From the basil family and related to oregano and pennyroyal. It has a leaf like that of oregano except that it is longer, with lines along it and a rough texture. They are arranged in groups of four and have a well-known scent.
Grows in humid places and gardens, especially near to water. Amongst varieties of mint there is: ‘namam’ and there is no difference between the common variety and this other than the power of the scent, named namam or ‘the powerful green’. The root of namam creeps along the earth and looks like a worm, hence it is also called worm’s basil.
Hot and dry in the second degree, some say the third.
Uses and Characteristics
Purifies the digestive system, heats up the digestive system, calms hiccups, helps digest food, prevents phlegmatic and bloody vomiting, helpful in treating jaundice, emulsifies milk, prevents haemorrhage and the bursting of them and treats dog bites, useful in treating cold swelling and phlegm. If cooked with vinegar and mixed with rose oil and rubbed on the head and forehead it aids forgetfulness and headaches. Helps treat worms along with pumpkin seeds, activates the womb, foetus and placenta, helps in kidney stones and urinary blockage and colic, kills lice.
Pennyroyal, sweet marjoram
From Hadiqat al-Azhar (The Garden of Blossoms) by al-Wazeer al-Ghassani, a 16th Century pharmacopoeia. Translated by Miriam Hicklin.