Black Peppermint forms part of the great Mentha family which includes several hundreds of mint species. Peppermint itself is a very commonly used word and a flavour that is found countless commercial products from foods and drinks to toiletries and cosmetics, but strangely it is rarely found in gardens.
Black peppermint is unique from the other mints, it is the only mint that is accredited with the ability to boost mental clarity, increase concentration and relieve exam time fatigue. On top of its ability to help during exams and studying, peppermint is also an excellent digestive herb that relieves heartburn, ease nausea and colic and has recently been used in the treatment of migraines. It can also be used to clear spotty skin, unblock sinuses and ease spasms. It is such a lovely herb that no garden should be without it. For the above mentioned ailments peppermint can be taken in the form of a tea by adding Â¼ cup of finely chopped peppermint leaves and stems to one cup of boiling water. Let it stand for 5 minutes and strain, sweeten with some honey if liked and sip slowly! Alternatively for those hot summer days you can make your own delicious summer ice tea (see below) for a refreshing drink rich in antioxidants and vitamins:
Summer Ice Tea
1 Cup Lemon grass finely chopped
1 Cup Peppermint leaves and stems finely chopped
1 Litre boiling water
2 Litres Granadilla or Orange Juice
Add the lemon grass and peppermint in a jug and pour over the boiling water, let it stand 5-10 minutes and strain, set aside to cool, Once it is cool add the fruit juice and you may add some honey to taste. Serve with ice and add some fresh peppermint leaves.
Black peppermint is a low growing mint compared to its rival Garden Mint (mentha spicata) which is found very often in gardens and very often mistaken for peppermint. It has dark stems with dark green leaves which is where the name Black peppermint originates from. It has an intense peppermint flavour and is also the mint that is used commercially for essential oil production.
It grows quite vigorously and spreads on its own, it will need fertile and well composted soil, full sun and a good watering 3 times a week in order to thrive. This is also one of the most invasive mints but we have found that they do not take over the garden like they do in areas with cold winters.