Chinese Name: Bo he
Medical Name: Herba Menthae
Latin Name: Mentha arvensis ssp. haplocalyx, Mentha austriaca, or Mentha arvensis L., a perennial herb, of the Labiatae family
Origin: Leaves only
Taste: Pungent

Quotes from Chinese historical sources

TANG DYNASTY NEWLY REVISED MATERIA MEDICA: "It is indicated for febrile diseases due to pathogenic wind and for excessive sweating, and it treats distending pain in the chest and abdomen arising from contaminants."

METHODOLOGY OF MEDICATION: "It clears pathogenic wind from the head and relieves pathogenic wind-heat."

COMPENDIUM OF MATERIA MEDICA: "It relieves ailments of the throat, mouth and teeth, and treats scrofula, sores, scabies, rubella, pruritus and urticaria."

Western Research

Fitoterapia. 2006 Sep;77(6):429-34.
Linarin, a selective acetylcholinesterase inhibitor from Mentha arvensis.
Oinonen PP, Jokela JK, Hatakka AI, Vuorela PM.
Drug Discovery and Development Technology Center, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland.
Linarin (acacetin-7-O-beta-d-rutinoside) from the flower extract of Mentha arvensis showed selective dose dependent inhibitory effect on acetylcholinesterase.

J Agric Food Chem. 2005 May 18;53(10):4124-9.
Antioxidative activity of volatile extracts isolated from Angelica tenuissimae roots, peppermint leaves, pine needles, and sweet flag leaves.
Ka MH, Choi EH, Chun HS, Lee KG.
Department of Food Science and Technology, Dongguk University, 26, 3 Pil-Dong, Chung-gu, Seoul 100-715, South Korea.
Volatile extracts were isolated from dried medicinal plants [Angelica tenuissimae roots (AT, Angelica tenuissima Nakai), peppermint leaves (PL, Mentha arvensis L.), pine needles (PN, Pinus sylvestris L.), and sweet flag leaves (SF, Acorus gramineus Rhizoma)] using steam distillation under reduced pressure, followed by continuous liquid-liquid extraction (DRP-LLE). The extracts were then analyzed by gas chromatography (GC) and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). The major volatile constituents of AT, PL, PN, and SF were 3-butylidene-4,5-dihydrophthalide (32 mg/g), menthol (18 mg/g), thunbergol (2.1 mg/g), and cis-asarone (37 mg/g), respectively. The inhibitory activity (%) of the extracts against hexanal oxidation ranged from 33 to 98% at a level of 50 microg/mL. Among the volatile extracts, PL and PN increased cell viabilities by 10 and 24%, respectively, at a dose of 1 microg/mL, compared to that of H2O2-treated brain neuroblastoma cells, SK-N-SH. However, a 20% reduction in the malonaldehyde level, an index for lipid peroxidation, was observed at only 1 microg/mL concentration of PN.

Microbios 2001;106 Suppl 1:31-9
Inhibition by the essential oils of peppermint and spearmint of the growth of pathogenic bacteria.
Imai H, Osawa K, Yasuda H, Hamashima H, Arai T, Sasatsu M.
Functional Foods Section, Central Laboratory, Lotte Company Ltd, Urawa, Saitama, Japan.
Essential oils of peppermint, spearmint and Japanese mint and their essential oils exhibited bactericidal activity in phosphate-buffered saline.