This mint has more of a camphorous, high, cold
than the domesticated varieties like spearmint
and is nowhere near as sweet; it is in fact the major source of
natural menthol. Because of that, it doesn't have the same sort
of foodie or emotional associations as the other mints, which can
be a real advantage in scentwork. It grows in a necklace
around the Pole in the Northern Hemisphere, which makes it perhaps a bit
more transcultural than other mints as well.
Mints are often ruled by Venus, and we see this even in wild mint's historical
use in Cheyenne love magic (they chewed the leaves, carried them,
or made a tea of this herb for attacting love), but this mint has a lot of Air to it on account
of it not being sweet like other mints and its history as a treatment for lung-related ailments.
That doesn't stop it from being protective. Mice and rats hate it,
which makes it a great strewing herb (and it has likewise been added
to grain bins to help keep out varmints) but also indicates how helpful
it would be at keeping less material vermin out, like obnoxious
spirits--in my opinion, especially because this is an Air herb.
Consider it as an ingredient in spiritually protective potpourri,
for example. Wild mint has had plenty of mundane uses as well. The Cheyenne made a tea to treat various complaints
from wild mint, macerated it in oil to make a hair dressing (a neat
used it as a potpourri. Various tribes drank wild mint tea as a treatment for colds and
stomach complaints or sprinkled the dried herb on food, their floors,
or their bedding as a non-toxic bug repellent. The Paiute drank
the tea as an aid in keeping cool. The Sioux used it in hunting
to hide the scent of humans. Thompson Indians added it to pillows
to freshen them. Also known as cornmint, brook mint, and field mint.
How to Grow Wild
Like many plants with very small seeds, wild mint
is surface sown. That means that you first get your planting medium
wet, preferably with a soaking of a dilution of liquid kelp, and
then sprinkle the seeds over the surface, gently tamping them in
with your fingertip. Some sourc es insist that you have to keep
surface-sown seeds under a plastic cover, but I have never done
this. You just want to make sure they don't dry out, or they will
be killed. I usually just mist such plantings every morning and
bottom-water once they sprout. Transplant seedlings out to full sun/light shade.
It prefers moist areas but will grow in drier soil than most other
mints. It gets up to 1.5-2ft/.5m tall and up to 3ft/1m wide but more commonly
bees, wasps, and small butterflies get nectar from the flowers.
This is a perennial that grows not only from seeds but from runners
underground, so don't plant it where it's not okay for it to spread.
Wild mint is a good companion planting for brassicas
and tomatoes, repelling bugs. Deer generally don't eat this plant;
it gives ruminants indigestion, although it is fine for us scavenger
types. The flowers of this particular
subspecies harvested from the wild are usually white instead of violet, as in the picture--there's
a lot of variability with mints, especially this one. It begins
in July; Harvest
leaves as the flowers begin to show.
100 seeds $3.50
Witchcraft & Magic:
© 2013, 2015 Harold A. Roth; No reproduction without permission