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Toxic parts

In large quantities this plant, especially in the form of the extracted essential oil, can cause abortions so should not be used by pregnant women.

Edible uses


Leaves - raw or cooked. A mild peppermint flavour, they are used as a flavouring in salads or cooked foods[1].

An essential oil from the leaves and flowers is used as a flavouring in sweets, chewing gum, ice cream etc[1].

A herb tea is made from the fresh or dried leaves[1].

Unknown part


Material uses

An essential oil obtained from the whole plant is used in perfumery[2][3]. It is also an ingredient of oral hygiene preparations, toiletries etc[4].

Peppermint leaves are used as an ingredient of pot-pourri[4]. They were formerly used as a strewing herb[5]

The plant repels insects, rats etc[5][6][7]. Rats and mice intensely dislike the smell of mint. The plant was therefore used in homes as a strewing herb and has also been spread in granaries to keep the rodents off the grain[8].

Medicinal uses(Warning!)

White peppermint is a very important and commonly used remedy, being employed by allopathic doctors as well as herbalists[9]. It is also widely used as a domestic remedy. This cultivar is considered to be milder acting than black peppermint (Mentha x piperita vulgaris). A tea made from the leaves has traditionally been used in the treatment of fevers, headaches, digestive disorders (especially flatulence) and various minor ailments[10][4].

The herb is abortifacient, anodyne, antiseptic, antispasmodic, carminative, cholagogue, diaphoretic, refrigerant, stomachic, tonic and vasodilator[11][9][12][13][4]. An infusion is used in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome, digestive problems, spastic colon etc[14]. Externally a lotion is applied to the skin to relieve pain and reduce sensitivity[14]. The leaves and stems can be used fresh or dried, they are harvested for drying in August as the flowers start to open[11]. The essential oil in the leaves is antiseptic and strongly antibacterial, though it is toxic in large doses[10][14]. When diluted it can be used as an inhalant and chest rub for respiratory infections[14].

The essential oil is used in aromatherapy. Its keyword is 'Cooling'[15].


Ecosystem niche/layer

Ecological Functions

Nothing listed.


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Seed - sow spring in a cold frame. Germination is usually fairly quick. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and plant them out in the summer. Mentha species are very prone to hybridisation and so the seed cannot be relied on to breed true. Even without hybridisation, seedlings will not be uniform and so the content of medicinal oils etc will vary. When growing plants with a particular aroma it is best to propagate them by division[K]. Division can be easily carried out at almost any time of the year, though it is probably best done in the spring or autumn to allow the plant to establish more quickly. Virtually any part of the root is capable of growing into a new plant. Larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. However, for maximum increase it is possible to divide the roots up into sections no more than 3cm long and pot these up in light shade in a cold frame. They will quickly become established and can be planted out in the summer.

Practical Plants is currently lacking information on propagation instructions of Mentha x piperita officinalis. Help us fill in the blanks! Edit this page to add your knowledge.


Succeeds in most soils and situations so long as the soil is not too dry[16][17]. Grows well in heavy clay soils. A sunny position is best for the production of essential oils, but the plant also succeeds in partial shade. Prefers a slightly acid soil[18].

Often grown in the herb garden and also commercially for its essential oil. The whole plant has a pleasant aroma of peppermint. Most mints have fairly aggressive spreading roots and, unless you have the space to let them roam, they need to be restrained by some means such as planting them in containers that are buried in the soil[K]. Hybridizes freely with other members of this genus. The flowers are very attractive to bees and butterflies[19]. A good companion for growing near cabbages and tomatoes, helping to keep them free of insect pests[5][7]. Produces a better quality essential oil if the plant is grown in dry ground[20].

Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer[21].


Problems, pests & diseases

Associations & Interactions

There are no interactions listed for Mentha x piperita officinalis. Do you know of an interaction that should be listed here? edit this page to add it.

Polycultures & Guilds

There are no polycultures listed which include Mentha x piperita officinalis.




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Full Data

This table shows all the data stored for this plant.

Binomial name
Mentha x piperita officinalis
Imported References
Edible uses
Material uses & Functions
Edible uses
None listed.
Material uses
None listed.
Medicinal uses
None listed.
Functions & Nature
Provides forage for
Provides shelter for
Hardiness Zone
Heat Zone
full sun
light shade
Soil PH
Soil Texture
Soil Water Retention
Environmental Tolerances
    Native Climate Zones
    None listed.
    Adapted Climate Zones
    None listed.
    Native Geographical Range
    None listed.
    Native Environment
    None listed.
    Ecosystem Niche
    None listed.
    Root Zone Tendancy
    None listed.
    Deciduous or Evergreen
    Herbaceous or Woody
    Life Cycle
    Growth Rate
    Mature Size
    Flower Colour
    Flower Type


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    2. ? 2.02.1 Uphof. J. C. Th. Dictionary of Economic Plants. Weinheim (1959-00-00)
    3. ? 3.03.1 Tanaka. T. Tanaka's Cyclopaedia of Edible Plants of the World. Keigaku Publishing (1976-00-00)
    4. ? Bown. D. Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses. Dorling Kindersley, London. ISBN 0-7513-020-31 (1995-00-00)
    5. ? Holtom. J. and Hylton. W. Complete Guide to Herbs. Rodale Press ISBN 0-87857-262-7 (1979-00-00)
    6. ? 6.06.1 Philbrick H. and Gregg R. B. Companion Plants. Watkins (1979-00-00)
    7. ? Riotte. L. Companion Planting for Successful Gardening. Garden Way, Vermont, USA. ISBN 0-88266-064-0 (1978-00-00)
    8. ? 8.08.1 Phillips. R. & Foy. N. Herbs Pan Books Ltd. London. ISBN 0-330-30725-8 (1990-00-00)
    9. ? Launert. E. Edible and Medicinal Plants. Hamlyn ISBN 0-600-37216-2 (1981-00-00)
    10. ? Foster. S. & Duke. J. A. A Field Guide to Medicinal Plants. Eastern and Central N. America. Houghton Mifflin Co. ISBN 0395467225 (1990-00-00)
    11. ? Grieve. A Modern Herbal. Penguin ISBN 0-14-046-440-9 (1984-00-00)
    12. ? 12.012.1 Lust. J. The Herb Book. Bantam books ISBN 0-553-23827-2 (1983-00-00)
    13. ? 13.013.1 Mills. S. Y. The Dictionary of Modern Herbalism. ()
    14. ? Chevallier. A. The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants Dorling Kindersley. London ISBN 9-780751-303148 (1996-00-00)
    15. ? 15.015.1 Westwood. C. Aromatherapy - A guide for home use. Amberwood Publishing Ltd ISBN 0-9517723-0-9 (1993-00-00)
    16. ? F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956 Oxford University Press (1951-00-00)
    17. ? 17.017.1 Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press ISBN 0-333-47494-5 (1992-00-00)
    18. ? Simons. New Vegetable Growers Handbook. Penguin ISBN 0-14-046-050-0 (1977-00-00)
    19. ? Baines. C. Making a Wildlife Garden. ()
    20. ? Johnson. C. P. The Useful Plants of Great Britain. ()
    21. ? Thomas. G. S. Perennial Garden Plants J. M. Dent & Sons, London. ISBN 0 460 86048 8 (1990-00-00)
    22. ? Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named PFAFimport-17