TURKESTAN MINT (Lagochilus inebrians) is a large shrub of the dry steppes of Turkestan.
For centuries it has been the source of an intoxicant among the Tajik, Tartar, Turkoman, and Uzbek tribesmen.
The leaves, gathered in October, are toasted, sometimes mixed with stems, fruits, and .flowers.
Drying and storage increase their aromatic fragrance.
Honey and sugar are often added to reduce their intense bitterness.
Valued as a folk medicine and included in the 8th edition of the Russian pharmacopoeia, it is used to treat skin disease, to help check hemorrhages, and to provide sedation for nervous disorders.
A crystalline compound isolated from the plant and named lagochiline has proved to be aditerpene.
Whether or not it produces the psychoactive effects of the whole plant is unknown.
There are some 34 other species of Lagochilus.
Members of the mint family, Labiatae, they are native from central Asia to Iran and Afghanistan.