Mints are aromatic, almost exclusively perennial,
rarely annual, herbs.
They have wide-spreading underground and overground stolons and
erect, square, branched stems. The leaves are arranged
in opposite pairs,
from oblong to lanceolate,
often downy, and with a serrate margin. Leaf colors range from dark green and
gray-green to purple, blue, and sometimes pale yellow. The flowers are
white to purple and produced in false whorls called verticillasters. The
corolla is two-lipped with four subequal lobes, the upper lobe usually the
largest. The fruit is
a small, dry capsule containing one to four seeds.
leaf, fresh or dried, is the culinary source of mint. Fresh mint is usually
preferred over dried mint when storage of the mint is not a problem. The leaves
have a pleasant warm, fresh, aromatic, sweet flavor with a cool aftertaste.
Mint leaves are used in teas, beverages, jellies, syrups, candies, and ice
creams. In Middle
Eastern cuisine, mint is used on lamb dishes,
while in British
cuisine and American cuisine, mint sauce and mint
jelly are used, respectively.
Mint is a necessary ingredient in Touareg tea, a popular tea
in northern African and Arab countries.
mint essential oil (40%–90%) is an ingredient of many cosmetics and
Menthol and mint essential oil are also much used in medicine as a component of
many drugs, and are very popular in aromatherapy. Mint is also
used in some shampoo products.
A common use is as an antipruritic, especially
in insect bite treatments (often along with camphor).
Menthol is also used in cigarettes as an additive,
because it blocks out the bitter taste of tobacco and soothes the throat.
The strong, sharp flavor and scent of mint is
sometimes used as a mild decongestant for
illnesses such as the common cold.
In Rome, Pliny recommended
that a wreath of mint was a good thing for students to wear since it was
thought to "exhilarate their minds".
Mint leaves are often used by many campers to
It is also said that extracts from mint leaves have a particular
mosquito-killing capability. Mint plants planted near doorways help drive ants
Mint oil is also used as an
environmentally-friendly insecticide for
its ability to kill some common pests like wasps, hornets, ants and
Known in Greek Mythology as the herb of hospitality, one
of the first known uses for mint in Europe was as a room deodorizer.
The herb was strewn across floors to cover the smell of the hard-packed soil.
Stepping on the mint helped to spread its scent through the room. Today, it is
more commonly used for aromatherapy through the use of essential oils.
Cultivation: The preference is full or partial sun and moist to
slightly dry conditions. Growth is best in fertile loamy soil; it also
flourishes in rocky soil. Sometimes transplanted plants become afflicted with
rust, but these leaves soon fall off and are replaced by healthy leaves. During
summer droughts, the leaves of stressed-out plants may become afflicted with
rust, or the lower leaves may turn yellow and fall off their stems. Generally,
this plant is easy to grow, especially if it receives adequate water during
summer droughts or some protection from the afternoon sun.
leaves of this plant can be boiled in water to make an excellent mint tea
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