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Botanical Name: Minthostachys setosa
Description: Muna-Muna is a multi-branched, small leaved deciduous shrub prized for its medicinal and aromatic values. Essential oils can also be extracted and sold as a concentrate. Muna muna also known as Andean Mint, is a shrub, usually growing from 30 to 200 high, with white flowers and aromatic leaves (2.700 – 3.100 m). Used to support the respiratory system as well as a digestive aid.
Of Interest: The "mint-like" aromatic herbs of the genus Minthostachys are limited to the Andean zones of South America, with perhaps 12 species distributed at various altitudes from Venzuela to Argentina. The plethora of integrating phenotypes typical of Minthostachys spp. adds uncertainty to species determination. The use of vegetative characters to separate species is confounding. Species are separated by counting and measurement of calyx ribs.
History: Peppermint and its name has its roots in Greek mythology. Pluto - god of the dead - fell in love with Minthe, a beautiful nymph. Pluto's goddess wife Persephone became jealous and turned Minthe into a plant. Pluto could not bring her back to life but ensured that she would have a wonderful and fragrant aroma.
Properties: Cooling, analgesic, antispasmodic, anesthetic, decongestant, emmenagogue, expectorant, febrifuge, insecticide and stimulant.
Benefits: From the temperate zones of South America, this medium-sized herbaceous plant is an excellent carminative (dispels gas accumulation in the stomach) and general aid to the digestive system (stomach acid, indigestion, bacterial diarrhea, parasites). It also serves as a bronchial dilator and expectorant.
Helps people become clear headed and refreshes the spirits. Helpful for people who are unable to concentrate or who have mental fatigue. Said to relieve states of anger, hysteria and nervous trembling, excellent for depression.
On the body, it has a dual action: cooling when hot and warming when cold. As a remedy for colds, it halts mucous and fevers and encourages perspiration. Extremely important for its effect on the digestive system
Has a slightly anesthetic effect on stomach muscles. Good for travel sickness, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, colic, nausea and to keep drivers alert while on the road. Its cooling and pain relieving action seems to ease headaches, migraines and toothaches. Used in liniments for the relief of muscle pain, lumbago, bruises, joint pain and insect bites. Can be used to relieve any kind of skin irritation or itching but should be used in a dilution of 1% or less or the irritation could be made worse. Not much liked by insects and vermin, great for getting rid of ants and rodents. Blends well with cedarwood, cypress, lavender, niaouli and pine.
Traditional Use: M. mollis, tomentosa, setosa and other species:. As a as refreshing beverage, as a condiment in food, and as medicine for colds and coughs. Leaves are combined with storage potatoes; which have a definite inhibitory effect on tuber sprouting and also serves as a potato insect anti-feedant.
In Argentina M. verticillata tea is a well-known and widely commercialized product, packaged in tea bags as "Peperina". This species was once comercially distilled for a l-carvone rich essential oil. A scanned image from a boxtop from an Argentine peperina-containing commercial tea is displayed below
Parts Used: aerial parts
Aroma Description: Fresh, sharp, penetrating mint scent based on its high menthol content.
Safety Data: Not for internal use. Avoid use if pregnant. Should be kept away from eyes, likely to irritate skin and mucous membranes. Best avoided by pregnant women and nursing mothers as it could discourage flow of milk. May antidote homeopathic remedies.