The scientific name for Apple Mint is Mentha Suaveolens.
Other names: Wooly Mint, Pineapple Mint
Apple Mint Herb is a member of the mint genus “Mentha” (Mentha suaveolens) that ranges through southern and western Europe and the western Mediterranean region. Apple mint known as the mint family but includes many of the other important aromatic cooking herbs, like basil, rosemary, sage, oregano, and catnip.
Apple mint is a perennial herb plant that grows tall and is sometimes called the woolly mint. This herb grows tall to a height of 40-100 cm and spread as broad foliage.
In early times, the Greeks used apple mint to clean their banqueting tables and also added it to their baths to rejuvenate their bodies.
How To Identify Apple Mint Herb
Height: This herb grows tall to a height of 40-100 cm and spread as broad foliage.
Leaves: Bright green in color. They are sessile, large and fuzzy. The shape is oblong to almost ovate. These leaves measure 3 to 5 cm long and 2 to 4 cm broad. They are hairy on the top and beneath and the margins are serrated.
Flowers: Light purple to pinkish in color and appears during mid to late summer. The flowers grow in a tapering spike and the whorls are distant.
Scent: the leaves when brushed give out a sweet scent that seems like a cross between spearmint and apples.
Flavor: They leaves have a slight fruity flavor.
Benefits And Nutrition of Apple Mint (Mentha Suaveolens)
The mint leaves contains nutrients like iron, potassium, calcium, vitamin A and C which replenish our body.
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 apple mint can be toxic in large doses.
The flowers can be used to make tea which if consumed promotes digestion, cures many ailments such as intestine problems, stomach pain and refreshes the mind.
Apple mint tea is an excellent choice for a headache or when stomach discomfort begins to spoil your day. Mints of all types also address feverish conditions effectively.
Researchers using essential oil of apple mint show promise for treating vaginal candidiasis. Mint contains a number of vitamins and minerals, which are vital to maintain a healthy body.
Mint is rich in vitamins A and C and also contains smaller amounts of vitamin B2. Vitamin C is an important antioxidant and may help to decrease the risk of certain cancers such as colon and rectal cancer. Mint has always been used medicinally to aid digestion and relieve indigestion.
Apple mint consumption in excess can lead to muscle ache, cramps, tremors, drowsiness, diarrhoea and slow heart rate.
The essential oil extracted from the leaves is used in aromatherapy to cure acne, colic, cramp, colds, flu, stress, shock, asthma and travel sickness.
Dangers: Take care when using mint essential oil. Observe the following guidelines:
- Never use mint oil undiluted, as it could provoke a bad reaction.
- Never use mint oil as a bath essence on its own.
- Never rub undiluted oil directly over the entire body.
- Don’t use mint oil at night as it could keep you awake.
- Avoid using mint remedies in conjunction with other homoeopathic remedies as mint acts as an antidote.
Consult a doctor prior to using any herb for medicinal purposes to avoid potentially harmful interactions with other medications.
Cooking With Apple Mint
Both Apple mint and Pineapple mint (Mentha suaveolens) have a pleasant, fruity taste, sweeter than other mints. Mainly popular for culinary purposes, its milder taste makes it ideal for use in fruit salads and fruit cups and punches. The leaves of the Apple mint or Pineapple mint plant can be used to make mint tea or mint jelly, in salads and added to beverages like lemonade and black tea. Apple mint can also be used to flavor syrups and ice cream. This herb has a very pleasant warm, sweet taste with a cool aftertaste and is very aromatic and makes an attractive garnish.
In Middle Eastern cuisine, mint is used on lamb dishes, while in British cuisine and American cuisine, mint sauce and mint jelly are used, respectively.
Tabouleh salad is made with mint and fresh parsley, while mint is prominently featured in another Middle Eastern salad called Fattoush. Traditionally, Touareg tea, (a popular tea in northern African and Arab countries) mint is added to the recipe.
Alcoholic drinks sometimes feature mint for flavor or garnish, such as the Mint Julep and the Mojito. Crème de menthe is a mint-flavored liqueur used in drinks such as the grasshopper.
Mint essential oil and menthol are extensively used as flavorings in breath fresheners, drinks, antiseptic mouth rinses, toothpaste, chewing gum, desserts, candies, and mint chocolate. The substances that give the mints their characteristic aromas and flavors are menthol (the main aroma of Peppermint and Japanese Peppermint) and pulegone (in Pennyroyal and Corsican Mint). The compound primarily responsible for the aroma and flavor of spearmint is R-carvone.
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. Menthol from mint essential oil (40%-90%) is an ingredient of many cosmetics and some perfumes. Menthol and mint essential oil are also much used in medicine as a component of many drugs, and are very popular in aromatherapy and used in some shampoo products. Mint essential oils are used widely in pharmaceuticals like toothpastes, mouthwashes, and massage cream.
Mint leaves are often used by many campers to repel mosquitoes and some believe that extracts from mint leaves have a particular mosquito-killing capability. Mint oil is also used as an environmentally-friendly insecticide for its ability to kill some common pests like wasps, hornets, ants and cockroaches. Mint plants planted near doorways help drive ants away and ants, mice and cockroaches dislike the smell of peppermint oil and will usually be deterred by Apple Mint Herb (Mentha Suaveolens).
Known in Greek Mythology as the herb of hospitality, one of the first known uses for mint in Europe was as a room deodorizer. The herb was strewn across floors to cover the smell of the hard-packed soil. Stepping on the mint helped to spread its scent through the room. Today, apple mint is more commonly used for aromatherapy through the use of essential oils.
Peppermint, spearmint, lemon balm and other members of the mint family have some of the most distinctive aromas in the plant world. Their pungent, spicy scents have earned the various mints a place in the traditional medicine cabinet since the time of the Romans. Today’s aromatherapists follow a long tradition of using mint for healing and emotional well-being. Practitioners still recommend that you massage your temples and forehead with peppermint oil to ease migraine. For a sinus headache, add eucalyptus oil and peppermint oil to steaming water and inhale the steam.
Side Effects and Cautions
Generally, apple mint does not result in toxicity. However, it has been found that when some plants belonging to this genus are taken in excessive amounts, particularly the essential oil extracted from the plants, it may lead to abortions. Hence, pregnant women should either avoid using apple mint or, if necessary for their condition, should use it very cautiously.