Herb Reference Guide

Spearmint

History

This well-known culinary and medicinal herb is native to Europe and Southwest Asia, but is found growing in almost every temperate climate. It grows so well in loamy soils it is considered invasive and it is recommended that it be grown in containers due to its ability to spread. Oil of Spearmint is commonly used to flavor jellies, jams, mouthwash, chewing gum, toothpaste and many other food and cosmetic items. All of these uses make Spearmint an important herb of commerce.

Function

Spearmint has been used for many therapeutic purposes although the aromatic and carminative oils have found their best assistance with digestive complaints. The origin of the word "carminative" is particularly curious. It was borrowed from the French carminatif (masc.), carminative (fem.). Virtually all English-language dictionaries state that the French took the word from the Latin carminare, to card wool. However, a respected French dictionary Le Petit Robert indicates that carminare meant nettoyer, to cleanse. The confusion appears to stem from the fact that to card wool was to cleanse it. This however is a word always associated with the properties of mint, which does help to support the body in expelling excess gas from the intestines. Spearmint also supports relaxation in the body and has been used in herbal formulas and teas for this purpose.

Uses of Spearmint

Disclaimer

This information in our Herbal Reference Guide is intended only as a general reference for further exploration, and is not a replacement for professional health advice. This content does not provide dosage information, format recommendations, toxicity levels, or possible interactions with prescription drugs. Accordingly, this information should be used only under the direct supervision of a qualified health practitioner such as a naturopathic physician.

Active Constituents

1,8-cineole, acetic-acid, acetophenone, alpha-pinene, alpha-terpineol, apigenin, arginine, benzaldehyde, benzyl-alcohol, beta-carotene, beta-sitosterol, borneol, calcium, carvacrol, carvone, caryophyllene, diosmin, ethanol, eugenol, farnesol, geraniol, hesperidin, limonene, luteolin, menthol, methionine, niacin, oleanolic-acid, perillyl-alcohol, pulegone, rosmarinic-acid, terpinen-4-ol, thiamin, thymol, tryptophan, ursolic-acid, and many vitamins and minerals.

Parts Used

  • Leaf

Important precautions

Not for use during pregnancy and lactation.

Additional Resources