Wild mint/Podina Khushk (پودینہ خشک) is an herbaceous perennial herb that grows to a height of 10 to 60 cm. This downy herb has running rootstocks and a rigid branching stem. The lanceolate oblong leaves are simple and sharply toothed, paired in opposites with minute hair. They are 2 to 6.5 cm in length and 1 to 2 cm in width. The pale purple flowers (sometimes white or pink) are found in clusters at the stem where each flower measures 2 to 4 mm in length. The plant is native to the temperate regions of Europe, western and central Asia (eastern Siberia and east of the Himalayas) and North America. It is also known as Corn Mint, Dry Mint and Mentha Arvensis.
Uses and benefits of Wild Mint:
- Wild mint is used as a carminative and an expectorant.
- The plant is highly effective in treating headaches, rhinitis, cough sore throat, colic, prurigo and vomiting.
- It serves as a good blood cleanser, since it is antiseptic and antibacterial.
- Wild mint plays a significant role in alleviating swollen gums, mouth ulcers and toothaches.
- Crushed and bruised wild mint leaves are used in treating insect bites.
- The decoction and infusion of its leaves and stems helps in fever, stomachaches, dysmenorrhea and diuresis.
- Fresh leaves of wild mint are crushed and sniffed for dizziness. Crushed leaves are also applied on the forehead and temple, to cure headaches.
- The menthol extracted from the plant is used in preparing balms.
- It is used as a flavoring agent in many culinary preparations.
- Mint oil is not safe for infants and children, especially when applied around the nose, as it can cause serious breathing problems.
- The oil should not be used by pregnant and breastfeeding women and people with liver disease or damage, asthma and gallbladder conditions, like inflammation, gallstones or a blocked bile duct.
- When applied directly on the skin, mint oil can allergic skin reactions, flushing, headache and vocal cord spasms.