Wild Mint
Mentha arvensis
Other names: Field Mint, Corn Mint
Family: Lamiaceae, Mint
Genus: Mentha

Plant height: 20-80 cm tall.
Growth habit: perennial from creeping rhizomes.
Stems: ascending or erect, 4-sided, hairy with few to
numerous, short and backward, to longer and more
spreading hairs, often hairless between the angles.
Leaves: opposite, short-stalked, slightly reduced
upwards. The blade 2-8 cm long and 6-40 mm wide, rather
narrowly ovate or elliptic-ovate to more often somewhat
rhombic-elliptic, hairless or hairy, sharp-toothed, pointed,
with several pairs of lateral veins.
Flowers: funnel-shaped with 4 spreading lobes, white to
light purple or pink, 4-7 mm long, numerous in compact,
separate whorls, borne in the axils of the middle and upper
leaves. Calyx hairy, 2.5-3 mm long, with short, triangular,
pointed lobes.
Flowering time: July-September.
4 small, egg-shaped nutlets.

Moist places, especially along streams and shores, from
the lowlands to moderate elevations in the mountains, in
most parts of MT. Also from CA and NM to MO and VA.

Edible and Medicinal plant: see below.
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Edible Uses:
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.

Medicinal Uses:
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.

Other Uses:
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.

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