power of the seeds lasts five years.

Propagation :
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame in the autumn. The germination of spring sown seed can be erratic, it is best sown in a cold frame. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and plant them out into their permanent positions in the summer. The seed remains viable for about 5 years. A fast-growing plant, the seedlings can reach flowering size in their first year. If you have sufficient freshly ripe seed then it is well worth trying a sowing outdoors in situ in the autumn. Division in spring or autumn. Very easy, large divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found that it is better to pot up the smaller divisions and grow them on in light shade in a cold frame until they are well established before planting them out in late spring or early summer. Basal cuttings in late spring or early summer. Harvest the shoots with plenty of underground stem when they are about 8 – 10cm above the ground. 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.

Effects on cats:
Catnip contains the feline attractant nepetalactone. Nepeta cataria (and some other species within the genus Nepeta) are known for their behavioral effects on the cat family, not only on domestic cats but also other species of cats. One test showed that tigers, leopards, and lynxes all reacted strongly to catnip in a manner similar to domestic cats, while lions reacted less frequently.

With domestic cats, N. cataria is used as a recreational substance for pet cats’ enjoyment, and catnip and catnip-laced products designed for use with domesticated cats are available to consumers. The common behaviors when cats sense the bruised leaves or stems of catnip are rubbing on the plant, rolling on the ground, pawing at it, licking it, and chewing it. Consuming much of the plant is followed by drooling, sleepiness, anxiety, leaping about and purring. Some growl, meow, scratch, or bite at the hand holding it.[a] The main response period after exposure is generally between five and fifteen minutes,:p.107 after which olfactory fatigue usually sets in.

The nepetalactone in catnip acts as a feline attractant after it enters the feline’s nose. Cats detect it through their olfactory epithelium, not through their vomeronasal organ. At the olfactory epithelium, the nepetalactone binds to one or more olfactory receptors.

Not all cats are affected by catnip. Roughly half to two thirds of cats are affected by the plant. The phenomenon is hereditary.

Other plants that also male cats prefer males have this effect on cats include valerian (Valeriana officinalis), Acalypha indica (root) and plants that contain actinidine. Domestic house cats who do not react to catnip will react in a similar way to Tartarian honeysuckle sawdust.

Catnip contains nepetalactone, a terpene. Cats detect it through their olfactory epithelium and not through their vomeronasal organ . At the olfactory epithelium, the nepetalactone is hypothesized to bind to one or more G-protein coupled receptors on the surface of sensory neurons which are found in the sensory layer of the organ. Via a signal transduction pathway (probably involving a G-protein and a transient receptor potential channel) an influx of calcium ions that occurs creates an action potential along the axon of the neuron. The sensory neurons from the olfactory epithelium project to the olfactory bulb where multiple neurons (each expressing a single receptor type) synapse at special neuropil called glomeruli. Here the neurons synapse with mitral cells which, in turn, project to various brain loci, including the amygdala, where the signals are integrated into behavioural signals. There is some evidence of projections to the hypothalamus, which in turn regulates a neuroendocrine response via the pituitary gland. These hormones would mediate the “sexual response.” The chemical probably hijacks the pathway normally influenced by a cat pheromone.

When cats sense the bruised leaves or stems of catnip, they will rub in it, roll over it, paw at it, chew it, lick it, leap about and purr, often salivating copiously. Some cats will also growl and meow. This reaction only lasts for a few minutes before the cat loses interest. It takes up to two hours for the cat to “reset” and then it can come back to the catnip and have the same response as before. Young kittens and older cats are less likely to have a reaction to catnip, but big cats, such as tigers, seem to be extremely sensitive to it.

Cat toys can contain catnip and some cats love to play with them while others are not interested. Cat owners do not need to worry about allowing their cats access to catnip because there are, for the most part, no negative side effects to doing so. However, some cats become overly excited when exposed to catnip, so aging or obese cats with heart troubles should be kept away from it. A diabetic cat can also experience complications from catnip.

Edible Uses: 
Edible Parts: Leaves.
Edible Uses: Condiment; Tea.

Young leaves – raw. A mint-like flavour, they make an aromatic flavouring in salads. Older leaves are used as a flavouring in cooked foods. They can be used fresh or dried to make an aromatic herb tea. The tea should be infused in a closed container in order to preserve the essential oils, boiling is said to spoil it.

Part Used Medicinally—The flowering tops are the part utilized in medicine and are harvested when the plant is in full bloom in August.

