Scientific name: Menta x pipperita
M. piperita is a perennial plant, with highly branched stems, between 30 and 70 cm in height with a square section, which is born from an underground rhizome from which an extensive root system sprouts. The leaves are petiolate, opposite, oval, between 4 and 9 cm long and 2 and 4 cm wide, with a sharp apex and jagged margins, with a dark green finely ribbed bundle of red in a pinnate pattern. Both leaves and stems are usually slightly hairy.
The flower stems sprout from the leaf axils in which terminal spike-shaped inflorescences appear since early summer, with the flowers arranged in whorls on the flower axis. They are small, up to 8 mm, with the tetralobed corolla, purple or pink.
Peppermint is consumed as an infused drink. It is used as an aromatic herb. It is the most widely used aroma for candy, chewing gum, ice cream and other mint-flavored pastry preparations. It is also used to dress salads, soups, game and lamb meats; In English gastronomy, the mint sauce, made with fresh leaves, vinegar, sugar and a gelling agent, occupies a prominent place. In Ibiza it is used in the making of flaó, a solid cake of fresh pecorino cheese, eggs, cinnamon and pieces of mint.
Mint-based liqueurs are also numerous.
Essential oil: menthol, neomenthol, isomenthol, neoisomentol, piperitols, piperitenol, isopiperitenol.
Monoterpenones: chin (20-30%), isomentone, neomentone, neoisomentone, piperitone, piperitonone, isopiperitonone, pulegone.
Flavonoids with lipophilic, or methylated, aglycons: Diosmoside, Diosmetoside, Eriocytroside, Luteolol 7 Rutoside, Hesperidoside. Resin.
Phenyl carboxylic acids: rosmarinic, chlorogenic and caffeic.
Triterpenes: ursolic and oleanolic acids.
The essential oil and flavonoids exert antiflatulent, antiemetic, spasmolytic, antipruritic, choleretic, cholagogue and analgesic effects on mucosa. In topical application the essential oil blocks calcium channels, relaxing the muscles, so it relieves headaches if applied to the temples. Tannins are strong astringent.
In traditional medicine it is used as an infusion for digestive or liver disorders, as it helps digestion, as an antiemetic and stimulant, and as an antispasmodic in the case of muscular pain or systemic cramps. The oil has a variety of uses: it is applied topically to the nostrils to relieve sinusitis, to the temples for headaches, to the chest, or to inhalations for coughs or severe colds, topically to relieve pain caused by cavities. , in compresses for insect bites or other skin irritations.
Menthol sensitivity is not uncommon, and in case of suffering from it, the infusion and peppermint oil can cause insomnia, irritability and bronchospasm.
The essential oil should not be administered to children under 2 years of age or during lactation or pregnancy.