Field mint.

Botanical name: 

Newsgroups: bionet.plants
Subject: Re: Weeds _ Mentha arvensis (field mint)
From: (Michael Moore)
Date: 29 Oct 1995 05:24:16 GMT

> Any information on field mint and/or its phenology would be greatly appreciated.

Jim Duke's database at (somewhere in that area) has and exhaustive (and exhausting) rundown on M. arvensis.

One of the reasons why the low and high levels are so variable (since the information is compiled from varying sources) is that some tests were made on DRY plant material, some on fresh plant material (with 90-92% water, but with some aromatics HIGHER when fresh, some LOWER when fresh, and some actually being "artifacts" of drying) and some tests were made using the essential oil...also variable since it may have been produced by condensation temperatures normally applied to Peppermint or Spearmint, there being no "standards" for M. arvensis, and the several methods of distillation ALL producing (or creating) different results.

Further, M. arvensis is an astoundingly variable taxon, with major morphologic variations and (obviously) major constituent variations in virtually every watershed in North America. Somewhere out there is a rumpled, bleary eyed and half-mad chemotaxonomist, trying to finish a doctorate on the chemical races of this plant...a plant even worse than Basil or Tansy to work with.

As an herbalist, my major concern is the balance between the "Pulegone" group and the "Menthol/Piperitone" group, since they have substantially varied physiologic effects. I do this very simply: I crush and smell the leaves in the lush center of a stand in full maturity (usually higher in the menthol group), and smell the leaves of peripheral, more solitary plants (usually with a great deal of lateral branching) that have the highest pulegone fractions. These peripheral plants are usally higher in carvone as well. If the peripheral are stronger in the carvone (Spearmint) scent than the pulegone (Pennyroyal) scent I gather them for tea. Conversely, being rather higher in rosmarinic acids than Melissa officinalis (Lemon Balm), I use those with the stronger Pennyroyal scent as a substitute for Melissa in European protocols for treating herpes simplex lesions.

If I HAD to wade through all the constituents (and all the damn variables), I might as well be an academic, and give up my generalist gadfly license!

Major aromatics

               (ppm)  low   high
(+)-OCTAN-3-ONE    Leaf     9000  27000
(+)-PULEGONE       Plant          25455
(-)-MENTHOL        Leaf       66  25650
(-)-MENTHONE       Leaf      250  25680
CARVONE            Leaf     8100  26000
L-MENTHOL          Plant     373  29515
MENTHOL            Leaf     1000  24385
ROSMARINIC-ACID    Plant          28000
MENTHONE           Plant      71  24000
PULEGONE           Plant     100  24960
MENTHOFURAN        Plant    4200  12600
OCTAN-3-OL         Leaf        0  10200
(-)-PIPERITONE     Leaf      240   7700
PIPERITENONE-OXIDE Leaf      260   7320
(+)-ISOMENTHONE    Leaf      240   7062
PIPERITONE-OXIDE   Leaf      320   5135
L-MENTHYL-ACETATE  Plant      85   4200


                                     (ppm)  low   high
(+)-8-ACETOXY-CARVONE    Essential Oil
(+)-CARVONE              Essential Oil
(+)-MENTHOFURAN          Leaf                              32
(+)-NEOMENTHOL           Leaf                       20    580
(+)-PIPERITONE           Leaf                       90    290
(-)-CARVONE              Essential Oil
(-)-LIMONENE             Leaf
(-)-MENTHOL-ACETATE      Leaf                       10     32
1,8-CINEOLE              Leaf
1-P-MENTHEN-3-ONE        Plant
3-(5',5'-DIMETHYL-TETRAHYDROFURAN-2'-YL)-BUT-CIS-2-EN-1-OL                  Plant                            1.4
3-METHYLPENTANOL         Plant
4',5,7-TRIHYDROXY-FLAVONE-O-BETA-D-GLUCOSIDE                  Shoot
ACETIC-ACID              Plant
ACETYLMENTHOL            Plant
ALPHA-PINENE             Plant                      10    300
ALPHA-THUJENE            Plant
ANISALDEHYDE             Shoot
BETA-CAR-3-ENE           Essential Oil
BETA-PINENE              Plant                      10   1445
CALCIUM                  Plant                          13500
CAMPHENE                 Plant
CAPROIC-ACID             Plant
CARVOMENTHONE            Plant
CARYOPHYLLENE            Plant
CHLOROPHYLL-A            Tissue Culture
CHLOROPHYLL-B            Tissue Culture
CINEOLE                  Leaf                       40   1785
CIS-OCIMENE              Essential Oil
COPPER                   Plant                             20
D-3-OCTANOL              Plant
DL-ISOMENTHONE           Plant
EUGENOL                  Essential Oil
FORMIC-ACID              Plant
FURFURAL                 Plant                       2      5
GAMMA-TERPINENE          Essential Oil
GERMACRENE-D             Essential Oil
HESPERIDIN               Plant
IRON                     Plant                            400
ISOMENTHOL               Essential Oil
ISOPULEGOL               Essential Oil
ISOPULEGONE              Leaf                      240    770
ISOVALERIC-ACID          Plant                      30     90
KETONES                  Plant                     336   1008
LIMONENE                 Leaf                       20   3520
LINALOOL                 Leaf
LINALOOL-ACETATE         Leaf                      690   2215
LUTEOLIN                 Shoot
MAGNESIUM                Plant                           2830
MANGANESE                Plant                             44
MENTHOL-ACETATE          Leaf                       60   2215
MENTHONONE               Plant
MYRCENE                  Leaf                       10   2485
NEOISOMENTHOL            Essential Oil
NEOISOPULEGONE           Essential Oil
P-CYMENE                 Leaf                        9     29
P-CYMOL                  Leaf                      562   1800
PIPERITENONE             Plant
PIPERITONE               Leaf                       13   1285
POTASSIUM                Plant                          35100
RAFFINOSE                Plant
RESIN                    Plant
ROSMARINIC-ACID          Leaf                       71    228
SABINENE-HYDRATE         Leaf                       30    160
SANTENE                  Plant
SODIUM                   Plant                            860
STACHYOSE                Plant
TANNIN                   Plant
THUJONE                  Plant
TRANS-OCIMENE            Essential Oil
ZINC                     Plant

(pant, pant)

The tea gathered from the first type of locality is perhaps the single most delicious mint tea I have ever encountered...and rivals M. citrata as the best tasting mint for Mint Juleps.