Part of Plant Used



Leaves

Processing



Whole fresh or dried or powdered, essential oil

Origin



United States

Active Ingredients



Volatile oil, Flavonoid thymonin, Caffeic acid, Rosmarinic acid, Carvone, and Limonene.
Spearmint is a member of the mint family that is widely distributed throughout North America, Europe, Asia and Africa. Our domestic spearmint is a hybrid of uncertain origin, but with a naturalized range that includes the U.S.

​The dried leaf is commonly used in Asian and Middle Eastern cuisines. The herb is also tinctured or used to make syrup.

Background:
​Both peppermint and spearmint figure prominently in US agricultural heritage. Spearmint, native to the Mediterranean region arrived to America during the Colonial period.












So significant is the plant in the US that there is an established Mint Industry
​Research Council.

In Greek mythology the goddess Persephone, jealous of Pluto's love for the nymph
​Minthe, transformed Minthe into the spearmint plant. Pluto, unable to return the
lovely nymph to her original form, ensured her that, at least, her fragrance would
be enjoyed by all as a pleasant aroma, arising each time it was walked upon.

It is considered to be a bee herb. Mythological gods maintained special fields of
​mint just for bees to enjoy in their prolific honeymaking.

Mints served as a form of currency in antiquity. Tables were scrubbed with fresh leaves in preparation for feasts. The naturalist Pliny (1 AD) had his students wrap their heads with mint braids to bring delight to the soul, improve the mind, and enhance scholarship. Aristotle prohibited soldiers' use of mint before battles, believing it would diminish their aggressiveness.  

​In the Middle Ages it said to have mystical powers and was used to dispel the evil eye.In the Middle Ages it was commonly included in what were called strewing herbs, scattered about the floors of dwellings for its delicious fragrance, it also discouraged rodent infestations. Sprigs












were kept with stored grains to repel rodents. It was used as a cleansing tonic and to help purify drinking water that had turned stale.

​Steam vapor of infused mint has been used to freshen the air in hospitals. Mints were used to scent bath water.

​Mint, untaxed by the English government, became a popular tea substitute during the American Revolution. Spearmint then became a significant cash crop in Connecticut. Its popularity returned during the American Civil War when imported black tea was virtually unavailable.

​Each year approximately 3 million pounds of spearmint are grown in the US, 70 % of the world's mint supply. In 13,000 sticks of chewing gum there is one pound of mint oil. About half of all spearmint oil is used to flavor gum, 45 % is used in dentifrices. The remaining 10 % goes into confections, liqueurs and other goods. The ideal location for growing mint was noted to be north of the 45th parallel. Washington and Oregon lead in US mint-production. 

Description:
​Spearmint is a creeping-rooted, herbaceous plant with erect, branching, quadrangular, smooth stems, growing to 2 ft. high. Leaves are subsessile, ovate-lanceolate, unequally serrated, and smooth; Leaves beneath flowers are bract-like, longer than the whorls; these leaves and calyces are hairy or smooth. Flowers are light-purplish of 4-lobed corolla and four rather long stamens, formed in cylindrical. spikes and are loose. Whorls approximated, or the lowest or all of them distant; peduncles smooth, round, and shining. Calyx is bell-shaped and 5-toothed. Corolla funnel-shaped.odor aromatic; taste pungent.

​Safety: There is no known negative safety information available.

Spearmint - United States

​​Mentha spicata