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Korean Mint

Image of Korean Mint
Taken from Chicago Botanic Garden, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons 

Korean Mint (Agastache rugosa)

Korean Mint, also known as purple giant hyssop, wrinkled giant hyssop, Indian mint, banga (Korean), or huo xiang (Chinese), is a short-lived perennial of the mint family native to East Asia. It can grow three to four feet tall, with purple flower spikes 2-4 inches long. Its heart-shaped toothed leaves have a somewhat wrinkled surface and produce a scent like licorice when crushed.   

Historical Use 

Agastache rugosa is a well-known component in traditional Chinese medicine, and is included in the list of 50 Fundamental Herbs (Wong, 1976). In traditional Chinese medicine, it has been used to treat anxiety, nausea, infections, cholera, and gastrointestinal complaints (Cao et al., 2017; Gong, Li, He, & Kasimu, 2017).  

Current Use 

Due to its attractive flowers and pleasant aroma, Korean Mint is often used as an ornamental plant. However, there have also been a number of recent studies into potential medicinal uses. Multiple bioactive compounds have been identified in the plant, including known antioxidants (Desta et al., 2016). Other studies have shown antimicrobial and antifungal agents are present in Agastache rugosa (Blaszczyk, Krzyzanowska, & Lamer-Zarawska, 2000; Gong et al., 2017; Shin & Kang, 2003). In addition, research is being done to investigate the potential for compounds from Korean Mint to be used as anticoagulants and for the prevention of Acetaminophen overdose (Cao et al., 2017; Cui et al., 2019). 

Latest Research


Blaszczyk, T., Krzyzanowska, J., & Lamer-Zarawska, E. (2000). Screening for antimycotic properties of 56 traditional Chinese drugs. Phytother Res, 14(3), 210-212. doi:10.1002/(sici)1099-1573(200005)14:3<210::aid-ptr591>;2-7 

Cao, P., Xie, P., Wang, X., Wang, J., Wei, J., & Kang, W. Y. (2017). Chemical constituents and coagulation activity of Agastache rugosa. BMC Complement Altern Med, 17(1), 93. doi:10.1186/s12906-017-1592-8 

Cui, B. W., Bai, T., Yang, Y., Zhang, Y., Jiang, M., Yang, H. X., . . . Nan, J. X. (2019). Thymoquinone Attenuates Acetaminophen Overdose-Induced Acute Liver Injury and Inflammation Via Regulation of JNK and AMPK Signaling Pathway. Am J Chin Med, 47(3), 577-594. doi:10.1142/s0192415x19500307 

Desta, K. T., Kim, G. S., Kim, Y. H., Lee, W. S., Lee, S. J., Jin, J. S., . . . Shin, S. C. (2016). The polyphenolic profiles and antioxidant effects of Agastache rugosa Kuntze (Banga) flower, leaf, stem and root. Biomed Chromatogr, 30(2), 225-231. doi:10.1002/bmc.3539 

Gong, H., Li, S., He, L., & Kasimu, R. (2017). Microscopic identification and in vitro activity of Agastache rugosa (Fisch. et Mey) from Xinjiang, China. BMC Complement Altern Med, 17(1), 95. doi:10.1186/s12906-017-1605-7 

Shin, S., & Kang, C. A. (2003). Antifungal activity of the essential oil of Agastache rugosa Kuntze and its synergism with ketoconazole. Lett Appl Microbiol, 36(2), 111-115. doi:10.1046/j.1472-765x.2003.01271.x 

Wong, M. (1976). La medecine chinoise par les plantes (Éditions Tchou ed.).