Web www.herbsofegypt.com

Spearmint was used by ancient civilizations as a flavoring herb, culinary condiment, and in perfumes and bath scents. Spearmint is native to Asia. The Latin name literally means "spiky mint" as the genus name Mentha translates to "it is a mint" and the species name spicata to "it is like a spike". The source of Latin menta and Greek mínthee is unknown. Its common name is green mint, spire mint, garden mint, lamb mint. Its Arabic name is Na’na. Spearmint is probably the best known true mint.



More Articles

 Buy Herbs

Buy Bulk Herbs


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.

In the fourteenth century, mint was used for whitening the teeth, and its distilled oil is still used to flavour tooth-pastes, etc., and in America, especially, to flavour confectionery, chewing gums, and also to perfume soap.

It is originally a Mediterranean native and was introduced to Britain by the Romans. British breeds of green mint are known as spearmint. Spearmint grew wild in the United States after the 1600s. It is also cultivated to some extent for the distillation of the oil, especially in Michigan and Indiana, and for domestic use it is a familiar garden plant.


It has rich green leaves, grows two to three feet in height, and has spikes of pink flowers. It comes in both curly and plain leaved types. There are several forms of Garden Mint, the true variety being of bold, upright growth, with fairly large and broad leaves, pointed and sharply serrated (or toothed) at the edges and of a rich, bright, green colour.

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


The parts used are the herb and the essentisal oil. The dried leaves and flowering tops, collected before the flowers are fully developed.  


The main constituent of the essential oil is carvone along with phellandrine, limonene and dihydrocarveol acetate.  The oil has esters of acetic, butyric and caproic acids within it. Spearmint oil owes its fantastic aroma to carvone, dihydrocarvone, menthone, pulegone, 1,8 cineol and beta-pinene.

Esters of acetic, butyric and caproic or caprylic acids are also present. (An Ester is a combination of an alcohol with an acid, the combination being associated with the elimination of water. The esters are highly important and in many cases dominant constituents of numerous essential oils, which owe their perfume largely, or in some cases entirely, to the esters contained. Many of the esters are used as flavouring or perfumery agents, and many are among the most important constituents of volatile salts.)

Oil of spearmint is used in aromatherapy to assist with mental fatigue, headache, colds, coughs, asthma, and bronchitis. Spearmint oil is added to many compounds on account of its carminative properties, and because its taste is pleasanter and less strong than Peppermint.


There are medicinal and kitchen uses for spearmint. The properties of Spearmint oil resemble those of Peppermint, being stimulant, carminative and antispasmodic, but its effects are less powerful, and it is less used than Peppermint, though it is better adapted for children's maladies.



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. A cup of distilled water from spearmint is used to relieve hiccoughs, flatulence and indigestion. Infusion of spearmint is used in fevers, inflammatory conditions and all infantile troubles especially when sweetened.



Spearmint oil may aid the respiratory, nervous, and glandular systems. It is antispasmodic, aromatic, carminative, stimulant, anti-infectious, anti-parasitic, antiseptic, and anti-inflammatory. Its hormone-like activity may help open and release emotional blocks, and bring about a feeling of balance. It has been used to increase metabolism and burn fat and also soothes the muscle lining of the digestive tract. Spearmint is said to help the stomach and liver produce more enzymes to aid digestion.

Garden Mint is most useful to wash children's heads when the latter are inclined to sores, and Wild Mint, mixed with vinegar is an excellent wash to get rid of scurf.

The traditional use of this oil includes insect repellent, emollient, astringent, soothing agent & muscle relaxant. It is comfortable for the head and memory, and a decoction when used as a gargle, cures the mouth and gums, when sore

It is energizing to the mind and body and is commonly used in bath water for it's refreshing, cooling and gently vitalizing effect. Making a facial steam of spearmint oil in a pot of boiling water helps cleanse and refine pores.

Mint ottos have more power than any other aromatic to overcome the smell of tobacco.  

Culinary uses

They are very popular for flavouring cold soups, beverages and meats, 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 fibres of the immature meat more digestible. The volatile oil stimulates the digestive system and prevents septic changes within the intestines.

The fresh leaves of mint are used to flavour 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 purées, as well as on gravies. A grating of mint is introduced sometimes into a potato salad, or into a fowl stuffing

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, flavoured with sugar and chopped fresh mint and rolled out thin. 

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

Buy Herbs | Bulk Orders | Free Articles | Herbs Index