Mentha arvensis L.

Last updated: 26 May2015

Scientific Name

Mentha arvensis L.


Mentha austriaca Jacq., Mentha gentilis L. [1]

Vernacular Name

Malaysia Pohok [2], pudina, pohok- pokok kepari [3]
English Mint, field mint [2], corn mint, japenese mint, marsh mint, peppermint, wildmint [4]
China Bo he, fan ho, pa ho, po ho [4]
India Padina, podina, pudina [4]
Indonesia Daun poko, bijanggut (Sundanese); janggot (Javanese) [2]
Thailand Min Indonesia [4]
Singapore Pokok kerpari [2]
Philippines Polios [2] ablebana, herba buena, hierba buena, yerba buena [4]
Cambodia Chi poho [2]
Vietnam B[aj]c, h[af], b [aj]c h [af] nam [2][3]
France Baume des champs [2]
Brazil Hortela-do-brasil, hortela-japonesa,hortela-menta [4]

Geographical Distributions

Mentha arvensis is native to Europe and northern and central Asia and is cultivated in many parts of the world var. arvensishas also been introduced in Malesia from Europe. [2]

Botanical Description

M. arvensis belongs to the family Lamiaceae and does not grow wild in peninsular Malaysia, where it scarcely ever flowers. It is cultivated on damp soil. There are two varieties: Mentha arvensis var. arvensis (Europe, western Asia) and Mentha arvensis var. piperascens (eastern Asia). [5]

An aromatic, stoloniferous herb up to 60 cm tall, often rooting on lowest stem parts; stem prostrate, quadrangular, pubescent with appressed hairs. [2]

The leaves are decussately opposite, simple, lanceolate to broadly lanceolate, 2.5-4.5(-7) cm x 1-2.5(-3) cm, long-cuneate at base, acute at apex, serrate but entire at base, membranaceous, sparingly hairy above, glabrous beneath; petiole 0.5-1 cm long; stipules absent. [2]

The inflorescence consist of short, fascicled cymes in the axils of the leaves forming a verticillaster, bracts linear or subulate. [2]

The flowers small, bisexual; pedicel 2-2.5 mm long; calyx tubular-campanulate, 2-3 mm long, 5-toothed, appressed hairy; corolla funnel-shaped, 4.5-5 mm long, 4-lobed, faintly 2-lipped due to the broader, emarginate upper lobe, puberulent outside, violet or lilac; stamens 4, slightly didynamous, filaments inserted on the corolla tube, erect, anthers 2-celled; disk entire and uniform; ovary superior, consisting of 2 carpels each of which is 2-celled, style with 2 short branches. [2]

The fruit consisting of 4 dry 1-seeded schizocarpous nutlets enclosed in the persistent calyx; nutlets ellipsoid, about 1 mm long, finely granular, often pointed at apex and with a large lateral scar below. Also, seedling with epigeal germination, cotyledons petiolate, circular-oblong, rounded to truncate at apex, hypocotyl elongate, epicotyl nearly absent. [2]


Soil Suitability and Climate Requirement

No documentation

Field Preparation

No documentation

Field Planting

No documentation

Field maintenance


No documentation

Weed Control

No documentation

Water management

No documentation

Pest and Disease Control

Mint crops are affected by a number of fungal diseases, particularly when grown in regions with a warm and humid climate. Severe leaf shedding is caused by the mint rust Puccinia menthae and Fusarium spp. Powdery mildew caused by Erysiphe cichoracearum appears to be the most serious problem in India. Verticillium wilt is the major disease in peppermint and spearmint crops in the United States. Collar rot developed in an experimental plantation of Japanese mint in Papua New Guinea, resulting in the wilting and death of shoots; it was caused by Marasmiellus epochnous. Mints are reported to be attacked by a large number of insect pests, the most serious of which are moths. [2]


In Vietnam, 2-3 harvests per year can be obtained from Japanese mint. The first harvest is 100-130 days after planting, when the lower leaves turn yellow and the crop is flowering, the second harvest is carried out 80-100 days after the first, and the third 80-90 days after the second. If harvesting is delayed and leaves start falling, oil yields will be lower. The oil content decreases rapidly after the full bloom stage.[2]

