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Mentha arvensis

Mentha arvensis is a perennial plant belonging to the Mentha genus. This mint plant is found in various parts of Europe, Asia and North America. Its common names include Field Mint, Wild Mint or Corn Mint; however, it is better known by its scientific name Mentha arvensis.
 The leaves of this herbal plant have a fresh minty flavor and are used for culinary and medicinal purposes. The essential oil extracted from the leaves also has many uses.
 
History of Mentha arvensis
 
These herbal plants have been used by humans for approximately 2000 years. It is believed that these plants were first cultivated in Europe during ancient times. However, Japan started cultivating these mint plants for commercial purposes in the late nineteenth century. Countries like China and Japan used them for various medicinal purposes. Later they were introduced to India where they are still known as Pudina.
 
Mentha arvensis Description
 
These herbaceous plants have a strong minty fragrance.
 
Height: The height of different sub species of this species varies from 10 cm to 60 cm.
 
Leaves: The green, simple leaves of Mentha arvensis have toothed edges and grow somewhere between 2 cm and 6.5 cm in length and 1 cm and 2 cm in breadth. They grow in opposite pairs. The leaves of each pair grow in opposite directions from each other.
 
Flowers: The flowers are pale purple; however, white or pink flowers can also be seen in some subspecies. They grow in clusters with each flower being an average 3-4 mm in size.
 
Stem: The color of the hairy stem varies from brownish- green to green.

Mentha arvensis Picture
 
Picture 1 - Mentha arvensis
 
Varieties of Mentha arvensis
 
There are six recognized varieties or subspecies of these plants:

 
Mentha arvensis arvensis
 
Mentha arvensis agrestis
 
Mentha arvensis austriaca
 
Mentha arvensis lapponica
 
Mentha arvensis palustris
 
Mentha arvensis parietariifolia

 
Mentha arvensis Distribution
 
These plants are native to the temperate regions of western and central Asia and Europe. They are also found in the eastern regions of Himalaya, various regions of North America and Eastern Siberia. These plants grow well at riverbanks, edges of marshes and moist prairies.
 
Mentha arvensis Cultivation
 
It is quite easy to grow these plants from seeds. These seeds can be sown during fall; however, one can also sow them in spring after refrigerating them for 2 to 3 months.
 
Growing Condition
 
Soil: moist organic soils are ideal for them. The pH or acidity level of the soil should be somewhere between 5.7 and 6.5.
 
Water: These plants need regular watering in order to grow properly.
 
Sunlight: Plenty of sunlight is ideal for their proper growth.
 
Temperature: These plants can survive in cold weathers up to -15 °C.
 
Harvesting
The leaves are harvested between May and August. It is important to harvest only the well matured leaves as the half-mature ones do not have the fine mint aroma. Flowers bloom anytime between early and mid summer.
 
Mentha arvensis Oil
 
Oil is extracted from the leaves of the Field Mint or Pudina plants using the steam distillation process. The pale yellow essential oil has a bitter-sweet minty aroma. The principal constituents of this oil include Camphene, Menthol, Menthone, Neomenthol, l-menthol, Pinene and Limonene. This oil is used for various medicinal purposes; however, it is not use in homeopathic treatments.

 

 
Health Benefits of Mentha arvensis
 
Many health benefits can be derived from the Field Mint plants and their essential oil.

- The Mint leaves can work as blood cleanser with their antibacterial and antiseptic properties.
 
- It can alleviate mouth ulcers, toothache and swollen gum.
 
- Fresh leaves can cure headache and dizziness.
 
- Mint leaves can relief arthritis and joint pains.
 
- The leaf infusion helps in curing health disorders like dysmenorrheal, stomachache and diuresis.
 
- These plants have antispasmodic and anesthetic properties.
 
- Having expectorant properties makes it beneficial for cough, cold, sore throat and fever.
 
- The oil extraction of these plants cures various skin problems like acne, ulcer and boils.

- The oil is beneficial for the nervous system.
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