Mentha spicata, Linne', Mentha viridis, Linne'. The dried leaves and tops with not more than than 2 p.c. of stems over 3 Mm. (1/8') thick, or other foreign organic matter.

Habitat. England, wild in Europe, N. America; cultivated in the United States.

Syn. Menth. Vir., Mint, Mackerel, Lady's Brown, Lamb or Common Garden Mint, Lammint, Sage of Bethlehem, Herba Menthae Romanae (Acutae); Fr. Menthe (romaine) verte, Baume vert; Ger. Grune Minze, Romische Minse.

Spi-ca'ta. L. spiked -- i.e., the flowers.

Vir'i-dis. L. green -- i.e., the stem.

Spear'mint -- spur + mint, from its spiry, spear-like inflorescence.

Plant

Perennial herb; rootstocks with elongated suckers, by which it multiplies extensively; stems .6-1.3 M. (2-4 degrees) high, acutely quadrangular, branches opposite, smooth, often tinged with purple; flowers Aug.-Sept., spikes, calyx tubular, 5-toothed, corolla 4-lobed, light purple. LEAVES, ovate-lanceolate, 1-9 Cm. (2/5-3 3/5') long, unequally serrate, nearly sessile, or petiole only 4 Mm (1/6') long, bright green, somewhat glandular-hairy on under surface; more or less crumpled and mixed with large proportion of the light brown, purplish stems, occasionally with their characteristic opposite branches; stems distinctly quadrangular, 1-3 Mm. (1/25-1/8') thick, nearly glabrous; flowers in opposite clusters, or more or less interrupted or crowded, lanceolate, nearly acute spikes; bracts linear-lanceolate, subulate, 7-10 Mm. (1/4-2/5') long, subtending the flower clusters; calyx tubular, 5-toothed, glandular-punctate, somewhat pubescent near the teeth; corolla nearly white, light brown; stamens exserted; odor slightly pungent, characteristic; taste aromatic, characteristic, not followed by cooling sensation in the mouth.

Powder

green-closely resembles that of peppermint but without crystals from the globular heads of the glandular hairs. Should be collected in dry weather, Aug.-Sept., just as flowers appear, if for oil, just after flowers have expanded, and is heavier, weaker and less pungent than peppermint, being probably the cultivated form of M. Longifo'lia (sylves'tris), Horse-mint; loses on drying 75-85 p.c. Solvents: alcohol; water partially. Dose, gr. 30-60 (2-4 Gm.).

Adulterations

Mostly through carelessness -- leaves of other Mentha species, chiefly M. piperita, sometimes 30-50 p.c. in that coming from the South (Va., N. Ca., S. Ca.); its own odor and taste (lack of coldness), unequally serrate sessile leaves, slender interrupted spikes and long calyx teeth should suffice for ready recognition.

Constituents

Volatile oil .5 p.c., resin, tannin, gum.

Oleum Menthae Viridis. Oil of Spearmint, U.S.P. -- (Syn., Ol. Menth. Vir., Spearmint Oil; Fr. Essence de Menthe verte; Ger. Krauseminzol, Romisch Minzol.) This volatile oil, distilled from the flowering plant (fresh or partly dried) is a colorless, yellow, greenish-yellow liquid, characteristic odor and taste of spearmint; soluble in 80 p.c. alcohol (1) with clear solution that becomes cloudy on further dilution with alcohol, sp. gr. 0.925, levorotatory; contains at least 43 p.c. of carvone, CHO, limonene, CH, 43 p.c., possibly pinene, CH, and an unidentified alcohol, CHOH.  It is preserved for a long time by adding 3-4 p.c. of alcohol.  Should be kept cool, dark, in well-stoppered amber-colored bottles.  Dose, mj-5 (.06-.3 cc.).

Preparations

Leaves And Tops

1. Spiritus Menthae Viridis, Spirit of Spearmint.  (Syn., Sp. Menth. Vir., Essence of Spearmint, Tinctura Olei Menthae Viridis; Ger. Grune Minzessenz.)

Manufacture

Macerate for 1 hour spearmint leaves 1 Gm. in water 50 cc., strongly express; mix oil of spearmint 10 cc. in alcohol 80, add macerated leaves, and alcohol q.s. 100 cc., macerate mixture for 6 hours, frequently shaking, filter.  Should be kept in amber-colored bottles.  Dose, mx-30 (.6-2 cc.).

Prep.: 1. Elixir Manacae Compositum, N.F., 1.5 p.c.

Oil

1. Aqua Menthae Viridis.  Spearmint Water.  (Syn., Aq. Menth. Vir.; Fr. Eau de Menthe verte; Ger. Romisch Minzwasser.)

Manufacture

1/5 p.c.  Similar to Aquae Aromaticae: shake often during 15 minutes, oil .2 cc. with distilled water 100, in a capacious bottle, set aside 12 hours or more, filter, adding distilled water q.s. 100 cc., or triturate oil .2 cc. with purified talc 1.5 Gm. and recently boiled distilled water q.s. 100 cc., filter until clear.  Dose, 3ss-1 (15-30 cc.).

Prep.: 1. Liquor Sodae et Menthae, N.F., 98 p.c.

2. Spiritus Menthae Viridis, 10 p.c.  3. Elixir Catariae et Faeniculi, N.F., 1/10 p.c.

Unoff. Preps.: LEAVES AND TOPS: Infusion, 5 p.c., 3j-2 (30-60 cc.).  Fluidextract, 3j-2 (4-8 cc.).  LEAVES AND TOPS, OR OIL: Syrup, 3j-4 (4-15 cc.).

Properties

Carminative, stimulant, nervine; flavoring.

Uses

Same as peppermint, but as it is much milder it is to be preferred in disorders of infancy, culinary purposes, confectionery, perfumery--flavoring chewing gum, world celebrated mint julep, mint sauce, peas and other green vegetables.