Postharvest handling

Mint oil is obtained by distillation of fresh or slightly dried plant material. The crop should not be excessively dried in the sun. To obtain good quality oil, the herb is distilled as rapidly as possible to prevent hydrolysis of esters and alteration of other constituents by excessively long exposure to steam. It usually takes 1.5-2 hours to complete the process of distillation in a well-designed still with good steam pressure. In the case of small-scale farming a direct-fired still can be used, but the oil yield depends on the efficiency of distillation equipment.[2]

Estimated cost of production

No documentation

Chemical Constituent

The M. arvensis leaf and oil contain acetaldehyde, amyl alcohol, methyl esters, limonene, β-pinene, β-phellandrene, cadinene, dimethyl sulphide, and traces of α-pinene, sabinene, terpinoline, trans-ocimene, g-terpinene, fenchene, α-thujone, β-thujone, citronellol and luteolin-7-O-rutinoside. [6]

M. arvensis consists of menthol (35-70%), menthone (15-30%), (-)-menthyl acetate (4-14%) and pulegone (1-4%).

Other chemicals include:

(+)-1,2-Epoxyneomenthyl acetate, (+)-8-acetoxy carvone, (+)-carvone, (+)-isomenthone, (+)-menthofuran, (+)-neomenthol, (+)-octan-3-one, (+)-piperitenone, (+)-piperitenone-oxide, (+)-piperitone, (-)-borneol, (-)-carvone, (-)-linalool, 1,8-cineol, p-menthen-3-one, 3’,4’,5,7-tetrahydoxy-flavone-7-α-L-rhamnosyl-β-D-glucoside, 3’,5,7-trihydroxy-4’-methoxy-flavone-O-β-D-glucoside, 3-methylpentanol, acacetin-7-O-β-D-glucoside, acetic acid, α,β-hexenic acid, α,g-hexenylphenyl-acetate, anisaldehyde, β-car-3-ene, β-caryophyllene, Calcium, camphene, caproic acid, carvomenthone, cineol, cis-isopulegone, cis-ocimene, Copper, D-3-octanol, diosmetin-7-O-β-D-glucoside, ethyl-amyl-carbinol, eugenol, formic acid, fulfural, germacrene-D, hesperidine, Iron, isomenthol, isopulegol, isopulegone, isovaleraldehyde, linalool-acetate, luteolin, Magnesium, Manganese, menthofurolactone, myrcene, neoisomenthol, neoisopulegone, octane-3-ol, p-cymene,  p-cymol, p-menthan-trans-2,5-diol, Potassium, raffinose, resin, rosmarinic acid, sabinene-hydrate, santene, Sodium, stachyose, tannin, trans-isopulegone, Zinc. [7]

And more recently, linarin ( acacetin-7-O-β-D-rutinoside)  was extracted from the flower of  Mentha arvensis. [5]

Plant Part Used

Entire plant, aerial parts, leaf and oil. [3]

Traditional Use

In Japan, this plant is valued as a home remedy for coughs and colds. It is used in small amount in the mixtures of lotions, ointments and creams to treat skin disorders. It acts as an antipruritic, an antiseptic, a counterirritant, a stimulant and an anaesthetic in treating dermatological cases. The entire plant, apart from the root, is used to treat coryza, fever, headache, rhinitis, cough, pharyngitis, arthralgia, neuralgia, abdominal colic, nausea, vomiting, dyspepsia, diarrhea and prurigo. It is also claimed to be an emmenagogue. [3] The aerial part is used in Chinese medicine as a cooling remedy for colds, influenza, headache, sore throat and eye inflammation. It is also used as a liver stimulant. [3]

The mint oil is used orally to treat flatulence, catarrhs of upper respiratory tract and gastrointestinal and gallbladder disorders. It is also used externally for the treatment of myalgia and neuralgic ailments. It has been reported to have been used in Chinese medicine to treat indigestion, nausea, sore throat, diarrhea, colds and headaches. [3] The leaves are pounded with lime juice and the paste is applied to the forehead to relieve headaches. [3]

M. arvensis is a common flavoring agent in foods and beverages. In manufacturing, the oil is used as a fragrance in soaps and cosmetics, and also as a flavoring agent in pharmaceuticals. [6] The most common use of M. arvensis today is as a flavoring agent in a variety of oral products, including toothpastes, chewing gum and after-dinner mints. [8] The plant is also used as an insect repellent. [9]

