Native River Mint (Mentha australis) is a relative of more common mints such as peppermint and spearmint, exhibiting a smaller and more delicate plant structure. It can be found in most regions of Australia, usually in moist forests, around rivers and damp shaded locations.
Amongst Aboriginal culture River Mint was used as a flavourful bushfood and medicinal herb as well as a repellent against insects and rhodents. When boiled in water it was used to relieve coughs and colds. Early settlers also discovered that using the leaves in a tea provided an effective treatment for fevers, headaches, digestive problems and other medical ailments. The essential oil in the leaves is antiseptic, though it is toxic in large doses and can cause abortion.
The leaves are harvested as the plant comes into flower and can be dried for later use.