Herb: Lesser Calamint


Latin name: Calamintha nepeta


Synonyms: Satureja nepeta


Family: Labiatae



Medicinal use of Lesser Calamint:

Lesser calamint was commonly used as a medicinal herb in medieval times, though is little used by modern herbalists. It is sometimes cultivated as a medicinal herb for household use. The whole plant is aromatic, diaphoretic, expectorant, febrifuge and stomachic. The leaves are harvested in July as the plant comes into flower and are dried for later use. An infusion is beneficial in cases of flatulent colic and weaknesses of the stomach, it is also used to treat depression, insomnia and painful menstruation. It should not be prescribed for pregnant women since in excess it can cause a miscarriage.

Description of the plant:



Plant:
Perennial


Height:
60 cm
(2 feet)

Flovering:
July to
September

Habitat of the herb:

Dry banks, usually on calcareous soils.

Edible parts of Lesser Calamint:

The leaves have a strong pennyroyal-like fragrance and are more pungent than calamint (C. sylvatica). They can be used as a flavouring. A sweet and aromatic herb tea is made from the leaves.

Propagation of the herb:

Seed - sow spring in a greenhouse and only just cover the seed. It usually germinates in 2 weeks at 21C. Prick out the seedlings when they are large enough to handle and, if they grow sufficiently, plant them out into their permanent positions in the summer otherwise wait until the following spring. Division in spring. Very easy, larger clumps can be planted direct into their permanent positions. It is best to pot up smaller clumps and grow them on in a cold frame until they are well rooted before planting them out in the summer. Basal cuttings in May or June. They should be rooted in a sandy compost. Harvest the shoots when they are about 10 - 15cm long with plenty of underground stem. Pot them up into individual pots and keep them in light shade in a cold frame or greenhouse until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the summer.

Cultivation of Lesser Calamint:

Dry banks, usually on calcareous soils.

Known hazards of Calamintha nepeta:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.