Spearmint Leaf (Mentha spicata)
Mentha spicata is a Mediterranean native known from ancient times. It 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.
In the first century a.d., the naturalist Pliny suggested that students wrap a braid of mint around their heads to bring delight to the soul, thus benefiting the mind and enhancing their scholarship. Aristotle forbade mints to be used by soldiers prior to battle because he believed that the qualities of this herb might diminish their willingness to fight.
Latin Name: Mentha spicata
Common Names: garden mint, lamb mint, mackerel mint, common mint
Plant Family: Lamiaceae
Origin: United States
Taste: pungent, minty
Part Used: Leaves
- As a tea: Pour 1 cup boiling water over 1 tsp. of herb, cover and steep 3-5 minutes. Strain and serve.
As a glycerite: Fill a clean jar 1/2 to 1/3 full of dried herbs. Do not pack the herbs down. Cover with a mixture of 3 parts vegetable glycerine to 1 part water. Cap and let this sit in a dark place for 3 to 4 weeks. Strain. Store in your refrigerator.
Detailed instructions for making a glyercite can be found HERE!
As a tincture: Tinctures are also called extracts. This same process is used to make real vanilla extract. Alcohol tinctures are the most common type and the easiest to make.
Detailed instructions for making a tincture can be found HERE!
- Diffuser: The vapor of infused mint can be used to freshen the air in a sickroom.
- In the bath: A water infusion can be used to scent bath water.
Always consult your health care professional before using any herbal supplement.