Other Names: Wild basil, Wild Mint,
Virginia-thyme, Torrey’s Mountain-mint
Caution: Not for use by pregnant
women, may be harmful to fetus.
Several species in our area. Perennial herb native to Northern America,
Canada, Virginia to New England, north to North Dakota, south to Tennessee, Georgia.
Found growing on gravelly shores, meadows, dry to wet thickets, roadsides, open
Mountain-mint is an easily grown plant, it succeeds in most well-drained
soils, including dry ones, and prefers a sunny position.
Plants are up to 5 ft. tall, usually branched on the upper half,
growing from slender rhizomes (underground stems) usually in clusters. The lance to
broad -shaped leaves are 1-2 inches long and light green turning to almost white as
plant matures, slightly serrated, but usually smooth. Blooming in late summer to
early fall, flowers are arranged in round, flat, tight clusters at the top of the
plant. The 1/2 inch long flowers are whitish or pale lavender, the lower lip spotted
with purple. Gather tops and leaves when flowers bloom and dry for later herb use.
Mountain-mint is edible and medicinal, raw or cooked the
flower buds and leaves are edible and have a hot, spicy, mint-like flavor that makes
a great spice or seasoning for meat. The fresh or dried leaves are brewed into a
refreshing mint-like medicinal herb tea that is alterative (for that run down
feeling), analgesic, antiseptic, diaphoretic, carminative, emmenagogue and tonic.
The medicinal tea is used in alternative medicine in the treatment of menstrual
disorders, indigestion, mouth sores and gum disease, colic, coughs, colds, chills
A strong decoction is medicinal poured over festering wounds. Crushed
flowers are placed on tooth ache and almost instantly kills pain. Very aromatic the
herb is used in potpourri or burned as incense. Placed in a muslin bag it can be
used as bath additive, and is said to be very soothing to irritated skin. Will
freshen laundry when used in the dryer. Thrown in a drawer or trunk it will not only
freshen clothing and blankets, but keep moths away. Sprinkle on carpets to freshen
the whole house and is said to be a good natural insecticide, the plant does repel
insects and is good for use in the garden. Crushed flowers are rubbed on clothing to
This herb was considered powerful medicine and used by medicine men to
revive the dead. Several native American tribes claim that the fresh crushed
flowers, when stuffed up the nose of a person near death will revive them.
"An absolutely delightful mint
often found on side of woods and in abandoned fields. I use for natural carpet
freshener. Prevention Magazine had an article that said it is good as a natural
insecticide. James Duke says he rubs it on his pants before going out in the woods.
Last summer I got the worst case of chiggers. Put a
muslin bag of this stuff in a real hot bath and soaked in it for half hour, then got
out and rubbed myself with vinegar and the itching stopped.
This mint can be grown from roots. I have not done
cuttings yet. One of my garden friends fertilized his and it got huge like a bush
about 6 feet tall and I have seen them taller in some places.
My intuition tells me that some day this plant will
be used as an antidepressant because it has that kind of feel to it. To the touch
the flowers by rubbing under the chin feel soft as velvet. If you see some of it
when you are out walking I urge you to try it and see if you fall under its spell
too :-)" Karen Bergeron 2000
Article by Deb Jackson, photography by
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