Mint | What's that?
Scientific name: Mentha aquatica L.
Family: Mint family (Lamiaceae)
Origin: Europe and North Africa
Botany: As a marsh plant, water mint prefers to grow in moist places like riverbanks. This hardy perennial grows to between 15 and 90 cm.
Flowering season: July to October
Parts of the plant used: Leaves, tops
What makes this plant so special
Water mint is a milder relative of peppermint. It has a similar appearance and similar aromatic scent. It has a slightly milder flavour, however, which is why is it preferred over the more robust peppermint in some herbal teas. Unlike other varieties of mint, water mint grows in shallow water or marshy areas.
Water mint was one of the sacred herbs used by druids. In the Middle Ages, water mint was used, among other things, to alleviate a stitch. Nowadays, it is most commonly used in tea. For external use, an infusion of water mint can also be used to make refreshing baths, rinses and compresses. Freshly crushed water mint leaves can also be used to treat insect bites, as they have a cooling and numbing effect.
The leaves contain a menthol-rich essential oil that has a pleasantly cooling and refreshing effect when applied externally.