A low sprawling shrub with branches spreading in all directions. The presence of soft hairs and numerous glandular hairs, lends a velvety touch to the leaves and stems, and not to mention its pepper-mint scent that is released when it is rubbed or when the day is hot hot hot.
This is one of the reasons why part of my garden has a dedicated section to Pelargoniums. They come in many flavours from rose all the way to nutmeg scent, so if you live in a Mediterranean climate there is nothing better than to lie in your hammock in the early evening and smell the subtle flavours drifting around the garden. The fragrance is released as the heat of the day reacts with the volatile oils.
The Pelargonium Tomentosum is one of my favourite herbs, its uses are numerous, and its a cinch to grow. The best way to propagate it, is from cutting, rooting hormone is not needed. Also Pelargoniums are know not to be fussy when it comes to soil types, I have personally grown it in sandy soil and clay without any known problems.
The Pelargonium Tomentosum is best grown in semi-shade conditions, I have grown it in full sun, but it does tend to suffer.
One of my favourite uses is picking two to three leaves, brewing it in water and added it to my coffee. The peppermint flavour adds a smoothness to the coffee, or even hot chocolate, basically any hot drink. I add it to my Rooibos tea everyday, lets face it Rooibos tea is pretty boring by itself, and an added benefit is it's a digestive aid.
I have even baked with it. Lining the baking tray with Pelargonium Tomentosum leaves so the final product gets the peppermint infusion, you can infuse Pelargonium Tomentosum into any liquid, just brew it, don’t boil it, just simmer and let it stand and viola.
Its long been used as a remedy for conditions of the gastrointestinal tract. Taken after meals, it provides relief from indigestion, heartburn, flatulence and colic.
As a carminative with anti-spasmodic qualities, it provides relief for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) by easing intestinal cramps and relieving abdominal distension.
It is also used to treat nausea, morning sickness and travel sickness and even pain relief.
It's a must as a decongestant. Menthol, the primary active ingredient in peppermint is a proven decongestant. Traditionally, diluted peppermint oil has been used as an inhalant as well as a chest rub to treat colds, flu, fevers and even bronchitis. Today, menthol vapour is approved by the Food and Drug Administration as a remedy for colds and flu, particularly because of its expectorant and decongestant properties.
Personally I would not use peppermint oil that is sold commercially, they could contain possibly harmful impurities/additives, rather go straight to the source, Pelargonium Tomentosum, it's easy to grow, water-wise and fast growing.
Check out (http://www.greenplanet.co.za/plant.php?plant=351)
Article posted by: Bossiedokter (18 September 2011)
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