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Species: Mentha longifolia L. Huds.
It is a species native to Europe, western and central Asia, as well as regions of non-tropical Africa. It is also sometimes referred to as M. spicata var. longifolia L., M. sylvestris L., M. tomentosa dUrv., M. incana Willd ..
Long-leaved mint - Mentha longifolia
It is a somewhat variable perennial herbaceous plant, with a perfume not unlike that of Mentha piperita. It has a creeping rhizome, with stems that rise from 40 to 120 cm in height. The leaves are oblong and elliptical in shape, lanceolate; they are from 5 to 10 cm long and from 1.5 to 3 cm wide, of a color that varies from gray to green in the upper part, whitish, or lighter in the lower part. The flowers are 3 to 5 mm long, in shades that also vary from lilac to purple, or even white; they are produced in dense clusters on the branches of the stem. Flowering occurs in mid-summer.
Two subspecies spread in Europe:
- Mentha longifolia subsp. longifolia, widespread in Europe and north-western Africa;
- Mentha longifolia subsp. grisella (Briq.) Briq., widespread in south-eastern Europe.
Mentha longifolia subsp. grisella (photo Andrea Moro - University of Trieste)
Use in the kitchen and therapeutic properties
Its main property is digestive, as well as for its antiseptic and digestive properties it is very useful against inflammation of the mouth, thanks to the menthol contained in it. Its infusion is a cough suppressant, an aperitif taken before meals, it has digestive properties taken after, antifermentative and antispasmodic.
Use in the kitchen: Leaves and flowers are used to flavor raw salads, sauces, drinks