Mentha sp.

Botanical family: 

Botanical description

Perennial aromatic herb.  Stems erect or ascending, 30-90 cm long, branched, glabrous; leaves lanceolate, acute, blade punctate; flowers in large terminal spikes, 2.5-7.5 cm long, the ones at the sides being longer than the one in the middle, calyx glabrous, with acute teeth, usually ciliate; corolla purple, rarely white, glabrous.

The typical botanical description may vary due to the existence of varieties within the species.


Jiménez,1505,JBSD Gimenez,275710-38,VEN Soberats,TR90-09,CIFMT FLORPAN,s/n,PMA


leaf, decoction or infusion, orally1


leaf, decoction or infusion, orally3-4,37


leaf, decoction or infusion, orally5-6,38


leaf, decoction (sometimes with salt) or infusion, orally1,5


leaf, decoction or infusion, orally5-6,38

stomach pain:

leaf, infusion, orally2


leaf, decoction or infusion, orally3-4,37

The leaf of Mentha spicata is widely used for human consumption andMentha piperita is an industrial source of essential oil.

For stomach ache:

Prepare an infusion adding 250 mL (1 cup) of boiling water to 1.5-3 grams (1 spoonful of dried leaf. Cover pot, let it settle for 5-10 minutes, and filter.

For diarrhea, flatulence, indigestion, flu, common cold and vomiting:

Prepare a decoction or infusion with 1.5-3 grams (1 spoonful) of dried leaf in 250 mL (1 cup) of water. In the case of a decoction, boil for at least 10 minutes in a covered pot; for infusion, add boiling water to 3 grams of dried leaf, cover, leave to cool down for 5-10 minutes, and filter.

In all cases, drink 2-4 cups a day when required by symptomatic indication32-33.

According to published and other information:

Use for diarrhea, stomach pain, flatulence, indigestion, flu, common cold and vomiting is classified as REC, based on the significant traditional use documented in the TRAMIL surveys, and on available published scientific information.

Should there be a notable worsening of the patient’s condition, or should the diarrhea or stomach pain last more than 3 days in adults or 2 days in children older than 3, or should vomiting persist for more than 2 days, seek medical attention.

For diarrhea, the use of this resource can be considered complementary to oral re-hydration therapy.

Do not ingest in case of adverse gall bladder conditions or stones7.

Not for use during pregnancy, during lactation or by children under 5 years old.

TRAMIL Research34

A decoction of the fresh leaves of Mentha nemorosa at 30% (yield 0.51 mg/mL), administered orally to rats as a single dose (maximum) of 2 mL/100 g (equivalent to 6 g plant material or 102 mg of total solids per kilogram) in a classic acute toxicology model, did not provoke deaths or evident signs of toxicity in the first 24 hours nor during the following 14 days of observation, nor were histopathological alterations observed.

Trabajos TRAMIL35-36 (will be translated in 3rd Ed.)

El extracto acuoso(decocción 30%) de hoja fresca de Mentha x piperita varcitrata, vía oral, dosis única(2000 y 5000 mg/kg), a rata Sprague-Dowley(3 hembras y 3 machos, peso promedio 266 g), y aratón Swiss OF1 (30 hembras y 30 machos), grupos control con agua destilada, en el modelo de clases tóxicas agudas, no provocó muerte ni signos evidentes de toxicidad (salvo piloerección efímera con ambas dosis) en las primeras 24 horas ni durante los 14 días de observación, ni evidenció cambios en los estudios macroscópico de los órganos vitales.

The tincture(1 kg of dried plant material in 1 L of 70% ethanol) of the aerial parts of Mentha xpiperita (0.025 to 0.250 mg of solid total/mL) in the mitotic segregation test on Aspergillus nidulans D30 had no significant cytotoxic effects.  In the micronuclei induction test in mouse marrow, Mentha xpiperita (64, 128 and 225 mg/kg) there was no genotoxic effect28.

The LD50 of peppermint oil orally administered to mouse was 2490 mg/kg29. In rat the LD50 of orally administered peppermint oil was 2426 mg/kg, and intraperitoneally administered, 829 mg/kg29.

