This plant is has its origins in Europe but it has now naturalized in all temperate regions; despite its cultivation already started in the 17th century, this plant is not very common and known. Originally it was prescribed especially to women.
THE PLANT - Calamint is an herbaceous aromatic plant belonging to the Lamiaceae family; it has a stoloniferous root stock and thin and ramified upright stems (30 cm); stalked leaves are opposites, oval and with toothed margins in the upper part of the plant, and round shaped in the underside. Pink serrated flower blossoming is usually around June to August. The plant smell like mint. It can be frequently found both in plain and in mountain (1500 m), in cool and shade places and in uncultivated soils; it often forms wide colonies. It has flowering tops and leaves can be harvested, loosely tied and dried in shade and ventilated place.
PROPERTIES – It presents essential oil, tannin, mucilage, bitter substances. It is carminative, antispasmodic and tonic. It is used as mint. Its infusion is useful for all problems linked to bad digestion, beside stomach-ache, vertigos, and bronchial troubles. Its infusion can be added to water during the bath to obtain a tonic and stimulating effect or it can be used on the face (for the same purpose).
CALAMINTHA GRANDIFLORA: rustic perennial. H 40 cm, size 30 cm. Quadrangular stems emerging from creeping root stock. Inflorescences composed of tubular pink flowers, growing from middle summer to the beginning of autumn. Aromatic toothed oval and pubescent leaves.
CALAMINTHA GRANDIFLORA “VARIEGATA”: rustic perennial. As C. Grandiflora but with creamy variegated leaves.
CALAMINTHA NEPETA: perennial. H 30-60 cm, size 30 cm. Small white-purplish flowers from summer to autumn. Light grey leaves and stems, covered with thin hairs. Bees and butterflies are attracted by its intense and nice fragrance.
CALAMINTHA SYLVATICA SUBSP.ASCENDENS: major “mentuccia”, common Calamint. Rustic perennial. H 30 cm, size 20 cm. Purple flowers on thick inflorescences from the end of summer to the beginning of autumn. Heart shaped-oval leaves, with deeply toothed margins and mint-like smell.
CULINARY USE – it is used to aromatize meat and vegetables. It is believed to have an aphrodisiac property and for this reason Calamint is used in the production of a wine together with cinnamon, clove and vanilla.