“Smell of rain, smell of spearmint, smell of soil.
And smell of boughs that are wet of gentle spring rain and shining clean”
I prefer to use spearmint rather than peppermint for children. There are also adults who prefer her to peppermint as she has a gentler aroma and energy. This is due to the different chemical constituents of spearmint and peppermint.
Family: Lamiaceae (Labiatae).
Synonyms: Common Spearmint (M.viridis), Garden mint.
Aroma: The aroma is similar to but less potent than peppermint.
Colour: Pale olive to pale yellow.
Plant: Grows to 75cm in height with oval or lance shaped bright green leaves. Slender spikes of small aromatic white, pink or lilac clustered flowers appear from summer to early autumn. It has a system of underground runners that grow outward from the buds situated at the base of the stem. If the roots are not contained it will overwhelm other plants and rapidly crossbreed with other nearby mints.
Main Growing Areas: Native to the Mediterranean but grown in many countries with the USA being the largest producer.
Major Constituents: Carvone, limonene, linalool, 1.8 cineole. (-)-carvone gives spearmint its typical aroma. As with other oils the aroma can vary due to differences in temperature, humidity, soil fertility and time of harvest. Spearmint contains very little menthol in comparison with peppermint.
Interesting snippets: The ancient Greeks used it in their bath as both a tonic and scent.
The Romans introduced spearmint into Britain where it was used it to stop milk from curdling.
In medieval times it was used to heal sore gums and whiten teeth.
Mentha comes from the Greek meaning mint or the Latin mente meaning thought.
Spearmint is thought to be the oldest of the mints and named spere mynte in the 16th century.
Part of Plant used /Extraction: Flowering tops and leaves. The plants are usually harvested after the plant has flowered but before the seeds have ripened. Steam distilled from the flowering tops but the leaves and stem can also be steam distilled. The process can take between 35 and 50 minutes.
Therapeutic actions: Alleviates digestive disorders, nausea, wind, constipation, diarrhoea.
Relieves hiccups and nausea by relaxing the stomach muscles. Can also be used for travel sickness.
Because of her anti-inflammatory, decongestant and expectorant properties she is good to use as an inhalation at the first sign of a cold.
Research has shown spearmint to be effective against both gram+ and gram- bacteria and fungi and so could be considered in a blend for infected skin.
Emotional and Spiritual: Mental stimulant that cools and uplifts, good for tired minds, mental fatigue, lightness of being, stress induced nervousness, nervous exhaustion, soothes the nervous system.
Aromatherapy Insight Card:
Spearmint invigorates all levels of our being. Fresh and tingly, cool and soothing, Spearmint lifts heavy emotions and helps keep a clear intention to preserve and utilise your energies efficiently. Live the invigoration that Spearmint can bring to your life.
Contemplations for the Soul:
Are you feeling emotionally, mentally and physically fatigued?
Do you feel too tired to complete your tasks or face the day?
Are you building walls around your emotions in order not to feel them?
It’s time to start rebuilding your energy levels and bring joy back into your life.
Look at your diet. Is it draining or energising you?
Deal with what’s worrying you. Resisting or hiding emotions you consider too painful or shameful uses a great deal of energy.
Bring them into the light, face and feel them and free up your energy for more important things.
Be vulnerable, feel your emotions and see your energy levels soar.
Safety: Non-irritating, non-sensitising. Advisable not to use neat on children under 18 months of age.
Sources: Battaglia S, The Complete Guide To Aromatherapy. The Perfect Potion, Australia (1995)
Berkowsky B, Berkowsky’s Synthesis Materia Medica/Spiritualis of Essential Oils (2006)
Hodges C, Contemplations for the Soul (2016)
Jefferies J, Osborn. K, Aromatherapy Insight Cards. Living Energy, Aust. (2nd Ed. 2005)
Kerr, J, Spearmint Essential Oil Profile. Aromatherapy Today, Vol.29 (2004)
Price L, Spearmint. The Aromatherapist, Vol 5, No 2 (1998)
Zeck R, The Blossoming Heart. Aroma Tours (2004)