The LD50 of menthol orally administered to mouse was 3-4 g/kg29, similar to the finding for rat where the oral LD50 of menthol was 3180–4441 mg/kg30 and after intraperitoneal administration. 819 mg/kg29

The essential oil was mutagenic in vitro in the Salmonella typhimurium TA1537 model, at a minimum concentration of 5 picoliters/plate.  The leaf and stem were mutagenic in the same model, with a minimum concentration of 50 µg/plate31.

Mentha spphas been classified by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the “GRAS” (Generally Regarded as Safe) category27.

There is no available information documenting the safety of medicinal use in children or in women during pregnancy or while breast feeding.

The leaf has been extensively studied and contains, among other constituents: essential oil: menthol, menthone, cineol8; flavonoids: diosmin, eriocitrin, hesperidin, narirutin, luteolin and rutinoside, among others; phenylpropanoid: rosmarinic acid9.

The aqueous extract from the aerial parts showed antiviral activity in vivo in the intra-amniotic model (0.3 mL/day) and in vitro in the hemo-agglutination inhibition model against Herpes simplex, Influenza A andInfluenza B10.

The aqueous extract from the aerial parts (10 mg/mL) was not nematicidal against Toxocara canis11.

The hydroalcoholic extract (30%) from the leaf (0.3%), showed antispasmodic activity in the guinea pig ileum in vitro model12.

The aqueous extract of the dried leaf, administered orally (300 mg/kg) to mouse provoked a natriuretic effect, without affecting potassium13.  The same type of extract administered to mouse induced depressant effect on the central nervous system14.

The hydroalcoholic extract (95%) from the fresh leaf administered orally to rat (1 g/kg) caused analgesic effects in benzoyl peroxide-induced contortions15.

The essential oil had antibacterial effects in vitro against Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa16; it was active in vitro (900 mg/L) against Erwinia amylovora17, and antifungal against Trichophyton mentagrophytes18.

The essential oil had carminative effects (ED50 = 7.5%) in thein vitro foaming activity determination model (foam has been detected in the intestine in case of excessive gas)19.  Intra-luminal instillation (0.1 mL) in guinea pig ileum caused spasmolytic activity, with a mean inhibitory concentration (MIC) of 0.176 mg/mL20.  At a concentration of 75 µg/mL, in vitro adenosine was inhibited in aortic endothelium21.  In mouse (30 mg/animal), the essential oil did not induce glutathione S-transferase activity in stomach, intestine or liver22.

The essential oil administered orally to human adult caused carminative and choleretic activity23; at a dosage of 0.2 mL/person, it accelerated gastric emptying in healthy individuals and patients with dyspepsia24.

The local gastric analgesic activity was evidenced in a double-blind study with 45 patients with non-ulcer dyspepsia, who received 90 mg of peppermint essential oil and 50 mg of caraway oil (Carum carvi).  The treatment was well tolerated and 95% of patients showed signs of improvement, with a decrease of heaviness, nausea and colic25.

The feeling of local coolness experienced when the skin is in contact with menthol is determined by the chemical stimulation of the nerves transmitting this type of information, and is accompanied by mitigation of pain.  A slight anesthesia of the tactile sensitivity has been ascertained, sometimes followed by itching and burning26.

Menthol is claimed to induce a psycholeptic state followed by depression, with a slight hypnotic effect, anticonvulsant and hypertensive properties, as well as histamine antagonism27.




1 DELENS M, 1990-92 Encuesta TRAMIL. Centro al Servicio de la Acción Popular CESAP, Caracas, Venezuela.

2 CARBALLO A, 1990 Encuesta TRAMIL. Centro de investigación de fitoterapia y medicina tradicional de Topes de Collantes, Trinidad, Cuba.

3 CHARLES C, 1988 TRAMIL survey. Movement for Cultural Awareness MCA, Roseau, Dominica.

4 EDOUARD JA, 1992 Enquête TRAMIL. Lycée agricole, Baie-Mahault, Guadeloupe.

5 LONGUEFOSSE JL, NOSSIN E, 1990-95 Enquête TRAMIL. Association pour la valorisation des plantes médicinales de la Caraïbe AVPMC, Fort de France, Martinique.

