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Species: Calamintha nepeta (L.) Savi
Other common names: Nepetella, Poleggio.
Synonyms: Satureja nepeta Sch., Satureja calamintha Sch.
Perennial herbaceous plant native to the mountain areas of the Mediterranean. Very common throughout Italy, it is found in meadows and uncultivated areas.
Mentuccia (photo www.la-grille-verte.net)
Very aromatic perennial plant, equipped with a creeping rhizome and stolons. The stems, quadrangular and hairy on the corners, are first lying down then erect, branching at the top, and can reach 70 cm in height.
The leaves are opposite, ovate, hairy, with subacute apex and weakly toothed revolved margin.
The flowers are gathered 3-9 on a peduncle at the axilla of the upper leaves and together form a compound inflorescence. The calyx is tubular, hairy to the jaw, with five apical teeth; the corolla is pink or purple. The fruit is a tetrachenium, enclosed by a persistent calyx.
Sow in light soil in spring. When the seedlings are sufficiently developed, transplant them into pots or full earth, in a sunny place. Adult plants can be multiplied by tip cutting or by division of tufts in autumn.
Collection and conservation
Collect young leaves before flowering. Consume them fresh or dry them in a shady and shady place. Store away from light and dry.
Use in the kitchen and therapeutic properties
The chopped leaves, with an aroma similar to that of mint, are used to flavor meat, fish, vegetables and mushrooms.
Therapeutic properties: Digestive, expectorant, carminative.