Mentha also known as Mint, are aromatic almost exclusively perennial herbs and are popularly known as “Pudina” in India. It belongs to family Lamiaceae. It is an energizing herb that can add flavor to many dishes. It is popularly used in cooking as a flavoring agent and its oil is used for flavoring mouth washes and tooth pastes.
Species: Mentha arvensis, Mentha citrate, Mentha spicata L., Mentha rotundifolia L., etc.
Origin and Distribution:
- Japan, China, Taiwan, Brazil, Argentina, Austria, Angola, North America, Vietnam, Thailand, South Africa, India, Pakistan and Nepal
- An annual or perennial vigorous bushy herb grows upto 1m tall.
- Entire plant is covered with soft tomentum (short, wolly hairs) and bears glandular or non-glandular hairs.
- They have widespreading underground and overground stolons and erect or prostate, weak, branched, square often reddish-violet or purple coloured stems.
- Leaves- simple, dark green, serrated, broad, ovate, lance-shaped, hairy on the underside, strongly aromatic.
- Flowers- pedicellate, bisexual, lilac- coloured, borne in clustered whorls in the axile of the upper leaves, blooms on June to August, very rarely produces fruits.
- Climate and Soil
- Tropical, subtropical and sub temperate climate. Usually preferred- Humid and warm climate.
- Temperature of 20-30 degree Celsius is good for rapid vegetative growth and high oil content.
- Light showers at planting and ample sunshine at the time of harvesting are preferred for its cultivation. Average rainfall- 100-200 cm/annum.
- Sensitive to frost and hailstorms.
- A well-drained loamy, silty loam to clayey loam soils, rich in organic matter is preferable. Rich moist soil and partly shaded location are ideal for its cultivation. Soil pH- 6 to 8.
- In case of acidic soil, liming is recommended.
- It can be propagated by cuttings of stems, roots/ Runners/ stolons/ suckers.
- Slightly thicker stems of 3-4 inches from the top should be taken for propagation by stem cutting. Cut should right below a node.
- Stolons are underground stems, light cream coloured, smooth and juicy which we formed at the end of creeping root stocks during winter. Multiplication through stolon is commercially practiced.
- Fresh succulent stolons of 8-10 cm long with 2-4 growing points are planted at a depth of 2-3 cm in well prepared land.
- Before planting the stolons should be treated with 0.3% Agallol solution for 5 minutes.
- Stolons are dipped in solution of 6-8 liters of cow urine and 50 liters of water upto 40-45 minutes.
- Spacing of 40-60 cm * 10-15 cm should be maintained.
- Sowing season- Jan- March and May-June. Optimum sowing season is Feb.
- Stolon rate: 200-300 kg of stolons/ha or 250-400 kg of suckers/ha. A piece should be 4-6 cm long with 2-4 nodes.
- Manures and fertilizers: 12-15 quintal FYM/ compost/ ha. 120:50-60:40-60 kg of NPK/ha. Full P and K along with one third of nitrogen are given as basal dose. Remaining nitrogen is applied in two equal doses at 6-8 weeks after planting and second 4 weeks later at harvesting. 20 kg of Zn/ha is recommended
- Irrigation: 8-10 irrigations during summer and 4-5 irrigations during autumn. Water stagnation in the field should be avoided by providing good drainage facility.
- Intercultural operations: 3-5 weedings and hoeing. 4 weeks to 14 weeks after planting is crucial for controlling weed. Recommended herbicides: Atrazine or Simazine – 1kg a.i./ha, Pendimethalin- 0.75 kg a.i./ha. Pre-emergence weedicides- Diuron, Sinbar, Etazine, 2-4 D or TCA may be used. 1 interculture should be done when a plant attain a ht. of 10-15 cm
- Crop rotations: Mint : Potatoes, Mint : Rice, Mint : Vegetables : Peas , based on the cropping system followed in the area
- Stolon rot- Treat the stolons with 0.25% Captan solution or 0.3% Agallol solution or 0.1%Benlate solution for 2-3 minutes before planting.
- Powdery mildew- Spray 5% Karathane at 15 days interval.
- Fusarium wilt- Apply Benlate, Bavisitin, etc.
- Leaf Blight- Apply copper fungicides.
