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Herb Library

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DISCLAIMER: These pages are presented solely as a source of INFORMATION and ENTERTAINMENT and to provide stern warnings against use where appropriate. No claims are made for the efficacy of any herb nor for any historical herbal treatment. In no way can the information provided here take the place of the standard, legal, medical practice of any country. Additionally, some of these plants are extremely toxic and should be used only by licensed professionals who have the means to process them properly into appropriate pharmaceuticals. One final note: many plants were used for a wide range of illnesses in the past, but be aware that many of the historical uses have proven to be ineffective for the problems to which they were applied.




CALAMINT
LABIATAE
a.k.a. Basil Thyme, Common Calamint, Mountain Mint
(Calamintha sylvatica syn C. ascendens syn C. officinalis syn C. menthifolia syn Thymos acinos syn Acinos vulgaris)
image
Image
Also see: Lesser Calamint

NOT USED DURING PREGNANCY!

This small, erect, aromatic, slightly hairy, bushy plant grows from a creeping rootstock to about 1 foot tall with tiny white flowers having a faint mauve tone. Can be found growing on banks and mountain slopes throughout Europe and North Africa. Leaves are small, ovate and serrate; flowers appear in forked cymes in summer, the lower lip of the corolla being lobed and covered with purple spots. Its name is derived from the Greek 'kalos' meaning beautiful, and 'minthe' meaning mint. Today it is grown mainly as an ornamental and for its aromatic foliage. In action, it is similar to Lesser Calamint (C. nepeta) but not as strong.

PROPAGATION: By SEED in spring and autumn; by SOFTWOOD CUTTINGS in early summer; HALF-RIPE wood with a heel attached taken in August is best, to be followed by rooting in sandy compost; by ROOT DIVISION in spring. Plant 10 inches apart.
NEEDS: Well-drained to dry, neutral to alkaline soil in sun. Makes a nice edging for an herb garden.
PART USED: Whole plant, leaves.
HARVEST: LEAVES in summer which are used fresh or dried; PLANT while in flower.

USES

MEDICINAL:
Expectorant, diaphoretic.
An infusion of the stems in boiling water with a few drops of lemon juice added was once used to relieve flatulence, indigestion, shortness of breath, cramps, liver and spleen problems; also to lift spirits or melancholic states. Also, a straight infusion has been used for amenorrhea.
Was once combined with salt to expel worms and to use as a contraceptive.
Has been used to treat ashtma, bronchitis and bruises.
The oil has been used for toothache.

CULINARY:
Used to flavor wild game and other meats.




CALAMINT, LESSER
LABIATAE
(Calamintha nepeta syn C. nepetoides syn Satureja nepeta)
image
Image

!NOT USED DURING PREGNANCY!

A smaller version of the above; slightly hairy and grayish plant with lilac colored flowers on long stalks.

PART USED: Whole plant.
RELATED SPECIES:
ORNAMENTAL SAVORY image (Calamintha grandiflora): Has been used as seasoning or tea; has a minty aroma.
Calamintha nepeta subsp nepeta

MEDICINAL USES:
Has been used as a nerve tonic, uterine stimulant, and carminative.
Has been used internally for indigestion, nervous tension, depression, insomnia, painful menses.
Crushed leaves have been rubbed on muscle cramps for relief.





©2005 by Ernestina Parziale, CH

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