Apple mint is a sturdy plant with branching habit and broad, rather savoyed leaves, topped with pink or white flower spikes in summer. Strongly flavoured.
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.
Often cultivated as a pot herb, and used in salads.
It is said to be a good companion for cabbages and tomatoes, its aromatic leaves repelling insect pests, though its aggressive root system also needs to be taken into account here. The whole plant has a mint-like aroma.
The flowers are very attractive to bees and butterflies.
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.
A very easily grown plant, it 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 production of essential oils, but plants also succeed in partial shade.
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.
Leaves - raw or cooked as a potherb. Used as a flavouring in salads or cooked foods. The leaves have a similar flavour to spearmint, and are considered to be superior in flavour to that species but are also hairy, which makes them less suitable for garnishing. A herb tea is made from the leaves.