There are about twenty–five species of mint or menthe, it is an aromatic perennial herb, the most common of the variety being Mentha Lamiaceae. It is commonly found in Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia, and North America. The mint is said to be of Mediterranean origin. In many cultures mint has been used as a symbol of hospitality. In ancient Greece mint leaves were rubbed on a table as a sign of warm greeting; while in the Middle East, mint tea was served as a welcome drink. The Greeks and the Romans prepared perfumes and bath scent. In the ancient temples and synagogues mint leaves were hung on the door. In Rome, Pliny asked the students to wear a wreath of mint to ‘exhilarate their minds’. The mint is mentioned even in the Bible.
Marsh mints, Corn mint, Bergamot mint, Garden mint, Ginger mint (mentha gracilis), Pepper mint (mentha pipenta), are a few of the mints but Vietnam mint is not a mint. In India it is known as ‘pudina’.
Mint contains vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin B12, thiamine, folic acid, riboflavin, manganese, copper, potassium, iron, calcium, zinc, phosphorous, fluoride and selenium.
Mint when consumed –
- Improves digestion
- Improves respiration
- Is anti-cancerous
- Inhibits growth of bacteria and fungus
- Eases heartburn and irritable bowel syndrome
- Clears bad breath
- Cleanses blood
- Clears acne
- Alleviates headache and migraine
- Prevents infections
Besides being used as a leaf ,mint is nowadays used in many products for aiding digestion, tea, mouth freshener, chewing gum, menthol, face -wash, air freshener, bathing soap, and other cosmetics. The oil is used for aromatherapy, and as a disinfectant. It is an effective insect repellent especially flies, mosquitoes, wasps, hornets, ants and cockroaches.