6 SOLIS P, CORREA M, GUPTA M, 1995 Encuesta TRAMIL (Comunidades afro-caribeñas). Centro de Investigaciones Farmacognósticas de la Flora Panameña CIFLORPAN, Facultad de Farmacia, Universidad de Panamá, Panamá, Panamá.

7 CANIGUERAL S, VILA R, RISCO E, PEREZ F, PORTILLO A, FREIXA B, MILO B, VANACLOCHA B, RIOS JL, MORALES MA, ALONSO JR, BACHILLER LI, PERIS JB, STUBING G, 2002 Mentha sp. Vademecum de Fitoterapia, Editorial Masson, Barcelona, España, Nov. 20, 2003. URL:

8 TAYLOR BA, DUTHIE HL, LUSCOMBE DK, 1985 Mechanism by which peppermint oil exerts its relaxant effect on gastrointestinal smooth muscle. J Pharm Pharmacol 37(Suppl):104.

9 GUEDON DJ, PASQUIER BP, 1994 Analysis and distribution of flavonoid glycosides and rosmarinic acid in 40 Mentha xpiperita clones. J Agr Food Chem 42(3):679-684.

10 HERRMANN EC, KUCERA LS, 1967 Antiviral substances in plants of the mint family (Labiatae). 3. Peppermint (Mentha piperita) and other mint plants. Proc Soc Exp Biol Med 124(3):874-878.

11 KIUCHI F, NAKAMURA N, MIYASHITA N, NISHIZAWA S, TSUDA Y, KONDO K, 1989 Nematocidal activity of some anthelmintic traditional medicines and spices by a new assay method using larvae of Toxocara canis. Shoyakugaku Zasshi 43(4):279-287.

12 LESLIE GB, 1978 A pharmacometric evaluation of nine bio-strath herbal remedies. Medita 8(10):3-19.

13 DELLA LOGGIA R, TUBARO A, LUNDER TL, 1990 Evaluation of some pharmacological activities of a peppermint extract. Fitoterapia 61(3):215-221.

14 DELLA LOGGIA R, TUBARO A, REDAELLI C, 1981 Valutazione dell'attività sul S.N.C. del topo di alcuni estratti vegetali e di una loro associazione. (Evaluation of the activity on the mouse CNS of several plant extracts and a combination of them). Rivista di Neurologia 51(5):297-310.

15 COSTA M, DI STASI LC, KIRIZAWA M, MENDACOLLI SL, GOMES C, TROLIN G, 1989 Screening in mice of some medicinal plants used for analgesic purposes in the state of Sao Paulo. Part II. J Ethnopharmacol 27(1-2):25-33.

16 ROSS S, EL-KELTAWI N, MEGALLA S, 1980 Antimicrobial activity of some Egyptian aromatic plants. Fitoterapia 51:201-205.

17 SCORTICHINI M, ROSSI M, 1989 In vitro activity of some essential oils toward Erwinia amylovora (Burril) Winslow. Acta Phytopathol Entomol Hung 24(3/4):421-431.

18 RAI MK, UPADHYAY S, 1988 Laboratory evaluation of essential oil of Mentha piperita Linn. against Trichophyton mentagrophytes. Hindustan Antibiot Bull 30(3-4):82-84.

19 HARRIES N, JAMES KC, PUGH WK, 1978 Antifoaming and carminative actions of volatile oils. J Clin Pharmacol 2:171-177.

20 TADDEI I, GIACHETTI D, TADDEI E, MANTOVANI P, BIANCHI E, 1988 Spasmolytic activity of peppermint, sage and rosemary essences and their major constituents. Fitoterapia 59(6):463-468.

21 MELZIG M, TEUSCHER E, 1991 Investigations of the influence of essential oils and their main components on the adenosine uptake by cultivated endothelial cells. Planta Med 57(1):41-42.

22 LAM L, ZHENG B, 1991 Effects of essential oils on glutathione S-transferase activity in mice. J Agr Food Chem 39(4):660-662.

