Muña

Scientific name: Minthostachys mollis
Family: Limaceae
Origin: Andes

Description

Muña grows in the Andes above 2,700 meters above sea level (9,000 feet). It is a bush measuring up to 1.2 meters tall (4 feet) with small leaves and white flowers.

muna plant andes

Uses

In high altitudes, muña is excellent for an upset stomach, dizziness and difficulty breathing.

Altitude sickness

When tourist show symptoms of altitude sickness, guides from the Lake Titicaca region usually give them muna branches. These branches are then rubbed between their hands and inhaled, relieving dizziness, freeing the bronchi, and decongesting the respiratory tracts

Stomach problems

Muña leaves and flowers are drunk in a tea to relieve swelling and stomach pain, aiding in digestion and preventing gas. It also helps eliminate intestinal parasites. Recent studies in 2007 showed that muña helps eliminate the helicobacter pylori organism, bacteria responsible for stomach pain, vomiting, diarrhea, food poisoning, gastritis and gastroenteritis, as well as the majority of ulcers.
Reference: Faculty of Pharmacy and Biochemistry UNMSM 2009
Mate de muña” (muña tea) is served in Andean restaurants, especially in the Lake Titicaca region.

Other benefits

  • Asthma – Muña is used in asthma attacks. 
  • Bone strengthening – Thanks to its high calcium and phosphorus content, muña helps strengthen bones and teeth, as well as preventing decalcification. It facilitates quick recuperation after bone fractures and lowers the possibility of osteoporosis. 
  • Insecticide – The Incas were already using muña in their “colcas” (food deposits) to protect provisions from plagues and to control germination. Nowadays, Andean farmers continue to use muña to protect their plants from insects, their cattle against parasites, and as a repellent for themselves.
  • Moths – The penetrating scent of muña is very effective against moths.
  • Fireworks – Some Andean communities prepare powder from the stalk of the plant and mix it with resin, alcohol and sulfur to make fireworks during celebrations in Ayacucho (in the central Peruvian Andes).
  • Cooking – In the Andes, muña is used for flavoring different dishes. Its aroma is similar to mint.

Reference:
INS – Instituto Nacional de la Salud (Peruvian National Institute of Health)

 

Composition and chemical analysis of dried muña

(Peruvian tables for food components – 1996)

Content in mg per 100 g of the edible part:

MINERALS mg / 100 g 
Calcium 2.237
Phosphorus 269
Iron 22.40
COMPOSITION mg / 100 g
Protein 3.20
Fat 2.80
Carbohydrates 66.30
Fiber 9.40
Ash 11.70
VITAMINS  mg / 100 g
Vitamin A – retinol 306
Vitamin B1 – thiamin 0.35
Vitamin B2 – riboflavin 1.81
Vitamin B3 – niacin 6.85
Energy 299 Kcal

Natural components

Menthone, isomenthone, linalol, caryophyllene, carvacryl acetate, spathulenol, limonene, pulegone, isopulegone

});