Last update April 19, 2023

Muña. Andean mint

Low Risk

Possibly safe. Probably compatible. Mild risk possible. Follow up recommended. Read the Comment.

Woody shrub plant native to high Andean regions of Argentina, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela. There are around 12 species of muña belonging to various plant genera of the family Lamiaceae: Minthostachys mollis, Minthostachys setosa, and Satureja boliviana or Micromeria boliviana. (Salcedo 2021, Lock 2016, Torrenegra 2016, Ormachea 1979)

They are used in agriculture to preserve potatoes, grains, and other foods and prevent their decomposition (Salcedo 2021, Ormachea 1979). The leaves and flowers in infusion are used in popular medicine as a carminative and bronchodilator to treat stomach colic and flu-like disorders, menstrual pain, and facilitate childbirth. It has an antiseptic, antimicrobial effect (staphylococci, E. coli, salmonella), fungicidal (candida, trichophytes), acaricidal, parasiticidal, and insecticidal properties. Muña is also used as a food ingredient. (Salcedo 2021, Lock 2016, Torrenegra 2016, Mora 2009, Cano 2008)

The leaves contain phenols (kaempferol, quercetin, and ursolic acid). The essential oil contains 98% monoterpenes (carvacrol, eucalyptol (10%), thymol, pulegone (10%), germacrene, limonene, nerolidol, carvone, and linalool) and 1% sesquiterpenes and other compounds. (Salcedo 2021, Pellegrini 2017, Lock 2016, Torrenegra 2016, Jaramillo 2012, Mora 2009, Cano 2008, Fuertes 2001, Alkire 1994)

As of the last update, we did not find any published data related to lactation.

There are very few scientific references to this plant in the literature. No secondary reactions or toxic effects have been published. This plant has been widely used by Andean populations for centuries. Given its lack of toxicity at correct doses, moderate culinary or infusion consumption would be compatible with lactation.

Due to the risk of toxicity from its essential oil due to its eucalyptol and pulegone content, it is not advisable to use it during lactation except for occasional and moderate use.

Eucalyptol is neurotoxic and convulsant; it can cause severe neurological depression in adults and children. See comments and bibliographic citations in Eucalyptus.

Pulegone is abortive and hepatotoxic, renal, and neurological toxic; it can cause seizures, hypertension, and be carcinogenic. See comments and bibliographic citations in Pennyroyal.

Topical use of the essential oil is compatible with lactation provided it is not applied to the chest.


Precautions when taking plant preparations (Anderson 2017, Powers 2015, Posadzki 2013, Efferth 2011, Kopec 1999, Hsu 1995):

  • Make sure they are from a reliable source: poisonings have occurred due to confusion of one plant with another with toxic properties (Hsu 1995), poisonings due to containing heavy metals extracted from the soil, and food poisoning due to contamination with bacteria or fungi. (Anderson 2017)
  • Do not take in excess; follow the recommendations of expert phytotherapy professionals. “Natural” products are not good in any quantity: plants contain active substances from which much of our traditional pharmacopoeia has been obtained and can cause poisoning or act as endocrine disruptors if consumed in quantity or for an exaggerated time because they contain phytoestrogens. (Powers 2015, Zava 1998)

See below the information of these related products:

  • Eucalyptus ( Poorly safe. Evaluate carefully. Use safer alternative or interrupt breastfeeding 3 to 7 T ½ (elimination half-lives). Read the Comment.)
  • Pennyroyal ( Poorly safe. Evaluate carefully. Use safer alternative or interrupt breastfeeding 3 to 7 T ½ (elimination half-lives). Read the Comment.)

Suggestions made at e-lactancia are done by APILAM team of health professionals, and are based on updated scientific publications. It is not intended to replace the relationship you have with your doctor but to compound it. The pharmaceutical industry contraindicates breastfeeding, mistakenly and without scientific reasons, in most of the drug data sheets.

Jose Maria Paricio, Founder & President of APILAM/e-Lactancia

Your contribution is essential for this service to continue to exist. We need the generosity of people like you who believe in the benefits of breastfeeding.

