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The water mint (also called water balm or Bachmint) is one of the two archetypes of the well-known peppermint, but has a milder flavor. It is closely related to spearmint, but settles in even wetter terrain than this. Their healing properties are largely the same as peppermint, but are significantly weaker. The lack of sharpness makes the water balm easier for children to digest.
Profile of the water mint
- Scientific name: Mentha aquatica
- Common names: Bachmint, water balm
- family: Lipflower
- distribution: Europe, Lebanon, Israel, Levante, Turkey, Caucasus, parts of Iran and North Africa. Water mint belongs to the reed companies, so it grows where it is damp: on moor meadows, in broken and riparian forests, in thickets of willow, on the banks of the lake, river and stream. She loves slightly acidic mud.
- Parts of plants used: Leaves and flowering shoots, rarely the root
- application areas:
- Feeling of fullness
- irritated mucous membranes
Watermint - the most important facts
- Mentha aquatica is a relative of peppermint, but tastes milder because it contains less menthol. At the same time, it has a typical mint aroma. That is why it is considered an insider tip by chefs for desserts, game dishes and sauces for which peppermint would be too dominant.
- With less menthol, it is easier on the stomach than peppermint and is therefore ideal for mint teas.
- The common spearmint also likes it moist, but the water mint likes it even wetter and is a real swamp plant.
- The healing properties of water mint are similar, but weaker than that of peppermint.
- In 1698 spearmint was crossed with water mint in an English medicinal garden. This is how the peppermint we know came into being.
Watermint mainly contains essential oils (0.3 to 0.85 percent), including 40 to 50 percent menthofuran. In addition, there are alpha- and beta-pinene, beta-caryophyllene, 1,8-cineol, Germacren D, limonene, menthol and about seven percent tannins.
Mint kills germs, anesthetizes, stimulates the release of bile, relieves cramps and relieves pain. Tannins stimulate gastric juices and promote digestion, they contract blood vessels, inhibit inflammation, have an antimicrobial, antiviral and antioxidative effect, prevent secretions from being secreted and seal off.
In this respect, the medicinal plant can help with flatulence, gastrointestinal complaints and loss of appetite. It can be used against excessive sweating, inflammation in the mouth and throat in adults, inflammatory and oozing skin diseases, insect bites and small external cuts and burns.
Water mint applications
Mint tea and mint oil can be used against
- Stomach pain,
- flu infections,
- A headache,
- Menstrual pain
- and complaints of the bile.
Mint tea from the fresh or dried leaves and flowering shoots is used as a remedy. For this we tie gathered plants together in bunches and let them dry upside down in the shade.
Externally, we use the tea brewed from the dried leaves for baths, washes and compresses. These help against itchy skin and nerve pain. The drunk tea relieves stomach problems, digestive problems and headaches. When the respiratory tract becomes inflamed, we inhale the steam from the boiling tea water.
For the tea we pour two teaspoons of dried mint leaves with a quarter liter of boiling water, leave everything covered for about eight minutes, then strain it and drink the tea hot.
Fresh mint leaves
A porridge made from fresh mint leaves has a decongestant effect and relieves the pain of insect bites. It cools and anesthetizes. To do this, we crush a handful of the fresh leaves, spread this porridge on a cloth and place this as an envelope on the affected area.
We extract oil from the water mint by distillation using steam. It is better to buy the oil in a pharmacy, since it is expensive to manufacture. For a neuralgia, we rub the affected area with the oil, as well as for headaches. For colds, we put a few drops on a cloth and breathe in the escaping oils.
Mint leaves against bad breath
The smell of mint is part of toothpaste, but long before medical toothpaste was available, people chewed leaves of water mint - by the way, this also has a germicidal effect.
Side effects and contraindications
Caution: Mint oils can cause massive breathing problems in infants and young children if they come into the mouth and nose area. Therefore, please do not use the oil in babies and small children.
Heartburn with acid reflux in the esophagus can be aggravated by mint. The tannins counteract diarrhea, which also means that they lead to constipation in large quantities. Skin irritation is possible.
Plant water mint
Watermint is an excellent plant for swamp beds and water gardens, for garden ponds and wet planters on the balcony. It has few "special requests" and thrives well in muddy, slightly acidic soil with many nutrients - that is, typical swamp soil. On the terrace and balcony, you can enjoy many insects such as butterflies that feast on the flowers. Small flesh pink to purple flowers appear from July to October.
Like other mint, water mint spreads widely. You should plant the Bachmint in a pot (or net) in small garden ponds, otherwise it will soon cover the entire area. It is a very good water filter.
Maintain and harvest water mint
When planted in a water tub, swamp bed or garden pond, water mint does not need any special care - provided it is moist enough. It has no problems with temporarily drying water as long as there is still moisture in the ground. Water mint proliferates, and in order to curb this, you should level out the plants in autumn. Even after a rigorous pruning, the Bachmint sprouts again violently. At the beginning of March you can prune the plant just above the ground, the best way to shorten the shoots shortly after flowering.
You can harvest leaves and stems in the garden from April to August, the flowers from July to September. You can cut the mint almost back to the ground without damaging it.
Where can I buy water mint?
You can buy water mint in a pot in garden centers.
Dry the mint
Mint tea from the fresh or dried leaves and flowering shoots is used as a remedy. To do this, tie gathered plants together in bunches and let them dry upside down in the shade. To dry the leaves, you can also spread them out on a cloth.
To use fresh water mint, rinse the cut plants with clear water and shake them dry. Then pluck the leaves from the stems. At the beginning of March we can cut the entire plant just above the ground and immediately after the flowering we prune the shoots.
Water mint in the kitchen
Bachmint is the icing on the cake in desserts, desserts, tarts and fruit cocktails. But it also gives that "real" food that certain something, for example mint curries, pea and lentil soups, pumpkin, zucchini, bulgur or lamb.
It goes well with citrus fruits like oranges, limes, limes and lemons, with berries, melons and figs like refreshing smoothies and with green salads. The proven trio consists of mint, garlic and parsley, each of which is dominant enough to "stink" at each other.
In contrast to hotter mint with a lot of menthol, the mild water mint is also compatible with more subtle spices. Fresh water mint is best suited for the kitchen, use the dried one better as a medicinal plant.
One tip: The mint tastes fresh, so use it in the kitchen similar to citrus fruits and not necessarily for heavy meals. (Dr. Utz Anhalt)
Author and source information
This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.
- Hiller, Karl; Melzig, Matthias F .: Lexicon of medicinal plants and drugs in two volumes. Second volume L to Z, Spektrum Akademischer Verlag, 1999
- Biesalski, Hans Konrad; Pirlich, Matthias; Bischoff, Stephan C .; Weimann, Arved: Nutritional Medicine. According to the nutritional medicine curriculum of the German Medical Association, Thieme, 2017
- Chang, Chih-Ting; Soo, Wen-Ni; Chen, Yu-Hsin; Shyu, Lie-Fen: Essential Oil of Mentha aquatica var.Kenting Water Mint Suppresses Two-Stage Skin Carcinogenesis Accelerated by BRAF Inhibitor Vemurafenib, in: Molecules, 24 (12): 2344, June 2019, PMC
- Stafford, G.I .; Almqvist, J.P .; Vangsøea, S.A.K. et al .: Mild psychoactive constituents of Mentha aquatica L., in: South African Journal of Botany, 74/2: 389, April 2008, ScienceDirect
- De Laet, Chloé; Olszewski, Tomasz K .; Grison, Claude: Melliferous potential of Mentha aquatica, in: Journal of Apicultural Research, 58/5: 714-719, August 2019, Taylor & Francis Online