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Spearmint

Mentha spicata syn. M. cordifolia (Spear Mint or Spearmint) is a species of mint native to much of Europe and southwest Asia, though its exact natural range is uncertain due to extensive early cultivation.It grows in wet soils. It is an invasive species in the Great Lakesregion where it was first sighted in 1843, although it is grown widely across northernIndiana.

It is a herbaceous rhizomatous perennial plant growing 30–100 cm tall, with variably hairless to hairy stems and foliage, and a wide-spreading fleshy underground rhizome. The leaves are 5–9 cm long and 1.5–3 cm broad, with a serrated margin. The stem is square-shaped, a trademark of the mint family of herbs. Spearmint produces flowers in slender spikes, each flower pink or white, 2.5–3 mm long and broad.

Health effects

Recent research has shown that spearmint tea may be used as a treatment for hirsutism in women. Its anti-androgenic properties reduce the level of free testosterone in the blood, while leaving total testosterone and DHEA unaffected. It can also be used to treat a variety of digestive ailments, including stomachache (as previously mentioned) and gas.

Spearmint has been studied for antifungal activity; its essential oil was found to have some antifungal activity, although less than Oregano. Its essential oil did not show any evidence of mutagenicity in the Ames test. It can have a calming effect when used for insomnia or massages. Spearmint has also been described as having excellent antioxidant activity; its antioxidant activity was found to be comparable to the synthetic BHT.[  Due both to its antioxidant activity and its common use to season lamb in Indian cuisine, it has been studied as an additive to radiation-processed lamb meat, and was found effective in delaying oxidation of fats and reducing formation of harmful substances, which can be detected using thiobarbituric acid as a reagent