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Mentha Piperita x, Peppermint

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Often grown in the herb garden and also commercially for its essential oil. The whole plant has a pleasant aroma of peppermint. Peppermint is a fast growing plant once it sprouts, it spreads very quickly.

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.

The flowers are very attractive to bees and butterflies. A good companion for growing near cabbages and tomatoes, helping to keep them free of insect pests. Produces a better quality essential oil if the plant is grown in dry ground.

White peppermint is a very important and commonly used remedy, being employed by allopathic doctors as well as herbalists.

An essential oil obtained from the whole plant is used in perfumery. It is also an ingredient of oral hygiene preparations, toiletries etc.

Peppermint leaves are used as an ingredient of pot-pourri. They were formerly used as a strewing herb.

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 the plant also succeeds in partial shade. Prefers a slightly acid soil.

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.

Edible use

Leaves - raw or cooked. A mild peppermint flavour, they are used as a flavouring in salads or cooked foods. 

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.

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.

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