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Spearmint as an Herb

Spearmint as an herb

Mentha viridis

Spearmint is believed to be a useful r emedy for fatigue. At the same time, it helps to relieve nervous tension and anxiety.

Other names: Curled Mint, Garden Mint. Mackerel Mint, Our Lady's Mint, Green Mint, Spire Mint. Sage of Bethlehem, Fish Mint, Lamb Mint

This common garden mint is originally a native of the Mediterranean region, and was introduced into Britain by the Romans.

It is probable that spearmint was introduced by the Pilgrim Fathers when they landed in America, as it is mentioned among many other plants brought out from England, in a list given by John Josselyn.

Spearmint as an Herb for Medicinal Uses

The medicinal parts are the steamed distillation of the fresh, flowering, aerial parts, and the leaves collected during the flowering season and dried.

In the fourteenth century, mint was used for whitening the teeth, and its distilled oil is still used to flavor toothpaste, etc. In America, especially, spearmint is used to flavor confectionery, chewing gums, and to perfume soap.

Spearmint essential oil is rather different to peppermint, it is used for culinary purposes and is also used in the aroma and flavor industries. A significant difference is the presence of L-carvone instead of menthol or menthone.

The application of a strong decoction of Spearmint is said to cure chapped hands.

Spearmint is a valuable herb for stopping vomiting during pregnancy. It is gentle enough to use for colic in babies, while aiding in curing colds, flu, and gas.

The Ancients used mint to scent their bath water and as a restorative, as we use smelling salts to-day. In Athens where every part of the body was perfumed with a different scent, mint was specially designated to the arms.

Folk medicine: Spearmint is used for digestive disorders and as a remedy for flatulence. The essential oil is used as an aromatic preparation. Spearmint leaves are used as carminative.

Spearmint is mainly used internally in the form of an oil or concentrate.

Culinary Uses of Spearmint

Spearmint was used by ancient civilizations as a flavoring herb, culinary condiment, and in perfumes and bath scents.

Some spearmints are stronger in flavor than others.The "doublemint" flavor of spearmint is difficult to describe; it's minty but not pungent.

Spearmints flavor cold soups, beverages and meats, and together with thyme, spearmint is the most important culinary herb in Britain. Spearmint is the mint to use for the famous and often dreaded "peppermint" sauce served to boiled lamb. When eaten with lamb, very finely chopped in sweetened vinegar, in the form of mint sauce, mint greatly aids the digestion, as it makes the crude, albuminous fibers of the immature meat more digestible.

Spearmint leaves are used to flavor green peas and also new potatoes, being boiled with them, and the powdered, dried leaves are used with pea soup and also in seasonings. In Germany, the powdered, dried mint is often used at table for dusting upon pea and bean purees, as well as on gravies. A grating of mint is introduced sometimes into a potato salad, or into a fowl stuffing.

Jar of Jelly Mint Jelly can be used instead of mint sauce, in the same manner as red currant jelly. It may be made by steeping mint leaves in apple jelly, or in one of the various kinds of commercial gelatine.

Mint Cake is a cake made of flour and dripping or lard, flavored with sugar and chopped fresh mint and rolled out thin.

Today, most spearmint is actually used in the chewing gum industry ("doublemint").

Caution

No health hazards or side effects are known in conjunction with the proper administration of designated therapeutic dosages. The volatile oil possesses a weak potential for sensitization due to its menthol and L-carvone content.

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