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Mentha

The true
Mentha Herb
mints (genus Mentha) are perennial herbs in the Family Lamiaceae. There are about 25-30 species in the genus, seven from Australia, one in North America, and the others from Europe and Asia; several hybrids also occur. According to Greek mythology, the plant was named after Minthe.

Selected species
Mentha aquatica Water mint, or Marsh mint
Mentha arvensis Corn Mint, Wild Mint and Japanese Peppermint
Mentha asiatica
Mentha australis
Mentha canadensis (syn. M. arvensis var. canadensis)
Mentha cervina
Mentha citrata (syn. M. odorata) Bergamot mint (smells like Bergamot)
Mentha crispata
Mentha cunninghamii
Mentha dahurica
Mentha diemenica
Mentha gattefossei
Mentha grandiflora
Mentha haplocalyx
Mentha japonica
Mentha kopetdaghensis
Mentha laxiflora
Mentha longifolia
Mentha micrantha
Mentha microphylla
Mentha pulegium Pennyroyal
Mentha requienii Corsican mint
Mentha sachalinensis
Mentha satureioides
Mentha spicata Spearmint, Curly mint
Mentha suaveolens (syn. M. rotundifolia) Apple mint (smells like apples) and Pineapple mint (a variegated cultivar of Apple mint)
Mentha sylvestris Horsemint, Wild mint
Mentha vagans
Selected hybrids
Mentha dalmatica
Mentha dumetorum
Mentha gracilis
Mentha maximilianea
Mentha muelleriana
Mentha piperita Peppermint, Chocolate mint
Mentha rotundifolia
Mentha verticillata
Mentha villosa
Mints are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including Buff Ermine.

Cultivation and uses

Mints are generally vigorous, spreading plants that tolerate a wide range of conditions. They can be highly invasive plants, so caution should be taken in cultivation or it can take over an entire garden.

The most common and popular mints for cultivation are peppermint (Mentha piperita), spearmint (Mentha spicata), and (more recently) pineapple mint (Mentha suaveolens). The dark green leaves have a pleasant warm, fresh, aromatic, sweet flavour with a cool aftertaste. Mint essential oils are used to flavour food, candy, teas, breath fresheners, antiseptic mouth rinses, and toothpaste. Mint leaves are used in teas, beverages, jellies, syrups, and ice creams. In Mid-Eastern cuisines, mint is used on lamb dishes. In British cuisine, mint sauce is popular with meats. Mint leaves generally refer to dried spearmint leaves. Pennyroyal and Corsican
Mentha Herb
Mint have a much stronger odour and flavour, and potentially harmful medicinal effects. Pennyroyal resembles the other mints, but Corsican mint is unusual in being a low, mossy groundcover. The pineapple mint is particularly mild and popular.

Mint essential oil and menthol are extensively used as flavourings in drinks, gum and candies; see mint (candy). The substances that give the mints their characteristic aromas and flavours are:

menthol: the main aroma of Spearmint, Peppermint, and Japanese Peppermint (a major commercial source).
pulegiol: in Pennyroyal and Corsican Mint.
The mint family, Lamiaceae, includes many other aromatic herbs, including most of the more common cooking herbs, including basil, rosemary, sage, oregano, and catnip. In common usage, several other plants with fragrant leaves may be erroneously called a mint. Vietnamese Mint, commonly used in Southeast Asian cuisine, is not a member of the mint family. In Central and South America, mint is known as yerbabuena (literally, "good herb").

Medicinal and cosmetic uses
Mint was originally used as a medicinal herb to treat stomach ache and chest pains. During the middle ages, powdered mint leaves were used to whiten teeth.

Menthol is an ingredient of many cosmetics and perfumes. Menthol and mint essential oil are also much used in medicine as component of many drugs, and are very popular in aromatherapy.



Other useful herb information: Arnica | Meadowsweet | Licorice | Hyssop | Yerba | Red Yeast Rice | Fenugreek

Page Content: mentha , mentha piperita , mentha arvensis .

 

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