Moroccan mint, scientific name Mentha spicata var crispa, is a perennial plant belonging to the Lamiaceae family and is a cousin of the well known peppermint. Moroccan mint has a sweeter taste than peppermint and, for this reason, can be used for cooking as a scented and healthy dressing but also to prepare the famous Moroccan mint tea.
Moroccan mint, properties
For what concerns the properties, the leaves of the Moroccan mint, rich in essential oils, result, like peppermint, antimicrobial and with a specific and powerful action against the bacteria of salmonella and escherichia coli. However, in comparison with peppermint, Moroccan mint shows a more efficient antifungal action (Salehi et al, Plants, Sep 2018). But Moroccan mint shows also important digestive properties, useful to counteract swollen belly and flatulence, it is antioxidant and analgesic and has proven to be able to soothe the pain in case of arthritis thanks to the main components of its essential oils such as carvone, limonene and menthol (Mahboubi et al, Complement Ther Clin Pract, Feb 2017 – Bardaweel et al, BMC Complement Altern Med, Jul 2018). Finally, according to scientific studies, herbal teas prepared with this type of mint are useful also in case of PCOS, or Poly-Cystic Ovary Syndrome, and hirsutism in a mild form in women by playing a role in inhibiting part of testosterone and increasing, on the contrary, the hormones responsible for ovulation and able to regulate the menstruation (Akdogan et al, Phytother Res, May 2007). Let’s see how to use Moroccan mint.
Moroccan mint tea and uses for cooking of Moroccan mint
To get the maximum benefit from the properties of Moroccan mint you can use it fresh to season pasta or vegetables. Yummy are the grilled zucchini seasoned with chopped Moroccan mint, a little extra virgin olive oil and a pinch of sea salt. In alternative, you can prepare the herb pesto to season spaghetti, you just have to blend in a blender 6 leaves of Moroccan mint, 30 leaves of basil, 3 leaves of sage, 3 sprigs of rosemary and a handful of parsley with a clove of garlic and a tablespoon of almonds, pour extra virgin olive oil until you get a creamy sauce and here you go an amazing dressing for pasta! Instead, if you prefer a scented drink let’s see how to prepare the Moroccan mint tea, digestive and refreshing. Bring to the boil a liter of water, remove from the heat and wait until it reaches 70°C. Pour 4 tablespoons of green tea, for example you can use the varieties sencha, that is a Japanese green tea rich in antioxidants and anticancer substances, or Chinese gunpowder, that is very easy to find, both in tea bags or, even better, in loose-leaves. Leave to brew for 5 minutes. After this time add a handful of fresh Moroccan mint and leave to brew for other 5 minutes. Then filter and drink! Since scientific studies (Posadzki et al, Br J Clin Pharmacol, Mar 2013) have observed that mentha spicata may interact with drugs, be careful if you are taking any medicine and ask always your doctor for advice.
Moroccan mint in pot
You can easily find in shops potted Moroccan mint. It is a plant that likes the sunlight, very resistant and easy to grow. Watering should be regular but only when the soil is dry.