Compilation of herbal plants (description, geographical distribution, taxonomy, line drawings), biodiversity and herbarium.

Read More
Research & Publication

Description of herbal and T&CM research, searchable publication and process from medicinal plant discovery to clinical trial in producing a high-quality registered herbal drug.

Read More
Traditional & Complementary Medicine (T&CM)


Definition and description of therapies, policy, training and education, research in the practise of (T&CM) and integrated medicine system.           

Read More


News Update

Announcement & Advertisement

Forthcoming Events

International Conference on Traditional Medicine and Phytochemistry 2021

From Mon, 12. July 2021 Until Wed, 14. July 2021

Asian Symposium on Medicinal Plants and Spices XVII (2020)

From Tue, 17. August 2021 Until Thu, 19. August 2021

Mentha spicata

Mentha spicata

[span class=alert] In regards to the Traditional Use and Therapeutic Action sections of Essential Oils, the oils are rated as is standard practice in the French school of aromatherapy and others. The ratings ranked from one (+) to four (++++) with four indicating the highest value, indicate the oil’s therapeutic value from a practicing clinician’s point of view. The French rating system mentioned are obtained from this book reference entitle ‘Les Cahiers Pratiques D'Aromatherapie Selon L'Ecole Francaise’ (Authors: Francine Baudry, Pascal Debauche & Dominique Baudoux). However, further clarification might be required and will be updated once additional information of the rating system is obtained.   [/span]

Family Name


Genus Name


Vernacular Name

Spearmint, garden mint, lamb mint, fish mint, common mint

Original Habitat

Mentha spicata, or Spearmint, is a perennial species of mint found across North America. The species is found naturally across almost the entirety of the continent, and is considered to be an invasive species in the Great Lakes area. It is thought that the plant originates in the Mediterranean. M. spicata is most concentrated in Western Europe, from Sweden to Spain. The hardy herb grows well in most soils and can thrive in sunlight and partial shade.

Plant Part Used

The essential oil of M. spicata is steam distilled from the fresh and flowering tops. Occasionally in lower grade oils, the leaf is used.


M. spicata essential oil is regularly used as a flavouring agent in the foods and beverages industry. In the fragrance industry it is found in perfumes such as chypres, in body care products and in oral hygiene products.[1] It is also used in household products as a fragrance. It has no reference of traditional use as an essential oil, but is presently used by aromatherapist for a variety of reasons.


Although the aroma of spearmint is similar to that of peppermint, spearmint essential oil is sweeter, less pungent. It is yellow to greenish in colour and is thin in consistency.

M. spicata grows to an average height of 75cm from its creeping rhizome. The stem is quadrangular and often densely pubescent. The leaves of M. spicata are ovate, oblong-ovate or lanceolate, occasionally pubescent and have several teeth running along the side. Each of the wrinkled leaves is decussate, running along the sides of the quadrangular stem, and is distinctly odourous. Between June and October, M. spicata produces slender spikes of inflorescence which form whorls along the axis of the herb’s bracts. The flowers are often pink, lavender or white and range in size from 2mm to 3mm.

Chemical Constituents

1, 8-Cineole [1][2]

Medicinal Uses

Appetite Stimulant+++

Antifungal: The antifungal activity of M. spicata oil was demonstrated against food born, animal and human pathogens. This shows that it could be used as a natural preservative.[3]

Antimicrobial: Spearmint oil enhanced the antibacterial action of nitrofurantoin against Enterobacteriaceae.[4] Antibacterial activity has been shown against Helicobacter pylori, Salmonella enteritidis, Escherichia coli O157:H7, and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). [5] In addition, in a study involving 45 essential oils, spearmint oil showed antimicrobial activity against the broadest group of viruses, fungi and bacteria.[6] In an in vivo setting, spearmint oil inhibited biofilm pathogens that could potentially lead to dental caries.[7]

Radioprotective: M. spicata oil was examined in an animal model established to review the oil’s gastroprotective and calcium channel antagonist properties. Radiation therapy often results in conditioned taste aversion (CAT) which is a behavioral side effect that affects patient perceived outcomes. In this analysis, Spearmint oil could be an effective addition to radiation therapy.[8]

Insecticidal: Using fumigation, twenty essential oils were tested against various larvae. Spearmint essential oil showed good insecticidal activity against Lycoriella ingénue.[9]

Traditional Use

The essential oil of Spearmint does not have a history of traditional use.[1] However, in the present it is used for the following purposes:

Digestive Aid++++

There are no studies available at this time to support this current use of this essential oil.

Contraindications and Precautions

This oil is considered safe and non-toxic when used as directed.

May cause irritation to mucous membranes.[10]

Not to be used by pregnant or nursing women.


[span class=alert]Keep out of reach of children as oils are highly concentrated.Essential oils are irritating to the eyes.  Avoid contact with eye area.Always dilute essential oils with carrier oil, lotion, cream or gel even when using in diffuser or bath.Essential oils are sometimes prescribed to be used internally, but should only be used internally under professional supervision.[/span]


1.     Lis Balchan M. Aromatherapy Science: A Guide for Healthcare Professionals. London: Pharmaceutical Press; 2006:312-313.

2.     Gershenzon J. Biochemical and Histochemical Localization of Monoterpene Biosynthesis in the Glandular Trichomes of Spearmint (Mentha spicata). Plant Physiol. April 1989;89(4):1351–1357.

3.     Soković MD. Chemical composition of essential oils of Thymus and Mentha species and their antifungal activities. Molecules. 2009;14(1):238-249.

4.      Rafii F. Comparison of essential oils from three plants for enhancement of antimicrobial activity of nitrofurantoin against enterobacteria. Chemotherapy. 2007;53(1):21-25.

5.     Imai H. Inhibition by the essential oils of peppermint and spearmint of the growth of pathogenic bacteria. Microbios. 2001;106(1):31-39.

6.     Chao SC. Screening for Inhibitory Activity of Essential Oils on Selected Bacteria, Fungi and Viruses . J. Essent. Oil Res. Sep 2000;12(5):639-649.

7.     Rasooli I. The effect of Mentha spicata and Eucalyptus camaldulensis essential oils on dental biofilm. Int J Dent Hyg. Aug 2009;7(3):196-203.

8.     Haksar A. Mint oil (Mentha spicata Linn.) offers behavioral radioprotection: a radiation-induced conditioned taste aversion study. Phytother Res. Feb 2009;23(2):293-296.

9.     Park IK. Toxicity of plant essential oils and their components against Lycoriella ingenua (Diptera: Sciaridae). J Econ Entomol. Feb 2008;101(1):139-144.

10.  Tisserand R. Balacs T. Essential Oil Safety. Churchill: Livingston; 1995:210.

Explore Further

Consumer Data

Consumer data including medicinal herbs, dietary supplement monographs, health condition monographs and interactions and depletions.                                    

Read More
Professional Data

Professional data organized into medicinal herbs, dietary supplement monographs, health condition monographs, T&CM herbs, formulas, health conditions, interactions and depletions.

Read More
International Data

We offer International linkages to provide extensive content pertaining to many facets of T&CM as well as Integrated Medicine. Please register for access.    

Read More