Scientific name: Mentha spicata

Nearly as popular as peppermint, spearmint is considered the oldest of the mint family, other types being the offspring of it. It doesn’t stand out in the garden, but offers great value to your kitchen and medicine cabinet. Especially for kids, spearmint is less strong and a little sweeter than peppermint.

Nutrientsmint

  • Essential oils (menthol)
  • Vitamin A, B6, C
  • Potassium
  • Iron
  • Calcium
  • Maganese
  • Flavonoids
  • Tannins

Health Benefits

  • Aids with fever
  • Digestive aid
  • Mild stimulant but also has relaxing properties
  • Strengthens the nervous system
  • Mild local anesthetic properties (the essential oil)
  • Helps relieve itching, hives, dermatitis, etc (an infused lotion)
  • Mildly anti-androgenic: can help reduce unwanted hairs for women

Cooking Tips

Spearmint is used in many things from toothpaste, mouthwash, tea, soda, etc. It can also be used in salads, cold soups, fruit dishes, and desserts.

CAUTION

In small doses, spearmint tea can be used during pregnancy, but it’s always good to consult a doctor before doing so on a regular basis.

Quick Remedies

(consult a doctor if experiencing any serious conditions)

  • Fever: especially for kids, mix spearmint with catnip into a tea
  • ADHD, hyper/anxious kids: mix spearmint with lemon balm into a tea
  • Digestive aid: before or after dinner mix a strong spearmint tea with sparkling water and some berries

How to Grow

Planting

Where do you live?

Spearmint grows best in zones 4-9 as a perennial.

Put em in the ground

It is best to start a plant from cuttings rather than seed because not only will it start much easier, but the plant started by seed will not be as potent as the parent plant.

  • Rich, very moist soil
  • Partial shade
  • Works well planted in a pot

Care

  • Keep your different mint plants separate from each other to maintain the best flavors.

Harvest

  • Similar to peppermint, harvest as needed throughout the growing season.
  • Harvest leaves just before flowering for the best flavor.
  • The flower can be used as well, especially if distilling essential oils.