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Mentha Viridis. U. S. Spearmint. Menth. Vir.

Related entries: Oil of Spearmint - Peppermint - Mentha aquatica - Pennyroyal

"The dried leaves and flowering tops of Mentha spicata Linné (Mentha viridis Linné) (Fam. Labiatae)." U.S.

Herba Menthae Acutae (vel Romanae); Brown, Lamb, Garden, or Mackerel Mint; Menthe verte, Fr. Cod.; Menthe romaine, Baume vert, Menthe a epi, Fr.; Grüne Munze, Römische Minze, G.

Spearmint, sometimes called simply mint, differs from M. piperita chiefly in having sessile, or nearly sessile, oblong or ovate-lanceolate, unequally serrate leaves; elongated, interrupted, panicled spikes; setaceous bracts; and stamens longer than the tube of the corolla. It is a native of Europe and Asia, and naturalized in waste places from Nova Scotia and Ontario to Minnesota and Kansas in the West and Florida in the South United States. It is also cultivated for domestic use and for the sake of its oil. Its flowering season is August. Spearmint is officially described as "leaves more or less crumpled and mixed with a large proportion of the light brown or purplish-colored stems, occasionally with their characteristic opposite branches; stems distinctly quadrangular, from 1 to 3 mm. in width, nearly glabrous; leaves when entire ovate-lanceolate, unequally serrate, nearly sessile or with a petiole less than 5 mm. in length, of a bright green color and somewhat glandular-hairy on the under surface; flowers arranged in opposite clusters and in more or less interrupted or crowded lanceolate, nearly acute spikes; bracts linear-lanceolate, subulate, from 7 to 10 mm. in length, subtending the flower clusters; calyx tubular, 5-toothed, glandular punctate and somewhat pubescent near the teeth; corolla nearly white or light brown; stamens extending beyond the corolla tube; odor slightly pungent, characteristic; taste aromatic, characteristic but not followed by a cooling sensation in the mouth." U. S.

Spearmint was cultivated in the Convent gardens of the ninth century. It is largely used as a domestic and popular flavor in foods, chewing gum, and confectionery. The plant is widely cultivated, and Schimmel and Co. present a review of its cultivation in Michigan, Indiana and New York in their Schim. Rep., October, 1910, p. 131. Recently experiments have been conducted in Louisiana, and Phenis states the resulting oil to be of the highest grade. (Paint, Oil, and Drug Review, xlvi, p. 27.) Successful experiments have also been conducted in Wisconsin. (Ibid., xliv, p. 18.) Mitlacher has reported that Mentha crispa can be successfully grown in Austria. (Ph. Post, xliv, p. 215.)

Spearmint is sometimes admixed with peppermint. This is probably due to carelessness. The taste and odor of spearmint are retained for some time by the dried plant. They depend on a volatile oil. (See Oleum Menthae Viridis.)

Dose, one drachm (3.9 Gm.).

Off. Prep.—Spiritus Menthae Viridis, U. S.


The Dispensatory of the United States of America, 1918, was edited by Joseph P. Remington, Horatio C. Wood and others.



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