Laminaceae – Mint
The square stem and opposite leaves are dependable markers for this family although there are a few exceptions:
• Thymus is a genus that lacks a square stem
• Verbena and Nettles are non-mints with square stems.
As these exceptions are rare and easy enough to remember, these guidelines remain helpful.
Many mints are famously aromatic and high in essential oils. Mint essential oils generally have a relaxing, anti-spasmodic effect.
In general, plants in the mint family have at least one of the following actions:
~Carminative – improves digestion through a relaxing effect on the GI tract
~Diaphoretic – promotes perspiration which can lower a fever
~Diffusives – help the flow of energy throughout the body, breaking up congestion and increasing circulation
The non-aromatic spp. include bitter nervines such as Motherwort and Skullcap
-Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)
-Mints – Peppermint, Spearmint. A Southwest native mint is Mentha arvensis, also known as Poleo.
-Lavender (Lavandula spp.)
-Thyme (Thymus vulgaris)
-Sage (Salvia officinalis)
-Holy Basil – Tulsi
-Basil (Ocimum basilicum)
-Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis)
These are non-aromatic or only slightly so:
-Horehound (Marrubium vulgare)
-Catnip (Nepeta cataria)
-Skullcap (Scutellaria spp.)
-Motherwort (Leonorus cardiaca)
-Self-Heal (Prunella vulgaris)