Friday, November 22, 2013

Smelly Plant of the Month: Yerba Buena

Yerba Buena, or "good herb", is common in gardens all over the New World, from Chile to Alaska. I have a big pot of it in my front yard. Unfortunately, when I photographed it, we were having our usual 70kph winds and I couldn't get a good focus. But you can see it's green and minty!
A not-terribly good photo of my Yerba Buena in high winds.
Yerba Buena refers to different species of mint or mint-like aromatic plants. Each region has its own. In the US and Philippines, Yerba Buena usually refers to Clinopodium douglasii.  It's used in tisanes for headaches, stomach-aches, and coughs and colds. In parts of Central America, it is Mentha citrata, a true mint. Good old spearmint, Mentha spicata, is often labeled Yerba Buena as well.  In Cuba, it's Mentha nemorosa, or apple mint.  All Yerba Buenas can be used in cooking, and medicinally, though obviously the Clinopodium has slightly different properties than the Menthas.

But the most famous use of Yerba Buena is for the traditional Cuban Mojito!
Mojito courtesy of Wikimedia


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