Medicinal Action and Uses—Carminative, tonic, diaphoretic, refrigerant and slightly emmenagogue, specially antispasmodic, and mildly stimulating.

Catnip is an hallucinogen in cats but not in humans. It acts as an antispasmodic and a carminative relieving flatulence. It is also a mild sedative for the relief of insomnia

Producing free perspiration, it is very useful in colds. Catnep Tea is a valuable drink in every case of fever, because of its action in inducing sleep and producing perspiration without increasing the heat of the system. It is good in restlessness, colic, insanity and nervousness, and is used as a mild nervine for children, one of its chief uses being, indeed, in the treatment of children’s ailments. The infusion of 1 OZ. to a pint of boiling water may be taken by adults in doses of 2 tablespoonsful, by children in 2 or 3 teaspoonsful frequently, to relieve pain and flatulence. An injection of Catnep Tea is also used for colicky pains.

Cough & Insomnia
Catnip is used as an tranquilizer, sedative, digestive aid, and treatments for colds, colic, diarrhea, flatulence, and fever. Extract of catnip has been found to be cytotoxic to HELA-S3 cancer cells in cell culture.

Digestive Aid: Catnip may soothe the smooth muscles of the digestive tract (making it an antispasmodic). Have a cup of catnip tea after meals if you are prone to indigestion or heartburn.

Women’s Health: Antispasmodics calm not only the digestive tract but other smooth tracts as well, such as uterus. Catnip’s antispasmodic effect supports its traditional use for relieving menstrual cramps. Catnip is also used as a menstruation promoter. Pregnant women should avoid using this herb.

Tranquilizer: Catnip is a mild tranquilizer and sedative.

Infection Prevention: Catnip has some antibiotic properties. It is used for the treatment of diarrhea and fever.

The herb should always be infused, boiling will spoil it. Its qualities are somewhat volatile, hence when made it should be covered up.

The tea may be drunk freely, but if taken in very large doses when warm, it frequently acts as an emetic.

It has proved efficacious in nervous headaches and as an emmenagogue, though for the latter purpose, it is preferable to use Catnep, not as a warm tea, but to express the juice of the green herb and take it in tablespoonful doses, three times a day.

An injection of the tea also relieves headache and hysteria, by its immediate action upon the sacral plexus. The young tops, made into a conserve, have been found serviceable for nightmare.

Catnep may be combined with other agents of a more decidedly diaphoretic nature. Equal parts of warm Catnep tea and Saffron are excellent in scarlet-fever and small-pox, as well as colds and hysterics. It will relieve painful swellings when applied in the form of a poultice or fomentation.

Old writers recommended a decoction of the herb, sweetened with honey for relieving a cough, and Culpepper tells us also that ‘the juice drunk in wine is good for bruises,’ and that ‘the green leaves bruised and made into an ointment is effectual for piles,’ and that ‘the head washed with a decoction taketh away scabs, scurf, etc.’

Click to know more on: Catnip
Other Uses:
Essential; Herbicide; Pot-pourri; Repellent.

The plant is said to deter insects such as ants and flea beetles as well as rats and mice. (The idea behind it being a rat repellent is probably based on the plants attraction to cats, see notes above.) A strong infusion can be used to repel fleas from carpets or the fur of animals. An extract from the leaves (called nepetalactone) has herbicidal and insect repellent properties. The freshly harvested flowering tops contain 0.3 – 1% essential oil by distillation. It is mainly used for medicinal purposes. The dried leaves retain their fragrance and can be used in pot-pourr.

Known Hazards : Catnip has diuretic properties and may increase amount and frequency of urination. Smoking catnip can produce euphoria and visual hallucinations. Sedation. Women with inflammatory diseases of the pelvis or are pregnant should not use. Care if using and driving or using machines

Safety:
No adverse side effects were reported if used in reasonable quantities or doses. Some people may experience upset stomach. FDA classifies catnip as a drug of “undefined safety”. No significant toxic reactions have ever been reported

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.piam.com/mms_garden/plants.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nepeta_cataria

http://www.holistic-online.com/Herbal-Med/_Herbs/h40.htm and http://botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/c/catmin36.html and en.wikipedia.org

http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Nepeta+cataria

Categories
Herbs & Plants

Mentha arvensis

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

Common Names:  Pudina,”Podina” in Hindi, wild mint or corn mint, Japanese Mint

Parts Used: Whole Plant, Oil

Habitat: Mentha arvensis is native to Europe, including Britain, from Scandanavia south and east to Spain, N. Asia and the Himalayas.   Found through out India and is grown all over the world.It grows in arable land, heaths, damp edges of woods.