- Sclerotium rot- Spray 0.5% Dithane Z-78.
- Insects pests: Mint leaf rollers, beetles, aphids, cutworms, termites and caterpillars. Spray 3% Heptaphane for termites and Metacid or Decis or Endosulfan for caterpillars.
Harvesting and Yield:
- Mentha plant is harvested 2-3 times a year.
- First harvest: It is done onset of the rains about 100-105 days of planting particularly when the flower buds start to open. After full bloom stage, oil content rapidly goes down. The crop is cut 10-15cm above the ground on bright sunny days since harvesting on cloudy or rainy days decreases the menthol content or increases menthone content in the oil.
- Second harvest: It is done 90-100 days after the first harvest usually on October. Cut the entire plants above the ground.
- Yield: It depends on the management practices and variety. Average yield of 15-25 tonnes/ha can be obtained. During first year, 150-160 kg of oil can be obtained whereas in subsequent years, 225-250 kg of oil can be obtained.
|S.N.||Principal chemical constituents||Secondary||Characteristics|
|1.||Menthol and menthone||Cineole, neomenthol, menthyl acetate, isomenthone, limonene, octanol, pulegone, thujone, beta phellandrene, pipertone, menthofuran, Isovaleric acid, Isovaleric aldehyde||The oil is colorless to pale yellow with minty odour. Slightly thick liquid. Strong fresh and somewhat litter sweet.|
|2.||Linayl acetate and menthol||Linalool, Linayl ester, free aldehyde||A pale yellow with strong fruity citrus odour|
|3.||Menthol||Linalool, Linayl ester, free aldehyde||A pale yellow oil|
|4.||Menthol and menthone and pipertone||Menthyl acetate, limonene, cineol, menthofuran, pulegone, iso-menthone, menthofuran||Apale yellow or greenish liquid, grassy mint camphoraceous odour|
|5.||Pulegone||Menthone, piperitenone, iso-pulegone||A colorless or pale yellow liquid with a fresh, pungent mint like odour|
|6.||Pinone||Menthyl acetate, limonene, cineol piperitenone, trans-iso pulegone||A pale yellow, delicious flavoured mint|
|7.||Menthol and L-carvone||Dihydrocarvone, phellandrene, limonene, cineol, pinenes, pulegone, menthone and linalool.||A pale yellow or olive mobile liquid, caraway like flavor.|
Anaesthetic, Antiseptic, Antimicrobial, Antispasmodic, Carminative, Cytotoxic, Digestive, Expectorant, Stomachic, Stimulant,Tonic, Cholagogue (stimulates the secretion and flow of bile into the duodenum), Astringent (causes contraction of organic tissues).
- Mentha is popularly used in cooking as a flavoring agent.
- Menthol, an active ingredient in the oil, pacifies intestinal and stomach linings while its cooling feature treats ulcers.
- Mentha essential oil assures the normal functioning of our body.
- The oil also possesses carminative properties that help with sluggish digestion, motion sickness, indigestion, colic, flatulence, food poisoning, dyspepsia, gas, intestinal peristalsis, acidity and nausea.
- The oil forms a strong protective shield on our skin and safeguards against bacterial and fungal infections.
- The oil is beneficial to treat rashes, itching and bites of insects.
- Menthol relaxes body muscles, treats spasms of muscles, reduces pain, avoids inflammation and promotes the circulation of blood.
- Inhaling the aroma of Mentha oil helps in the treatment of many respiratory problems. Bronchitis, asthma, cough and cold can also be treated with it.
- Mentha oil releases excessive heat from our body via sweat and decreases body temperature and eliminates toxins from the body.
- The oil acts as a remedy to treat a wide range of menstruation problems, including blocked menstruation and menstrual pain.
- The oil is used in some pharmaceutical preparations such as cough cold syrups, drops, mouth washes, herb teas in the form of menthol.
- It is extensively used in the preparation of tooth paste detergents, soaps, cosmetics, perfumes and especially industrial fragrances used by the food industry for flavoring confectionary, liquors, chewing gums, tobacco, pan masala, scanty cigarettes.
- Products such as Pudinhara, Sancho, Sparsh, Balms medicines are commercially used for remedy of indigestion and cold, coughs, fever and as anti-vomiting agent.