Agastache rugosa, the Korean mint, also known as wrinkled giant hyssop, purple giant hyssop, Indian mint, blue licorice, huo xiang (藿香), and Chinese patchouli, is an aromatic herb in the mint family, native to East Asia (China, Japan, Korea, Russian Primorye, Taiwan, India, and Vietnam).
Korean mint is a perennial plant growing up to 40–100 cm (16–39 in) tall, with square stalks that branch at the upper part. The oval-cordate leaves are oppositely arranged, 5–10 cm (2–4 in) long and 3–7 cm (1 1⁄4–2 3⁄4 in) broad, with coarsely serrated margins. Some leaves have hair and/or touches of white on the underside.
From July to September in the Northern Hemisphere, purple bilabiate flowers bloom in verticillasters that are 5–15 cm (2–6 in) long and 2 cm (3⁄4 in) broad. The calyx is 5–6 mm (0.20–0.24 in) long, with five narrow triangular lobes. The petals are 8–10 mm (0.31–0.39 in) long, lower ones longer and the ones inside serrated. The stamens are didynamous, long, and exposed. The fruit is schizocarp, with obovate elliptical mericaps of 1.8 mm (0.071 in).
Korean mint can be propagated by both sexual and asexual means. The seeds gathered in autumn can be sown in the spring. One can also dig out the plant in autumn or early spring, divide the roots, and plant them at intervals of 30 centimetres (12 in).
The plant's Korean name is baechohyang (배초향), but it is more commonly known as banga (방아) in southern parts of Korea, where the herb is extensively cultivated and consumed. In southern Korean cuisine, the herb is a popular last minute addition to various dishes, such as chueo-tang (pond loach stew), and maeun-tang (spicy fish stew). It is also sometimes used as the main ingredient in buchimgae (Korean pancakes).
It is called huò xiāng (Chinese: 藿香) in Chinese and it is one of the 50 fundamental herbs used in traditional Chinese medicine. It is used interchangeably with guang huo xiang. It was traditionally used to relieve nausea, vomiting and poor appetite. It contains methyl chavicol, anethole, anisaldehyde, limonene, pinene and linalool.
Chemical compounds found in the plant include:
- Estragole, plant
- p-Anisaldehyde, plant
- 4-methoxycinnamaldehyde, shoot
- Pachypodol, leaf
- Methylchavicol (60.01–88.43%),
- Hexadecanoic acid
- Linoleic acid
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- English Names for Korean Native Plants (PDF). Pocheon: Korea National Arboretum. 2015. p. 343. ISBN 978-89-97450-98-5. Archived from the original (PDF) on 25 May 2017. Retrieved 22 December 2016 – via Korea Forest Service.
- "배초향" [Korean mint]. Korea Biodiversity Information System (in Korean). Korea National Arboretum. Retrieved 25 December 2016.
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- 김, 민철 (20 October 2016). "향긋한 '토종 허브', 그 이름은 배초향" [Fragrant traditional herb, its name is baechohyang]. The Chosun Ilbo (in Korean). Retrieved 22 December 2016.
- Li, Xi-wen; Hedge, Ian C. "Agastache rugosa". Flora of China. 17. Retrieved 2008-02-19 – via eFloras.org, Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
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- 4-Methoxycinnamaldehyde inhibited human respiratory syncytial virus in a human larynx carcinoma cell line Wang K.C., Chang J.S., Chiang L.C., Lin C.C. Phytomedicine 2009 16:9 (882-886)
- Chemical composition of essential oil in stems, leaves and flowers of Agastache rugosa Yang D., Wang F., Su J., Zeng L. Zhong yao cai = Zhongyaocai = Journal of Chinese medicinal materials 2000 23:3 (149-151)