Moroccan Mint is a medium sized perennial, with a spreading nature, reaching a height of 45-60cm. The soft, bright green leaves are small, close set and toothed along the margins. The parent plant for this hybrid is Spearmint, so the aroma is also clearly spearmint. The flowers are lavender to lilac and appear in mid to late summer. The botanical name for Moroccan Mint is Mentha spicata var. crispa, which is also the scientific name for other varieties, with the addition of specific cultivar names, eg: Moroccan Mint.
Most mints have a history of traditional medicinal or herbal use for fevers, headaches and minor ailments. These plants are often used as a digestive aid in the form or herbal tea. The essential oil is also antiseptic and may be toxic in very high doses. They should be avoided by pregnant women and must not be given, or placed next to the face of babies and young children, due to the potential for breathing difficulties associated with menthol.
Moroccan Mint has similar properties to Spearmint and its hybrids, so it may be used in the same manner for herbal remedies. However, other uses include use as breath freshener, a throat gargle, to ease headaches by rubbing leaves on the temple, insect repellent if rubbed on skin, and as a treatment for Irritable Bowel Syndrome and as a general digestive aid.
The aroma and taste is sweet and minty, which seems obvious, but appropriate for one of the most useful culinary mints. Moroccan Mint is combined with green tea and sugar to make the drink Moroccan Tea. This beverage is popular in the Arabian nations and often takes on a ceremonial purpose, especially when the tea is made for guests by the man of the house. Moroccan Tea may also be called Tuareg or Maghrebi and Moroccan Mint is grown especially for this purpose.
Regarded as the best mint for teas, Moroccan Mint is a superior selection of the common garden mint with more pungent leaves. Ideal for making mint teas, popping in iced water with some lemon juice and for adding a bit of zip to a garden salad.