Peppermint is a hybrid of watermint and spearmint. Indigenous to Europe, it is now widely cultivated throughout the world. Sometimes referred to as "the world's oldest medicine" it has been used for centuries to settle tummy upset and freshen breath.
Mentha x piperita
Common name: Peppermint
Synonyms: Black mint, candy mint, lamb mint, American mint, brandy mint, hoja de menta piperita (Spanish)
The Plant: A triple hybrid between Mentha aquatica x Mentha spicata (Mentha sueveolens x Mentha longifolia). Native to Europe where it prefers the low, wet soil along brooks. It is naturalized in the United States. An herbaceous perennial plant featuring distinctly square, purplish stems and dark green, lance shaped leaves spreading rapidly by runners. Its purplish flowers occur in thick, terminal spikes from July through August. There are several varieties of M. piperita with 'Black Mitchum' being the most extensively cultivated for its superior essential oil content. Commercial peppermint is produced in Bulgaria, Greece, Spain, Northern Europe and the US, with the US being the leading producer of peppermint oil. Particularly Washington and Oregon. The herb is cut just before flowering according to local conditions with the second harvest occurring 60-70 days after the first. Essential oil content varies from 0.6-4% and is highly dependent on the age of the plant and its origin.
Constituents of Significance: menthol, menthone, isomenthone, menthyl acetate, ¨¢-pinene, ¦Â-pinene, camphor, limonene, linalool and piperitone
Quality: Look for adulteration with spearmint and other species of Mentha. Product should come exclusively from vegetatively propagated, cultivated sources, as the peppermint growing wild is highly variable and generally contains 30-50% spearmint.
Regulatory Status: GRAS. Peppermint leaf and/or its oil are official in the national pharmacopoeias of Australia, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, Russia and Switzerland, the European Pharmacopoeia and in the U.S. National
Did you know: The genus name Mentha is derived from the Greek Mintha. According to Greek mythology, when Persephone found out that Pluto was in love with the beautiful nymph Mintha, she was overcome with jealousy. She changed Mintha into a lowly plant. Pluto, unable to undo Persephone¡¯s spell, used his power to soften the spell, so that the more Mintha was tread upon, the sweeter her smell would be.
Soothing aromatic for head and digestion*
This statement has not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
Caution/Safety: Class 1: Herbs that can be safely consumed when used appropriately.*
*Michael McGuffin, ed., American Herbal Products Association's Botanical Safety Handbook, (New York: CRC Press, 1997)
Frontier travels to all parts of the globe to get the best quality herbs and spices, but in the case of peppermint the best is right here in the United States. We source our organic peppermint from our Well Earth farmers in Oregon and Washington. Peppermint (Mentha x piperita), particularly the variety 'Black Mitchum', is grown in the warm and dry high-desert area of southeastern Washington and northern Oregon, an ideal climate for growing organic peppermint because it discourages the diseases associated with humid climates.
The harvest time of peppermint, which begins in July and continues through September, can cause growers many sleepless nights. The harvesting begins by "swathing" or cutting the peppermint plants into windrows and letting them dry in the fields for three to five days. Once the plant has been cut from the roots, it cannot be exposed to any rain or the moisture will cause the leaves to turn from their beautiful green color to a dark brown or black, making the crop unusable as peppermint herb. When dry, the plants are harvested by a modified combine harvester and sent directly to the processing plant to be cut and sifted and packaged. Meet one of our organic peppermint producers.