23 BRIGGS C, 1993 Peppermint: medicinal herb and flavouring agent. Can Pharmaceutical J 126(2):89-92.

24 DALVI SS, NADKARNI PM, PARDESI R, GUPTA KC, 1991 Effect of peppermint oil on gastric emptying in man: A preliminary study using a radiolabelled solid test meal. Indian J Physiol Pharmacol 35(3):212-214.

25 MAY B, KUNTZ HD, KIESER M, KOHLER S, 1996 Efficacy of a fixed peppermint oil/caraway oil combination in non-ulcer dyspepsia. Arzneimittel Forschung [Drug Research] 46(12):1149-1153.

26 BEZIAT M, 1983 Toxicité d'huiles essentielles. Thèse Pharmacie, Montpellier, France.

27 CODE OF FEDERAL REGULATIONS, 2002 Food and drugs. Chapter I - Food and Drug administration, Department of Health and Human Services. Part 182 - Substances generally recognized as safe. Sec. 182.10. Spices and other natural seasonings and flavorings. U.S. Government Printing Office via GPO Access, USA. 21(3):451-452. Feb. 24, 2003, URL:

28 VIZOSO A, RAMOS A, VILLAESCUSA A, DECALO M, BETANCOURT J, 1997 Estudio genotóxico in vitro e in vivo en tinturas de Melissa officinalis L. (toronjil) y Mentha piperita L. (toronjil de menta). Rev Cub Plantas Med 2(1):6-11.

29 MICROMEDEX T, 2003 Healthcare Series. Vol. 117. 9/2003 Thomson MICROMEDEX®.

30 BUDAVARI S (Ed.), 2001 The Merck index: an encyclopedia of chemical, drugs, and biologicals. 30th ed. New Jersey, USA: Merck and Co., Inc. p1043-1044.

31 SIVASWAMY SM, BALACHANDRAN B, BALANEHRU S, SIVARAMAKRISHNAN VM, 1991 Mutagenic activity of south Indian food items. Indian J Exp Biol 29(8):730-737.

32 WICHTL M, 1999 Plantes thérapeutiques. Tec and Doc. p365.

33 ALONSO J, 1998 Tratado de fitomedicina: bases clínicas y farmacológicas. Buenos Aires, Argentina: ISIS ediciones SRL. p721.

34 MARTINEZ MJ, MOREJON Z, LOPEZ M, BOUCOURT E, FUENTES V, MORON F, 2005 Clases tóxicas agudas (CTA) de una decocción de hoja fresca de Mentha nemorosa Willd.Informe TRAMIL. Laboratorio Central de Farmacología, Facultad de Ciencias Médicas “Dr. Salvador Allende”, La Habana, Cuba.

35 GUERRA MJ, LOPEZ M, BOUCOURT E, FUENTES V, MORON F, 2002 Clases tóxicas agudas en rata de decocción (30%) de hojas secas de Mentha x piperita varcitrata (Ehrh.) Briq.Informe TRAMIL. Laboratorio Central de Farmacología. Facultad de Medicina Dr. Salvador Allende. Ciudad de La Habana, Cuba.

36 GUERRA MJ, LOPEZ M, BOUCOURT E, FUENTES V, 2002 Toxicidad aguda (DL50) en ratón de la decocción de hojas secas de Mentha x piperita var citrata(Ehrh.) Briq.Informe TRAMIL. Laboratorio Central de Farmacología. Facultad de Medicina Dr. Salvador Allende. Ciudad de La Habana, Cuba.

37 BALZ E, BOYER A, BURAUD M, 2007 Enquête TRAMIL à Marie-Galante. U. Bordeaux 3, U. Paris XI Chatenay-Malabry, UAG, Guadeloupe.

38 OCRISSE G, 2008 Enquête TRAMIL auprès de 250 familles de la moitié Est de la partie francophone de St Martin. Biologie végétale, UAG, Guadeloupe.


The information provided is for educational purposes only for the benefit of the general public and health professionals. It is not intended to take the place of either the written law or regulations. Since some parts of plants could be toxic, might induce side effects, or might have interactions with certain drugs, anyone intending to use them or their products must first consult with a physician or another qualified health care professional. TRAMIL has no responsibility whatsoever towards the user for any decision, action or omission made in relation to the information contained in this Pharmacopoeia.