Mentha spicata Linne. (Mentha viridis, Linne.)

The dried leaves and flowering tops.

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 Minze.

Men'tha. L. fr. Gr.

Mentha Viridis Spearmint 693

Minthe, a nymph, daughter of Cocytus, fabled to have been changed into a mint plant by Proserpine in a fit of jealousy (Theo-phrastus).

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°) 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,

Fig. 337.   Mentha spicata (viridis): flowering tops.

Fig. 337. - Mentha spicata (viridis): flowering tops.

Fig. 338.   Mentha spicata (viridis): leaf, natural size.

Fig. 338. - Mentha spicata (viridis): leaf, natural size.

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; heavier, less pungent than M. piperita. Should be collected in dry weather, Aug.-Sept., just as flowers appear; if for oil, just after flowers have expanded. This is weaker 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. - Leaves of M. piperita, and other species.

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

Oleum Menthae Viridis. Oil of Spearmint, official. - (Syn., 01. Menth. Vir., Spearmint Oil; Fr. Essence de Menthe verte; Ger. Krause-minzol, 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 usually becomes cloudy on further dilution, sp. gr. 0.925, laevorotatory; contains at least 43 p. c. of carvone, C10H14O, limonene, C10H16, 43 p. c, possibly pinene, C10H16, and an unidentified alcohol, C10H17OH. 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, ej-5 (.06-3 Ml. (Cc.)).

Preparations. - I. Leaves and Tops: 1. Spiritus Mentha 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 Ml. (Cc.), strongly express; mix oil of spearmint 10 Ml. (Cc.) in alcohol 80 Ml. (Cc.), add macerated leaves, and alcohol q. s. 100 Ml. (Cc.), macerate mixture for 6 hours, frequently shaking, filter. Should be kept in amber-colored bottles. Dose, ex-30 (.6-2 Ml. (Cc.)).

II. Oil: 1. Aqua Menthoe Viridis. Spearmint Water. (Syn., Aq. Menth. Vir.; Fr. Eau de Menthe verte; Ger. Romisch Minz-wasser.)

Manufacture: 1/5 p. c Similar to Aquae Aromaticae; triturate oil .2 Ml. (Cc.) with purified talc 1.5 Gm., recently boiled distilled water q. s. 100 Ml. (Cc), filter until clear. Dose, ℥ss-l (15-30 Ml. (Cc.)).

2. Spiritus Mentha Viridis. Spirit of Spearmint, 10 p. c Dose, ex-30 (.6-2 Ml. (Cc.)). See above.

Unoff. Preps.: I. Leaves and Tops: Infusion, 5 p. c, dose, ℥j-2 (30-60 Ml. (Cc)). Fluidextract, dose, 3j-2 (4-8 Ml. (Cc.)). II. Leaves and Tops, or Oil: Syrup, dose, 3j-4 (4-15 Ml. (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.

Allied Plants: