Herb: Apple Mint


Latin name: Mentha x villosa alopecuroides


Synonyms: Mentha x rotundifolia


Family: Labiatae



Medicinal use of Apple Mint:

Apple mint, like many other members of this genus, 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 is best not used by pregnant women because large doses can cause an abortion. A tea made from the leaves of most mint species has traditionally been used in the treatment of fevers, headaches, digestive disorders and various minor ailments. The leaves are harvested as the plant comes into flower and can be dried for later use. The essential oil in the leaves is antiseptic, though it is toxic in large doses.

Description of the plant:



Plant:
Perennial


Height:
60 cm
(2 feet)

Flovering:
August to
September


Scent:
Scented
Perennial

Habitat of the herb:

Roadsides and in ditches in the S. and W. of England. Probably a hybrid, M. spicata x M. suaveolens.

Edible parts of Apple Mint:

Leaves - raw or cooked. A strong spearmint flavour, they are used as a flavouring in salads or cooked foods, this is also the main species that is used to make mint sauce. A herb tea is made from the fresh or dried leaves.

Other uses of the herb:

An essential oil is obtained from the whole plant. The plant repels insects and was formerly used as a strewing herb. 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.

Propagation of Apple Mint:

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.

Cultivation of the herb:

Roadsides and in ditches in the S. and W. of England. Probably a hybrid, M. spicata x M. suaveolens.

Known hazards of Mentha x villosa alopecuroides:

Although no records of toxicity have been seen for this species, large quantities of some members of this genus, especially when taken in the form of the extracted essential oil, can cause abortions so some caution is advised.

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.