HERB - Fwd: hist-brewing: mint tea

Kathleen H. Keeler kkeeler1 at unl.edu
Sun Oct 31 10:05:25 PST 1999

I don't think you have to postulate hybridization.

The active ingredients in plants are mostly "secondary chemicals" (ie not
part of primary metabolism) and there tend to be patterns with related
species having similar chemistry.
(Otherwise several mints wouldn't smell "minty").  Also the chemicals tend
to be the products of moderately complex biochemical pathways and often the
dominant chemical of one species is present in small amounts in another
species, and vice versa.

So I looked up pennyroyal in the Physician's Desk Reference for Herbal
Medicines: the dominant chemical is pulegone
For peppermint the chief components are quite different, but down there in
the "others" is pulegone.  So the active ingredient of pennyroyal is also
naturally found in peppermint.
It is not listed as occurring in any of the other mints in the
book--spearmint, water mint, Japanese mint--however, so some mint teas will
be pulegone free.

kkeeler1 at unl.edu

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