The harts penyroyal (Mentha cervina), also known as fish herb, belongs to the genus Mentha. It is native to the Iberian peninsula and its conservation is currently at risk due to its reduced competitiveness in relation to other Mentha, and the destruction and alteration of its habitat.
Its flowers appear between June and September, are white in color and attract insects. Its smell is similar to that of other mints. What distinguishes this mint from the others is its thinner and smaller leaves.
Prefer places close to running water and in Portugal you can find it in the area near the river Guadiana.
Currently, it has little resistance in the Portuguese gastronomic tradition and is often confused with pennyroyal.
In some typical taverns and restaurants, they serve fried river fish, drizzled with the ‘piper grass’ sauce. Can accompany salads, soups, cheeses and sauces.
This is used whole, fresh or dry, in the preparation of infusions that have a strong aroma, used as a digestive.
Its medicinal properties are still poorly marked but it is thought to have antioxidant, antiseptic, antipyretic and carminative properties.
Saramugo is an endangered fish that we chose to illustrate the Raw Carob and Hortelã da Ribeira Tablete. It shares the same hydrographic region as Hortelã da Ribeira in the extreme southwest of the Iberian Peninsula.
Following the logic we chose for this range, a species of local fauna accompanies an ingredient native to the region where we are based, the western end of the Iberian Peninsula.
The Saramugo ( Hispanic Anaecypris ) is a small fish and its length rarely exceeds 7 cm. They have a narrow body, covered with fine and small scales of silver color in the belly area, light brown in the dorsal area and almost yellow in the side, sometimes showing pink reflections and some black spots scattered on the flanks.
It was classified as " Critically Endangered " by the New Red Book of Vertebrates in Portugal and as "Em Perigo" by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, also appearing on the Natura 2000 species list.
It is an endemic species of the Guadiana Basin, but it was never detected in the main section of the river, but in ten of the tributaries of the Guadiana: Xévora, Caia, Álamo, Degebe, Ardila, Chança, Carreiras, Vascão, Foupana e Odeleite.
Saramugo has suffered a significant reduction in the last two decades, particularly the populations of the central and upper regions of the Guadiana basin in the national territory. This declining situation is due to poor management of aquatic habitats and river beds (devastated by fires a few years ago).
In Portugal there is a project for the recovery of this species, whose work has focused not only on the recovery of the species, but mainly on the recovery of its habitat. More information: