Mentha × piperita
Mentha × balsamea Willd.
Mentha × banatica Heinr.Braun
Mentha × concinna Pérard
Mentha × crispula Wender.
Mentha × durandoana Malinv. ex Batt.
Mentha × exaltata Heinr.Braun
Mentha × fraseri Druce
Mentha × glabrata Vahl
Mentha × heuffelii Heinr.Braun
Mentha × hircina Hull
Mentha × hircina J.Fraser
Mentha × hortensis Ten.
Mentha × hudsoniana Heinr.Braun
Mentha × kahirina Forssk.
Mentha × langii Geiger ex T.Nees
Mentha × napolitana Ten.
Mentha × nigricans Mill.
Mentha × odora Salisb.
Mentha × officinalis Hull
Mentha × pimentum Nees ex Bluff & Fingerh.
Mentha × piperita officinalis Sole
Mentha × schultzii Boutigny ex F.W.Schultz
Mentha × tenuis Frank ex Benth.
Mentha hortensis citrata Ten.
Common Name: Peppermint
Mentha x piperita is a perennial plant growing from a spreading, rhizomatous rootstock. It produces a cluster of stems that can grow up to 45cm tall.
Peppermint arose in cultivation, probably in 17th Century England, as the result of a cross between Mentha aquatica and Mentha spicata. It has been in cultivation since then and has become a major domestic herbal remedy and source of essential oils for flavouring, perfumery etc .The plant is often cultivated, both on a garden and a commercial scale, and is also harvested from the wild for local use as a food, medicine and source of materials[
In large quantities this plant, especially in the form of the extracted essential oil, can cause abortions so should not be used by pregnant women.
Eurasia - Britain to France, east to Ukraine, the Caucasus and Iran
A natural hybrid, Mentha aquatica x Mentha spicata, widespread as a garden escape and also naturalized, being found in moist soils in ditches, waste places etc[
|Pollinators||Bees, Lepidoptera, Insects
|Cultivation Status||Cultivated, Wild
Mentha x piperita is a very cold-hardy plant, able to tolerate temperatures down to around -35°c when fully dormant
Succeeds in most soils and situations so long as the soil is not too dry[
]. Grows well in heavy clay soils. A sunny position is best for the production of essential oils, but plants also succeed in partial shade. Prefers a slightly acid soil[
A commonly grown herb[
], it is often cultivated commercially for its essential oil[
]. The black form of peppermint is said to produce a superior essential oil, making it the preferred choice as a food flavouring and for medicinal purposes. The oil is of better quality when the plant is grown on dry soils[
Most mints have fairly aggressive spreading roots and, unless you have the space to let them roam, they need to be restrained by some means such as planting them in containers that are buried in the soil[
Hybridizes freely with other members of this genus.
Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer[
Leaves - raw or cooked. A strong peppermint flavour, they are used as a flavouring in salads or cooked foods[
]. This plant should not be used by pregnant women, see the notes above on toxicity.
An essential oil from the leaves and flowers is used as a flavouring in sweets, chewing gum, ice cream etc[
A herb tea is made from the fresh or dried leaves[
Peppermint is a very important and commonly used herbal remedy, being employed by allopathic doctors as well as herbalists[
]. It is also widely used as a domestic remedy. This cultivar is considered to be stronger acting than white peppermint (Mentha x piperita officinalis). A tea made from the leaves has traditionally been used in the treatment of fevers, headaches, digestive disorders (especially flatulence) and various minor ailments[
The herb is abortifacient, anodyne, antiseptic, antispasmodic, carminative, cholagogue, diaphoretic, refrigerant, stomachic, tonic and vasodilator[
]. An infusion is used in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome, digestive problems, spastic colon etc[
]. Externally a lotion is applied to the skin to relieve pain and reduce sensitivity[
]. The leaves and stems can be used fresh or dried, they are harvested for drying in August as the flowers start to open[
The essential oil in the leaves is antiseptic and strongly antibacterial, though it is toxic in large doses[
]. When diluted it can be used as an inhalant and chest rub for respiratory infections[
The essential oil is used in aromatherapy. Its keyword is 'Cooling'[
Mint species are usually good bee and butterfly attractant plants, supplying them with good quality pollen and nectar[
Mints are usually quite aromatic plants and they make good companions for cabbages and tomatoes, their aromatic nature helping to repel insect pests..
An essential oil is obtained from the whole plant. It is used medicinally and as a food flavouring[
].. It is also an ingredient of oral hygiene preparations, toiletries etc[
The essential oil is used as an ingredient in commercial cosmetic preparations as a perfume, masking agent and refreshing tonic[
The leaf juice is used as an ingredient in commercial cosmetic preparations as a skin conditioner[
An extract of the whole plant is used as an ingredient in commercial cosmetic preparations as a cleanser, deodorant, masking agent and refreshing tonic[
Peppermint leaves are used as an ingredient of pot-pourri[
]. They were formerly used as a strewing herb[
The plant repels insects, rats etc[
]. 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[
Seed - sow spring in a cold frame. Germination is usually fairly quick. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and plant them out in the summer. Mentha species are very prone to hybridisation and so the seed cannot be relied on to breed true. Even without hybridisation, seedlings will not be uniform and so the content of medicinal oils etc will vary. When growing plants with a particular aroma it is best to propagate them by division[
Division can be easily carried out at almost any time of the year, though it is probably best done in the spring or autumn to allow the plant to establish more quickly. Virtually any part of the root is capable of growing into a new plant. Larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. However, for maximum increase it is possible to divide the roots up into sections no more than 3cm long and pot these up in light shade in a cold frame. They will quickly become established and can be planted out in the summer.