(Mentha piperita) is a hairy perennial more commonly used in medicines
has underground stolons and square pink or red stems of about 90 cm
height. The leaves are red-tinted, oval, pointed, deeply toothed and
long-stalked and the white flowers are on long spikes.
mints are always propagated from surface or underground runners, as
plants produced from seed are not uniform. Early in spring the runners
should be set in a moist but not soggy soil, either in beds or in
rows. Unless confined by boards set several inches in the ground the
underground runners will spread in a few seasons to cover several
times the area originally set. No special care is necessary except
to keep the bed free of weeds and grass. As the plants grow rapidly,
fresh green sprigs are available for use as needed from early in spring
until late in fall. The leaves and flowering tops should be cut for
drying when the plants begin to flower.
culinary use the leaves and stems are gathered before flowering and
in full flower for distillation of oil. The upper part of the plant
may be tied in small bundles and hung up, or the leaves and flowering
tops spread on a screen and dried in the shade. As soon as the leaves
and stems are brittle, any excess stems should be removed and the
clean dry leaves and flowering tops packed in a closed container.
and other use
leaves of the various species and varieties impart their pleasing
flavours to lamb, peas, cream of pea soup, tea, and fruit drinks.
Essential oil is used to flavour confectionery, liqueurs and pharmaceutical
products, and to scent cosmetics. It is the most valuable of all mints,
with great cooling properties due to its high content of menthol.
It is used to treat gastric and digestive disorders, and nervous complaints
like tension and insomnia.