Thank you for helping to protect and promote breastfeeding.

José María Paricio, founder of e-lactancia.


Muña. Andean mint belongs to these groups or families:


  1. Salcedo Ríos MA, Alonso JR. Satureja boliviana (Lamiaceae). Una puesta al día de “muña blanca”. Dominguezia - Vol. 37(2) - 2021 Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  2. Pellegrini MC, Alonso-Salces RM, Umpierrez ML, Rossini C, Fuselli SR. Chemical Composition, Antimicrobial Activity, and Mode of Action of Essential Oils against Paenibacillus larvae, Etiological Agent of American Foulbrood on Apis mellifera. Chem Biodivers. 2017 Apr;14(4). Abstract
  3. Anderson PO. Herbal Use During Breastfeeding. Breastfeed Med. 2017 Abstract
  4. Torrenegra-Alarcón M, Granados-Conde C, Durán-Lengua M, León-Méndez G, Yáñez-Rueda X, Martínez C, Pájaro-Castro N. Composición Química y Actividad Antibacteriana del Aceite Esencial de Minthostachys mollis [The chemical composition and antibacterial activity of essential oil from Minthostachys mollis]. Orinoquia vol.20 no.1 Meta Jan./June 2016 Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  5. Lock O, Perez E, Villar M, Flores D, Rojas R. Bioactive Compounds from Plants Used in Peruvian Traditional Medicine. Nat Prod Commun. 2016 Mar;11(3):315-37. Review. Abstract Full text (link to original source)
  6. Powers CN, Setzer WN. A molecular docking study of phytochemical estrogen mimics from dietary herbal supplements. In Silico Pharmacol. 2015 Mar 22;3:4. Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  7. Posadzki P, Watson L, Ernst E. Contamination and adulteration of herbal medicinal products (HMPs): an overview of systematic reviews. Eur J Clin Pharmacol. 2013 Abstract
  8. Jaramillo-Colorado B, Olivero-Verbel J, Stashenko EE, Wagner-Döbler I, Kunze B. Anti-quorum sensing activity of essential oils from Colombian plants. Nat Prod Res. 2012;26(12):1075-86. Abstract
  9. Efferth T, Kaina B. Toxicities by herbal medicines with emphasis to traditional Chinese medicine. Curr Drug Metab. 2011 Abstract
  10. Mora FD, Araque M, Rojas LB, Ramirez R, Silva B, Usubillaga A. Chemical composition and in vitro antibacterial activity of the essential oil of Minthostachys mollis (Kunth) Griseb Vaught from the Venezuelan Andes. Nat Prod Commun. 2009 Jul;4(7):997-1000. Abstract
  11. Cano C, Bonilla P, Roque M, Ruiz J. Actividad antimicótica in vitro y metabolitos del aceite esencial de las hojas de Minthostachys mollis (Muña). RevPeruMedExpSaludPublica.2008;25(3): 298-301. Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  12. Fuertes Ruitón C, Munguía Chipana Y. Estudio comparativo del aceite esencial de Minthostachys mollis "Muña" de tres regiones peruanas por cromatografía de gases y espectrometría de masas. Ciencia e Investigación. 2001 Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  13. Kopec K. Herbal medications and breastfeeding. J Hum Lact. 1999 Jun;15(2):157-61. Review. No abstract available. Abstract
  14. Zava DT, Dollbaum CM, Blen M. Estrogen and progestin bioactivity of foods, herbs, and spices. Proc Soc Exp Biol Med. 1998 Abstract
  15. Hsu CK, Leo P, Shastry D, Meggs W, Weisman R, Hoffman RS. Anticholinergic poisoning associated with herbal tea. Arch Intern Med. 1995 Abstract
  16. Alkire BH, Tucker AO, Maciarello MJ. Tipo,minthostachys mollis (lamiaceae): an ecuadorian mint. Econ Bot 48, 60–64 (1994). Abstract
  17. Ormachea EC. Usos tradicionales de la Muña (Minthostachys app Labiatae) en aspectos fitosanitarios de Cusco y Puno. Rev Per Ent. 22(1), diciembre 1979 Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)

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