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Wild Foraging Series Wild Peppermint Family

Article from: August 16th, 2012


Peppermint is one of the most widely used herbs in existence today. You can find it in food, chewing gum, drinks, toothpaste, tea and many other food products. But did you know that peppermint can also be found in the wild quite easily?


There are hundreds of varieties of peppermint in the world. It can be found in wet areas, along water, ditches and moist forested areas. It likes partly sunny areas and spreads like a weed, if left alone.


Peppermint Plants in the Wild

Peppermint Plants in the Wild


Peppermint can easily be identified by its square stem with very fine hairs all over it. Peppermint leaves grow in pairs on the stem, opposite one another. Often smaller branches will grow in between the stem and a leaf. If cut, peppermint will grow again from the next highest leaf pair on the stem.


How to identify wild peppermint

How to identify wild peppermint




Notice in the photo above the fine hairs all over the leaves and stem of the plant (click on photo for larger view). The pairs of leaves are opposing with smaller growths in between. You can often find small groups of flowers in between the leaves and stem near the top of the plant. If you rub the leaves between your fingers a very powerful peppermint smell is released.


Peppermint has many uses. It is used in natural food products as a flavoring. Its essential oils are used in perfumes, soaps, shampoo and food. It is also used in natural insect repellent formulas. Dried peppermint leaves make a great tasting tea. Peppermint and spearmint are also used in chewing gum and cough drops as a flavoring.


Peppermint can be used to relieve colds, fever and indigestion. It has been known to help fight headaches and stomachaches. It is a relaxant and improves sleep. It relieves nervous tension and helps fight insomnia. Peppermint can be a natural anti gas treatment. If taken either fresh or as a tea, relief comes within about 20 minutes.


Peppermint oil is also an antiseptic and antispasmodic.


Catnip, a variety of peppermint is known to relieve stress and helps improve sleep. Catnip is also a powerful mosquito repellent, if you can handle 500 stray cats rubbing on you.


Peppermint can be used either fresh or dried.


The mint family is a very healthy addition to your lager.


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Troy Reid


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