EAST LANSING, Mich. – A Michigan State University researcher is heading a $5.1 million study of the genetic structure of the mint family of plants, which the school says could have many benefits for humans beyond flavoring food and chewing gum.
The funds come from the National Science Foundation.
Mints include the spices basil, oregano, rosemary, sage, savory and thyme. They also include spearmint and peppermint and such herbal tea or medicine ingredients as bee balm, bergamot, hyssop, lavender and skullcap.
Lead researcher Robin Buell says relatively little is known so far about mints, which had a crop value of about $200 million in 2012.
Buell says the study will map the genetic structure of mints and could lead to new useful oils and compounds.