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Known as mentha aquatica in scientific circles, watermint is a perennial plant that is found in many parts of Europe, especially in the northern section of the continent. Often found in shallow areas of larger bodies of water, watermint is often crossed with spearmint to aid in the creation of new peppermint plants. Unlike peppermint, watermint is a plant that is pollinated by insects, so it is possible to produce new plant through pollination and by rooting cuttings.
Shallow water, coupled with a soil that is somewhat acidic is usually an ideal breeding ground for water mint. Generally, the plant will remain above the surface of the water, and is characterized by leaves that feature a green and purple coloration, and deep purple stems. The flowers on watermint plants are usually within a range that runs from pink to lilac, with the blooms appearing during the middle to late summer of the year. The leaves are especially important in the use of watermint, and forms the basis for most of the currently applications.
In the kitchen, dried watermint leaves can be used to brew an excellent, aromatic tea, or mixed in with other teas to create tasty combinations. The oil derived from the watermint plant can also be used to add flavor to oil and vinegar based dressings, which can be used for green salads or to give raw fruits and vegetables a little extra taste. The mint also can be added to cake batter, providing an unexpected burst of flavor to chocolate and lemon cakes.
Around the house, watermint also can be used in several ways. For centuries, the plant has been used to provide natural pest control, as mice and flies are repelled by watermint. As a cleaning agent, watermint is an excellent antiseptic when mixed with a small amount of water. When it comes to hygiene, watermint may be used in soaps and mouthwashes, as well as use as a facial astringent. A more recent addition to the several uses of watermint is as part of the formula of some shower gels, since it provides many of the same benefits of bathing with products that contain peppermint.
From a medicinal perspective, watermint is also understood to be an excellent choice when it comes to cleaning surface wounds, removing excess oil from the face, calming ulcers, and helping to relieve indigestion. As part of aromatherapy, watermint is understood to be an ideal option in helping to ward off depression, and restoring emotional equilibrium. In some schools of alternative medicine, burning incense made with watermint is recommended as a way to relieve stuffy noses and other temporary and minor cold symptoms. While watermint may not be used for as many different applications as spearmint or peppermint, there is no doubt that the plant continues to be a valuable asset around the home.