Iranian Journal of Pharmaceutical Research (2004): Supplement 2:
2nd International Congress on Traditional Medicine and Materia Medica
Ethnoecology of wild mints in Turkey
Ozturk M.1, Gork C.2, Gork G.2
1Ege University, Botany Department, Bornova-Izmir, Turkey 2Mugla University, Biology Department, Mugla, Turkey
Genus Mentha is represented by 15 taxa in Turkey, most common being Mentha longifolia, M. suaveolens, M. pulegium and M. aquatica. All are perennial herbs, flowering in summer and reproducing with the help of seeds as well as vegetatively. These taxa are widely used by locals as condiment as well as for the preparation of mint tea aginst flue, lung and stomach disorders, whooping cough, and as diuretic. The plants flourish equally well on sunny and shady habitats, however growth on moist habitats and alongside the watercourses is more profuse with dark green coloured bigger leaves, short roots, longer shoots and higher fruit production. The soils are generally of sandy-loam texture, being calcareous or non-calcareous in nature, pH varying between acidic to alkalinee. Major constituents of the mint oil are menthone, isomenthone, pulegone and menthofuran. M. longifolia plants are 40-120 cm long, with white or purplish white coloured flowers, shoots contain 0.22% volatile oil, with 15-29% menthol content in dry matter and terpinolene lies around 20 ppm. M. suaveolens plants are 40-100 cm tall, with white or lilac coloured flowers, volatile oil content being 0.14%. M. pulegium is 10-40 cm tall, with lilac coloured flowers, volatile oil content in shoots is 0.12%, 60% being pulegon. These plants contain 90 ppm terpinolene. Pulegone in the samples growing on open dry flooded habitats is higher. M. aquatica plants are 20-90 cm tall, with lilac coloured flowers, shoots contain 0.42% volatile oil and 5-37% menthol in the dry matter. Only a small amount of Oleum Menthae is produced on the household basis in Turkey and major amount consumed by the pharmaceutical industry is imported. Out of 10 tons of Mentha pulegium exported by some mediterranean countries nearly 2 tons are from Turkey. This paper presents ethnoecological features of these wild mints on comprative basis and possibilities for their industrial evaluation.