Spearmint vs Peppermint
and are used for many of the same purposes, but they aren’t the same plant.
- Scientifically known as Mentha spicata, spearmint is a member of the Mentha genus and is native to Europe and Asia, although it has been naturalized all over the world throughout the course of history.
- Unlike spearmint, peppermint is actually a hybrid member of the mint family, having been produced by crossing spearmint and watermint, and thus bears the scientific name Mentha x piperita.
- The flavor of spearmint is a refreshing earthy taste, which is primarily from the R-carvone, one of the active ingredients, along with , cineol, , and menthol.
- The flavor of peppermint is stronger than spearmint and has a higher menthol content, which may affect the flavor so strongly. Peppermint also possesses different active ingredients, including pulegone, pinene, and much higher concentrations of menthol and menthone.
- In terms of its use, the distinct flavor of spearmint makes it popular as a flavoring agent in teas, herbal teas, and , as well as , , and chewing gums. , as well as in sweet
- There are about a dozen commercial and natural cultivars of peppermint, many of which are popularly used for cooking and medicinal purposes. Peppermint is used in similar ways, however, in , sweets, baked goods, teas, and cocktails.
- Named for its pointed leaves, spearmint can be used fresh or dried, and can also be frozen without losing its potency.
- Like many other hybrids, peppermint is sterile, and cannot with its own seeds, but it is very hardy and can spread its own runners to cover large areas.