Mentha arvensis - Field Mint

Family: Mint - Lamiaceae Family

"Mentha arvensis is a PERENNIAL growing to 0.5 m (1ft 8in) by 1 m (3ft 3in).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 4 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from May to October, and the seeds ripen from Jul to October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees.It is noted for attracting wildlife.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and can grow in heavy clay soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers dry or moist soil." [PFAF]

"General: Perennial herb from a creeping rhizome; stems ascending or erect, 10-80 cm tall, single or branched, 4-angled, hairy, some of the hairs pointed downward on the angles; smells minty." [IFBC-E-flora]
"Leaves: Opposite, usually elliptic, vary from lanceolate to nearly circular, 2-8 cm long, 1-3 cm wide, more or less hairy, shallowly round- to sharp-toothed, tips pointed, bases tapered or rounded; short-stalked." [IFBC-E-flora]
"Flowers: Inflorescence of many-flowered, separated, axillary clusters; bracts leaf-like, the upper reduced somewhat but always longer than flowers; corollas tubular, light purple, 4-7 mm long, 4-lobed, the lobes nearly alike; calyces bell-shaped, 2-3 mm long, hairy, the teeth short, slightly longer than wide, triangular, blunt to sharp-pointed." [IFBC-E-flora]
"Fruits: Nutlets, 4 clustered together, egg-shaped." [IFBC-E-flora]
"Notes: Mentha x verticillata L. (M. arvensis x M. aquatica) has been reported from the lower Fraser Valley." [IFBC-E-flora]

Habitat / Range Wet marshes, meadows, thickets, and stream and lake margins in the lowland and montane zones; common throughout BC; circumboreal, N to AK, YT and NT, E to NF and S to DE, MO and CA; Eurasia. [IFBC-E-flora]
Arable land, heaths, damp edges of woods[5, 17]. Europe, including Britain, from Scandanavia south and east to Spain, N. Asia and the Himalayas. [PFAF]

Origin Status: Native [E-flora]

USDA Flower Colour: White
USDA Blooming Period: Spring
USDA Fruit/Seed characteristics:

Colour: Brown
Present from Summer to Fall [USDA-E-flora]


"Although no records of toxicity have been seen for this species, large quantities of some members of this genus, especially when taken in the form of the extracted essential oil, can cause abortions so some caution is advised."" [PFAF]

Edible Uses


Essential Oil

Other Uses

Medicinal Uses
"Corn mint, like many other members of this genus, is often used as a domestic herbal remedy, being valued especially for its antiseptic properties and its beneficial effect on the digestion. Like other members of the genus, it is best not used by pregnant women because large doses can cause an abortion. Another report says that this species is not very valuable medicinally[4]. " [PFAF]

The leaves were boiled for a tea by some of the West Coast groups (French, 1965). The Saanich used them for flavouring food such as peas (Paul, 1968). According to Grover (1965), mint is good for general aches but no medicinal uses were mentioned in the Island Salish literature.[Turner&Bell]

EUROPEAN CORN MINT (Mentha arvensis L.)
Synonyms — M. austriaca Jacq., M. gentilis L. [HMH Duke]

"I have a great respect for the taxonomic diggings of Art Tucker, who has tried to clarify the differences between the European corn mint, Mentha arvensis, and the North American corn or field mint, Mentha canadensis. So, under Mentha arvensis I have aggregated most data from European workers or those Americans who are strongly influenced by them. Strangely, Moerman (DEM below), working with American Indians, had very separate entries for M. arvensis, which he called wild mint, and Mentha canadensis, which he called Canadian mint. I suspect that only Tucker and Debaggio, of the references cited, are capable of distinguishing the microspecies of mints. PH2 indicates it for “liver and gallbladder complaints” but contraindicates it for “gallbladder inflammation and severe liver damage.” Ask your doctor (JAD, mimicking TV commercials)." [HMH Duke]

"Activities (European Corn Mint) — Analgesic (1; BGB; DEM); Antibacterial (2; KOM; PIP); Antiitch (1; BGB); Antipyretic (2; KOM; PIP); Antiseptic (1; BGB; PH2); Carminative (2; KOM; PH2; PIP); Cholagogue (2; KOM; PH2; PIP); Detoxicant (1; JNU); Secretolytic (2; KOM; PH2; PIP); Stimulant (f; DEM); Tonic (f; DEM)." [HMH Duke]
Select Indications (European Corn Mint) —Bronchosis (2; PHR; PH2); Cardiopathy (f; DEM; PHR; PH2); Catarrh (2; KOM; PH2; PIP); Cholecystosis (2; KOM; PHR; PH2); Cold (2; DEM; FAD; PHR; PH2); Colic (2; DEM; FAD); Cough (2; DEM; PHR; PH2); Dermatosis (f; PH2); Diarrhea (f; FAD; PH2); Dyspepsia (1; FAD; PH2); Dyspnea (f; PHR; PH2); Enterosis (2; KOM; PH2; PIP); Fever (2; DEM; FAD; KOM; PHR; PH2; PIP); Flu (f; DEM); Gas (2; KOM; PH2; PIP); Gastrosis (2; KOM; PH2; PIP); Headache (1; BGB; DEM; FAD; PH2); Hepatosis (2; PHR; PH2); Infection (2; PHR; PH2); Inflammation (1; PH2); Itch (1; BGB); Myalgia (f; PHR; PH2; PIP); Nausea (f; BGB; DEM; LAF); Neuralgia (f; PHR; PH2; PIP); Pain (2; BGB; DEM; PHR; PH2); Pharyngosis (2; PHR; PH2); Respirosis (2; KOM; PH2; PIP); Stomatosis (2; PHR; PH2); [HMH Duke]
"Dosages (European Corn Mint) — 2–8 drops EO/day (KOM; PH2; PIP); 1–2 drops rubbed on head for headache (PH2); 10–12 drops EO applied to compress over heart 10–15 minutes (PH2); 2 drops EO added to water or tea and drunk (PH2)." [HMH Duke]
"Contraindications, Interactions, and Side Effects (European Corn Mint) — Not covered (AHP). “Health hazards not known with proper therapeutic dosages” (PH2). Contraindicated in biliary calculi, cholecocystosis, hepatosis, and occlusion of bile ducts. No drug-drug interactions or side effects noted (KOM; PIP). Use only in consultation with a physician (KOM). Do not place mint oils on the face of infants (KOM). Sensitive persons may experience gastric distress (KOM). Although Commission E approves it for gallbladder disorders, it is contraindicated for inflammation of the gallbladder. “Volatile oils containing menthol can worsen the spasms of bronchial asthma” (PH2)." [HMH Duke]

"An easily grown plant, it succeeds in most soils and situations so long as the soil is not too dry[1, 16, 200]. This species tolerates much drier conditions than other members of the genus[238]. Prefers a slightly acid soil[16]. Grows well in heavy clay soils. A sunny position is best for production of essential oils, but it also succeeds in partial shade. Plants are hardy to at least -15°c[238]. 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. Polymorphic[200]. The whole plant has a very strong, almost oppressive, smell of mint[245]. The flowers are very attractive to bees and butterflies[24]. A good companion plant for growing near brassicas and tomatoes, helping to deter insect pests[20]. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer[233]." [PFAF]

"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." [PFAF]



Page last modified on Wednesday, July 10, 2019 10:07 PM