Mint. Peppermint leaves. Peppermint oil
Specification & Spread
Peppermint leaves — folia menthae piperitae
Mint oil – oleum menthae piperitae
Peppermint — mentha piperita l.
Labiate family — lamiaceae (labiatae)
Other names: common mint, spearmint, pimentary.
It is a perennial herbaceous rhizome plant.
The stems are erect, branched, tetrahedral, 30-100 cm tall.
The leaves are opposite, oblong-ovate, large, up to 8 cm long, about 3 cm wide, with an acuminate top and slightly heart-shaped base, short-petiolate, with an unevenly serrate edge, dark green colour.
The flowers are gathered in the inflorescence - spike thrushes.
The calyx is five-toothed, almost regular, a four-bladed corolla (not twisted), pinkish or pale purple.
The fruit - cenobium, disintegrating into 4 dark brown lobes (erema), enclosed in a cup.
Smell. The whole plant has a pleasant, «mint» smell.
It blooms in July - September.
The fruit rarely forms, as it is a hybrid.
Spreading. The plant is not found in the wild; it is a hybrid of water mint and spearmint mint (M. aquatica L. × M. spicata Gilib.). It is introduced into culture at the beginning of the XVIII century. It is a leading crop of predominantly southern farms in Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, in Russia - in the Voronezh Region and the Krasnodar Territory. Two forms of mint are cultivated: black and white. The menthol content in them reaches 60-70%.
Habitat. It is cultivated on developed, fertile lowland wetlands. It is propagated exclusively vegetatively, the pieces of rhizomes or rooted young shoots with a length of 20-40 cm, less often - seedlings. At one place grow a plant no more than 3 years. The cultivation is almost entirely mechanized.
The chemical composition of peppermint leaves
It is found in the leaves
- ursolic acid and oleanolic acid,
- tannins (6-12%),
- trace elements.
Peppermint leaves contain
- up to 3% of essential oil,
- inflorescences - 4-6%,
- stems - up to 0.3%.
The chemical composition of the essential oil
The main component of the essential oil is menthol (50-80%).
In addition to menthol, oil contains:
- menthone (12-25%),
- pulegon and other monocyclic terpenoids,
Azulene is also isolated.
Harvesting and storage of raw materials
Harvesting. Mint leaves are harvested when flowering occurs in about half of the plants (July - August). The above-ground part is mowed, dried in rollers and dried in the open air in the shade. The dried grass is threshed, the stems are separated and discarded.
To obtain the oil, the raw materials are harvested in the mass flowering phase, in the first half of the day, during the period of the greatest accumulation of oil.
Security measures. It is not allowed to pull out plants with roots.
Drying. In the shade on the air, on the currents or in the dryers. Then harvesters shake the raw materials at the place of drying. There are harvested high-quality leaf raw materials. Essential oil is extracted from the remaining herb.
Storage. In a cool place, in a well-sealed container according to the rules of storage of essential oil raw materials.
External signs of raw materials
Whole raw materials
The pieces of leaves of various shapes up to 10 mm or more in size with an admixture of flowers and buds.
The edge of the leaf is sharp; the veins of the second order depart from the main at an acute angle and anastomose between each other with arcs parallel to the edge of the leaf.
The leaves are bare, only from the bottom along the veins there are rare pressed hairs and throughout the plate there are shiny yellow glands visible under the magnifying glass.
The colour of leaves from light green to dark green. The smell is strong, fragrant, worse when rubbing the leaves.
The taste is hot, spicy, cooling.
The pieces of leaves of various shapes, passing through a sieve with holes 2 mm in diameter.
Properties and application
Pharmacotherapeutic group. Antispasmodic, sedative, choleretic and irritant effect.
Pharmacological properties of peppermint
The main active ingredient of peppermint essential oil is menthol. When applied to mucous membranes or rubbed into the skin, menthol irritates the nerve endings, causing a feeling of cold and tingling.
When cold receptors are excited, the superficial vessels narrow and the vessels of internal organs reflexly expand. This obviously explains the reduction of pain under the influence of menthol in angina.
Menthol has vasoactive properties:
- regulates arteriovenous tone,
- prevents an increase in the tone of the intracranial veins caused by taking nitroglycerin,
- promotes blood flow through the external veins.
Menthol also has a slight local anesthetic effect.
By irritating the receptors of the mucous membrane of the stomach and intestines, menthol increases peristalsis and secretion of the digestive glands.
Peppermint oil vapors have antimicrobial properties, particularly pronounced for Staphylococcus aureus and a number of spore-forming bacteria.
Azulene mint oil has anti-inflammatory and capillary action.
The preparations of peppermint leaves have a choleretic property, which is associated with polyphenolic compounds. It is not only strengthen the exocrine function of the liver, change the composition of bile, increase the secretion of bile cholesterol, cholesterol and bilirubin, but also increase the antitoxic function of the liver, normalize metabolism, reduce the swelling of hepatocytes in hepatitis.
Mint preparations have a sedative and antispasmodic effect.
Application of peppermint
Peppermint has long been used in the form of herbal preparations, tinctures and tinctures, as part of the fees.
Mint is used
- as a means of: reflexively improving blood circulation in the vessels of the brain and heart,
- as an antispasmodic for spastic phenomena in the gastrointestinal tract, bile ducts, pancreatic ducts.
Peppermint preparations are used:
- as a painkiller for neuralgia, toothache,
- as an antiseptic for inflammatory diseases of the upper respiratory tract and stomatitis.
From the essential oil of peppermint and menthol produced a large number of complex therapeutic agents and herbal remedies.
Low menthol varieties of mint are used as a spice in cooking.
The young children lubricating menthol mucous membranes of the nose and nasopharynx is contraindicated, as reflex suppression and respiratory depression are possible.
The sharp smell of mint preparations, the excess of their dose in the inhalating devices can provoke bronchospasm and respiratory disorders in adults.