Description:It is an herbaceous perennial plant growing  to 0.5 m (1ft 8in) by 1 m (3ft 3in). The leaves are in opposite pairs, simple, 2-6.5 cm long and 1-2 cm broad, hairy, and with a coarsely serrated margin. The flowers are pale purple (occasionally white or pink), in clusters on the stem, each flower 3-4 mm long. It  is not frost tender. It is in flower from May to October, and the seeds ripen from Jul to October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees.It is noted for attracting wildlife.

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Cultivation :
An easily grown plant, it succeeds in most soils and situations so long as the soil is not too dry. This species tolerates much drier conditions than other members of the genus. Prefers a slightly acid soil. Grows well in heavy clay soils. A sunny position is best for production of essential oils, but it also succeeds in partial shade. Plants are hardy to at least -15°c. 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. Polymorphic. The whole plant has a very strong, almost oppressive, smell of mint. The flowers are very attractive to bees and butterflies. A good companion plant for growing near brassicas and tomatoes, helping to deter insect pests. 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.
Edible Uses: Condiment; Tea.

Leaves – raw or cooked. A reasonably strong minty flavour with a slight bitterness, they are used as a flavouring in salads or cooked foods. A herb tea is made from the fresh or dried leaves. An essential oil from the plant is used as a flavouring in sweets and beverages. The leaves contain about 0.2% essential oil

Properties Mint is tasty, relishing, and hot, an appetizer that eliminates the excessive formation of wind phlegm. It is beneficial in cough, indigestion, sprue, diarrhea, cholera, and chronic fever and eliminates the worm’s from the stomach. It also increases the digestive powers.

Medicinal Uses:

Anaesthetic; Antiphlogistic; Antiseptic; Antispasmodic; Aromatic; Cancer; Carminative; Diaphoretic; Emmenagogue; Febrifuge; Galactofuge;
Salve; Stimulant; Stomachic.

Corn 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 whole plant is anaesthetic, antiphlogistic, antispasmodic, antiseptic, aromatic, carminative, diaphoretic, emmenagogue, galactofuge, refrigerant, stimulant and stomachic. A tea made from the leaves has traditionally been used in the treatment of fevers, headaches, digestive disorders and various minor ailments. The leaves are a classical remedy for stomach cancer. Another report says that this species is not very valuable medicinally. 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.

The entire plant is antibacterial and antifibrile. 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.

Pudina or mint has various herbal and Ayurvedic medicinal value.
Mint is generally a sweet flavour imparting a cool sensation to the mouth. Peppermint has the highest concentrations of menthol, while pennyroyal is strong with a medicinal flavour.

Mint is refreshing, stimulative, diaphoretic, stomachic, and antispasmodic. It helps in colds, flu, fever, poor digestion, motion sickness, food poisoning, rheumatism, hiccups, stings, ear aches, flatulence and for throat and sinus ailments.

Both fresh and dried mint is used. Mint is used in a variety of dishes such as vegetable curries, mint recipe for chutney, fruit salads,vegetable salads,salad dressings, soup,desserts,juices, sherberts, etc.Peppermint is used to flavour toothpaste,mouth freshners and chewing gum.

  • A fresh juice extracted from the mint is very beneficial in cold.
  • If a semi liquid juice made from the powdered leaves of mint and basil is taken, it cures fever and its relapsing.
  • Mixed juice of mint and ginger cures ague. It also cures all types of fever by causing excessive perspiration. This juice is also beneficial in flatulationan and coryza.
  • A mixture made of six grams of mint, six grams of ginger juice and 1 gram of powdered rock salt, cures colic in stomach.

Other Uses :
Essential; Repellent; Strewing.

The plant is used as an insect repellent. 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. The leaves also repel various insects. An essential oil is obtained from the plant. The yield from the leaves is about 0.8%. The sub-species M. arvensis piperascens produces the best oil, which can be used as a substitute for, or adulterant of, peppermint oil. Yields of up to 1.6% have been obtained from this sub-species

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.fatfreekitchen.com/spices/mint.html
http://www.urday.com/spice.html)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mentha_arvensis
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Mentha+arvensis