Sunday, May 10, 2015

Spearmint Ingredient Spotlight

Spearmint, Mentha spicata, is a herbaceous perennial herb. The name 'spear' gives a clue to its pointed leave tips. It grows by spreading rhizomally. It can spread rapidly when it has plenty of water and sunshine.  For this reason, it and other mints are best grown in containers. Because it is a water-loving herb, be sure to have a catch pan for water underneath the pot. Did you know peppermint is actually a hybrid of spearmint? Spearmint crossed with Mentha aquarica, gives the hybrid Mentha x spicata, or peppermint. Keep spearmint growing in your garden for the flowers which are attractive to beneficial insects.

Spearmint makes a refreshing herbal tea.  It is an ingredient in Mint Julep and Mojitos. The tea can help settle upset stomachs. Mint tea is an herb suggested by Juliette Levy for digestive distress in her Herbal books for Dogs and Cats. Try this mint yogurt dip by Jamie Oliver here.  Chew on fresh spearmint for freshening your breath.

Spearmint essential oil is extracted by steam distillation of the leaves and stems. The scent is uplifting, stimulating and refreshing. It is somewhat more delicate in scent compared to peppermint essential oil, which has a higher menthol content.  We like using Spearmint essential oil in many of our soaps, shampoo bars, and our Spearmint deodorant. We also have spearmint as a scent option in our herbal pillows
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