SPEARMINT, Mentha spicata
One of the most common herbs that almost everyone knows about is spearmint. Lots of people know where a wild patch of it is growing; yet, very folks take the time to pick it and use it. I am reminded of a young father who had a brand new son. He was real proud of his young son, only whenever he tried to show him off, the little guy was always crying. The crying got worse and disrupted the sleep of almost everyone in the house.
One day, the parents were given spearmint stalks by an older lady. They were told that they should strip the leaves off the stalks and make a tea out of the leaf and the blossoms and give this tea to their young son. She told them where there was a nice patch of this and that they should pick some and give it to the whole family as a nervine to calm everyone down. At first, the young father told his wife that there was no way he would allow anyone to feed weeds to their son.
After a couple more days of crying, the mother fixed the baby some tea. When the father saw how it helped the baby, he went and picked some for the whole family.
The history of spearmint goes back as far as the pyramids of Egypt. Some of the Pharaohs had buried spearmint with them so they would have a sweet smell and good digestion on their journey. During their games and tournaments, some Greeks and Romans would crown themselves with spearmint as a token of good fortune. They would also decorate their banquet tables with it, cook with it and flavor sauces and wines with it. However, the greatest use of the herb was by Greek physician for medicinal reasons. They used it in many of their healing practices.
Spearmint is about the most common of all the mint herbs. Most everyone knows what spearmint smells like. The plant grows to a height of about two feet. The leaf is narrow, deeply grooved along the veins, serrated on the edges and is very long and pointed. That’s where the name comes from, because the leaf is shaped like the head of a spear. The stem is square and the leaves are 1 to 2 inches long and an inch wide. They grow opposite each other in pairs. The flowers, which are pale blue, grow in whorls around a long, thin spike on the top of the plant.
Spearmint is one of the milder mints. It is excellent for babies with colic. It is a gentle diaphoretic that will promote sweating. Spearmint tea is very soothing and quieting to a nervous stomach. It will help to settle and soothe nerves when they are frayed. It will help to those trips to the bathroom at night. Spearmint has diuretic properties and is beneficial to the kidneys. It will help get rid of gas on the stomach for both the old and the young. Spearmint oil and peppermint oil combined together can be rubbed on the chest to relive bronchial asthma. Spearmint is used in Grandma’s herbal Night Nervine formula.
A woman who had morning sickness and could not stop vomiting was given a cup of spearmint tea with a little ginger, cloves and cinnamon in it. This mixture settled her stomach and she was not bothered much more with morning sickness.
Jethro Kloss, in his book Back to Eden has this to say about spearmint: “A highly esteemed remedy for colic, gas in the stomach and bowels, dyspepsia, spasms, dropsy, and is very useful in nausea and vomiting, also for gravel in the bladder. Will relieve suppressed, painful, or scalding urine. Excellent for local application for piles (hemorrhoids). Inject a small amount into the rectum for piles. Good for inflammation of the kidneys and bladder. Excellent to stop vomiting in pregnancy.” Spearmint is very soothing and quieting to the nerves. Never boil. No home should be without this excellent remedy.