Spearmint (Mentha spicata)

Spearmint (Mentha spicata)

Other common names: Mackerel mint, Mentha viridis, sage of Bethlehem, frauen munze, lamb mint.

Photo courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons/Forest and Kim Starr

Family:  Lamiaceae

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Carminitive, antimicrobial, aromatic, digestive, antispasmodic, stomachic, anti-nauseant, febrifuge, astringent, diuretic, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, hormone balancer.

Harvest:

Harvest can take place any time throughout the year, but the medicinal qualities will be most potent right before the flowers open (typically mid-summer). Cut the stems to about an inch above the ground – keep plant trimmed regularly to encourage continuous growth.

Part used: Aerial parts.

Constituents:

Volatile oils (carvone, dihydrocarvone, phellandrene, and limonene), flavonoids, 6-hydroxycarvone,  menthol, menthone, pulegone,  piperitenone oxide, cis-carveyl acetate, carveol, menthofuran, myrcene, α-and β-pinenes, cineole, α-terpineol, linalool, terpinen-4-ol, terpinolene, dihydrocarveol, dihydrocarveol acetate; caryophyllene, cis-hexenyl isovalerate, 3-octyl acetate, 3-octanol, piperitenone, monoterpene glycosides, monomenthyl succinate and others.

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Indications: 

Fevers, nausea and vomiting (even in children), gas, bloating, minor cuts and scrapes, dandruff and other skin irritations, headaches and other mild pain, hiccups, diarrhea, IBS, gallbladder inflammation, toothaches and oral health in general, neuralgia, muscle spasms, sore throat, cramps, respiratory symptoms, infections.

Medicinal preparation: 

Internal

Spearmint can be taken as a standard infusion tea, capsules, cold infusion, or the leaves and flowers may be directly consumed fresh or dried. We often use spearmint instead of peppermint when treating children, since peppermint can be too stimulating.

External

Use spearmint externally as a wash, poultice, diluted essential oil, infused oil, steam inhalation or a number of other preparations. Apply to inflamed skin, itchy areas, or use it in shampoos, conditioners or as a hair rinse.

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Contraindications: Do not use in patients with severe kidney stones, obstructed bile duct or large gallstones, or those retaining water due to kidney disease. Use during pregnancy must be checked with a doctor first, and if approved, done in moderation. The essential oil must be used in moderation, as sensitivity can develop after prolonged continuous use. It can also be irritating to mucous membranes.

I suggest consulting a pharmacist or physician before starting any herbal supplement if you are taking a prescription medication or have serious underlying health concerns. 

Energetic/traditional use: Associated with venus and the element of air, spearmint is used for luck, money, renewal, offerings, releasing negative blocks, ending cycles and transformations. It is believed by some that mint should never be cut with iron. In Greek folklore it is associated with hospitality, and the leaves were rubbed on dining plates to scent them, as a welcome gesture to guests.

Disclaimer: The information on this website is intended as general education on herbs and is not intended to take the place of medical care. Please consult a health care professional before embarking on any health regime.

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