The leaves of wild mint are edible, raw or cooked. Having a quite strong minty flavor with a slight bitterness,
they are used as a flavoring in salads or cooked foods. A herb tea can be made from the fresh or dried
leaves. The North American tribes used the leaves to make tea or beverages, to spice pemmican and soups,
and to add flavor to certain meats in cooking. Plant parts were packed in alternate layers with dried
meat for storage. An essential oil from the plant is used as a flavoring in sweets and beverages. The
leaves contain about 0.2% essential oil.
Wild mint is often used as a domestic herbal remedy, being valued especially for its antiseptic properties
and its beneficial effect on the digestion. Like other members of the genus, it should not used by pregnant
women because large doses can cause an abortion. The whole plant is anaesthetic, antispasmodic, antiseptic,
aromatic, and has agents that counteract inflammation, that relieve and remove gas from the digestive
system, induce sweating, promote or assist the flow of menstrual fluid, promote secretion of milk, relieve
fever and thirst, give strength and tone to the stomach, and is a stimulant.
North American Indians made a cold infusion of the plant as a lotion for fever and influensa. A compound
infusion was taken and poultice was applied to the chest for pneumonia. A decoction of plant parts was
taken for stomach pain, colds, swellings, headaches, diarrhea, and fevers. Dried leaves were chewed and
swallowed for chest pains and heart ailments. Fresh leaves were put in the nostrils for colds. An infusion
of leaves and stems was taken for vomiting, colds, pains, swellings, fevers, headaches, to prevent influensa,
for stomach troubles. and indigestion. Leaves were used for carious teeth and in the sweatbath for rheumatism.
A poultice of crushed leaves was applied to swellings, to the gums for toothaches, to areas of pain and
swellings, for rheumatism and arthritis, and for eye trouble.
The plant is used as an insect repellent. Rats and mice intensely dislike the smell of mint. The plant
was therefore used in homes as a strewing herb and has also been spread in granaries to keep the rodents
off the grain. The leaves also repel various insects. Native people used leaves and stems as perfume to
deodorize houses. Leaves were powdered and sprinkled on meat and berries as a bug repellant. Plants were
boiled with traps to deodorize them so that the smell of blood would not deter animals. Plants were boiled
with traps to destroy the human scent. An essential oil is obtained from the plant. The yield from the
leaves is about 0.8%. The sub-species M. arvensis piperascens produces the best oil, which can be used
as a substitute for, or adulterant of, peppermint oil.