Preclinical Data


Antibacterial activity

The effect of M. arvensis essential oils on the proliferation of Helicobacter pylori, Salmonella enteriditis, Escherichia coli and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus was examined in a study. The essential oils inhibited the proliferation of the above strains in liquid culture. They also exhibited antibacterial activity in phosphate-buffered saline. Thus, essential oils showed as potential antibacterial agents for inhibition of the growth of the pathogens. [10]

Radioprotective activity

A study to evaluate the radioprotective effect of M. arvensis was carried out on mice exposed to whole body gamma radiation. The results showed that the 10 mg/kg non-toxic dose of chloroform extract of M. arvensis provides the best protection against the radiation-induced sickness and mortality. [11]


No documentation

Clinical Data

Clinical findings

No documentation

Side effects

When taken orally, the essential oils can cause heartburn, nausea and vomiting, and allergic reactions such as headache and flushing. Topically, it can also cause skin irritation and contact dermatitis. [6]

Pregnancy/Breast Feeding

Expecting mothers should avoid taking this herb because in large doses it can cause miscarriage. [9]

Interaction & Depletion

No documentation

Interaction with drug

  • Antacids can cause premature dissolution of enteric-coated M. Arvensis oil. [6]
  • Preliminary study suggests that M. Arvensis oil inhibits cyclosporine metabolism and may increase cyclosporine levels. [6]
  • Preliminary evidence shows that M. Arvensis oil and leaf might inhibit cytochrome P450 1A2 (CYP1A2] substrates. [6]
  • Preliminary evidence shows that M. Arvensis oil might inhibit cytochrome P450 2C19 (CYP2C19] Substrates, cytochrome P450 2C9 (CYP2C9] Substrates, and cytochrome P450 3A4 (CYP3A4] Substrates. [6]
  • H2-Blockers can cause premature dissolution of enteric-coated M. Arvensis oil. H2-blockers include cimetidine, ranitidine, nizatidine and famotidine. [6]
  • Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs] can cause premature dissolution of enteric-coated M. Arvensis oil. [6]

Interaction with other Herbs

No documentation


No documentation

Poisonous Management

No documentation

Line drawing

No documentation


  1. The Plant List. Ver1.1. Mentha arvensis L. [homepage on the Internet]. c2013 [updated 2012 Mar 23; cited 2016 May 12]. Available from:
  2. La D M. Mentha arvensis L. In: de Padua LS, Bunyapraphatsara N, Lemmens RHMJ, editors. Plant Resources of South-East Asia No. 12(1): Medicinal and poisonous plants 1. Leiden, Netherlands: Backhuys Publisher, 1999; p. 344-349
  3. Herbal Medicine Research Centre, Institute for Medical Research. Compendium of medicinal plants used in Malaysia. Volume 2. Kuala Lumpur: HMRC IMR, 2002; p. 136.
  4. Quattrocchi U. CRC world dictionary of medicinal and poisonous plants: Common names, scientific names, eponyms, synonyms, and etymology. Volume IV M-Q. Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press; 2012. p. 111
  5. Oinonen PP, Jokela JK, Hatakka AI, Vuorela PM. Linarin a selective acetylcholinesterase inhibitor from Mentha arvensis. Fitoterapia. 2006;77:429-434.
  6. Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. Peppermint. [homepage on the Internet]. c1995-2017 [updated 2017 May 4; cited 2007 Oct 22]. Available from:
  7. Dr. Duke’s Phytochemical and Ethnobotanical Databases. Mentha arvensis. [homepage on the Internet] US Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service; c1992-2016 [updated 2013; cited 2016 May 27]. Available from:
  8. Boon H, Smith M. The complete natural medicine guide to the 50 most common medicinal herbs. Ontario, Canada: Robert Rose Inc., 2004; p. 227-231.
  9. Plants For A Future. Mentha arvensis. [homepage on the Internet]. c1996-2012 [cited 2016 May 27]. Available from:
  10. Imai H, Osawa K, Yasuda H, Hamashima H, Arai T, Sasatsu M. Inhibition by the essential oils of peppermint and spearmint on the growth of pathogenic bacteria. Microbios.2001; 106(Suppl 1):31-39.
  11. Jagetia GC., Baliga MS. Influence of the leaf extract of Mentha arvensis Linn. (mint] on the survival of mice exposed to different doses of gamma radiation. Strahlenther Onkol. 2002;178: 91-98.