Written by Algoth’s Grove
“Crush the leaves between your fingers and you will sense the power that lies within this magical family, from the stomach to the psyche, from the head to the toes, it’s the mints that cure it all.”
Almost every herb found in your kitchen belongs to the Mint Family, Deadnettle or known in the world of botany as the Lamiaceae family. There are approximately 3500 species and 180 genera in the Lamiciaceae Family although the last revision of the entire family was published in 2004 and noted down 236 genera and 7534 species altogether.
Within the Mint family which is distinguished by square stems, simple opposite leaves and an incredible aroma when pressed between your fingers. Your ‘true mints’ are those in the mentha genus and these are the ones that we will be concentrating on in this article. It must be said though that the following herbs and plants used in your kitchen as well as in magic, belong to the Mint Family as well, these will be covered at a later stage.
The True Mints
The true mints are those categorised into the genus Mentha. There are great arguments as to which of the 18 species should be included into this genus and not one author has ever agreed on adding them all. For the purpose of magic and medicine we shall be concentrating on 3 species: Water Mint (Mentha aquatica), Pennyroyal (Mentha pulegium) and Bergamot Mint (Mentha citrata).
Water mint is known to be used in flavouring for salads and cooked food, it has an extreme minty taste and the leaves can be used cooked or raw. Medicinally this plant is used to treat an entire array of stomach ailments. The leaves have the following properties:
Beware of large doses of Water Mint as it has been known to be toxic to many individuals. Rather use it in conjunction with another medicinal herb to aid the properties of the medicine that you are making. Water Mint has also been used for mouth wash and treating sore throats and ulcers. It is excellent in headache ointment and works fantastically in tea for treating fevers.
Water Mint in magic is an excellent addition to any water spell. It is also very close to water nymphs or undines and if you intend on working with these spirits then using water mint in your magic will surely strengthen the connection. Mint in general is a fantastic recipe to add inside healing poppets and it was said that tying a sprig around your wrist would keep you in good health.
Pennyroyal is first and foremost an incredibly strong abortifacient with some serious side effects including intense hallucinations if the dose is too high. Pregnant or breastfeeding women should not touch this plant at all. It has been used to flavour foods, but its culinary use is not that widespread. The medicinal uses and magical uses of Pennyroyal are far greater. Pennyroyal has the following medicinal properties:
Pennyroyal is used widely in the treatment and alleviation of gout symptoms, however it must be used with extreme caution. The leaves are used in an infusion to treat skin ailments and itchiness. It is an excellent digestive medicine and relieves excessive flatulence and colic. Please use with caution.
In magic Pennyroyal was used in embalming. The magickal vibration of the plant teaches us to accept the process of rebirth. It is said to be associated with the major arcana card of the High Priestess in the tarot, and if kept in your shoes will ensure safe travel and healing of tired feet. In both Hoodoo and Voodoo, pennyroyal is a guardian plant spirit and wards off evil, bringing immense peace to a household. Tie a sprig on your bedpost if your lover and you are quarreling and it will be peacefully resolved. Give a gift with pennyroyal to a person whose intentions are ill toward you and they will have a change of heart. If you wish to banish, add pennyroyal to the mix.
Bergamot mint, or Mentha Citrata is again not safe in pregnant women and even though cases have not been reported of miscarriage, this plant does have the potential, therefore rather be safe than sorry. Bergamot mint is known by many names including, eau-de-cologne mint, pineapple mint and in the botanical world is an almost sub-species under the genus Mentha Aquatica discussed above.
The leaves are used, cooked or raw. It has a pleasant aroma and it is usually made into a tea, an ointment or used in aromatherapy as an essential oil. The Bergamot Mint has the following medicinal properties:
The medicinal ability of this plant to treat infertility in men is excellent, however it is detrimental to pregnant women. It is used widely to alleviate headaches and fevers, upset stomachs and aid in digestion. It is also used in mouth wash and toothpastes. It aids in strengthening the immune system and alleviates nervousness and rapid heartbeats.
Magickally, Bergamot Mint is known as the money herb. It is rubbed on wallets and purses, it is burned in shops and businesses to bring success to the place. A sprig of Bergamot Mint is hung in the doorway to attract customers and its magickal vibration is that of ongoing success.