Also known as Garden Mint,
Spearmint and Lamb Mint.
Parts used: Leaves.
Fresh Mint can overwhelm other flavours and so does not complement other herbs. It is a classic flavouring with roast lamb and goes well with potatoes, peas, salads and yoghurt based dishes. It makes a wonderful herb tea and helps the digestion after meals. It is often used in ice creams, confectionary and liqueurs.
Mint was originally used as a medicinal herb to treat stomach ache and chest pains, and it is commonly used in the form of tea as a home remedy to help alleviate stomach pain. During the Middle Ages, powdered mint leaves were used to whiten teeth. Mint tea is a strong diuretic. Menthol from Mint essential oil (40%–90%) is an ingredient of many cosmetics and some perfumes. 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 repel mosquitoes. It is also said that extracts from Mint leaves have a particular mosquito-killing capability. Mint plants planted near doorways help drive ants away. Mint oil is also used as an environmentally-friendly insecticide for its ability to kill some common pests like wasps, hornets, ants and cockroaches.
Mint has been an important herb since the early starts of civilization. Romans are responsible for carrying the herb throughout Europe. Mint was known to be treasured as an important aromatic herb in medieval times. People scented their baths and strew their homes with mint because of its fresh scent. In the eighteenth century, mint was valued for its medicinal uses. Remedies for everything from colic, to digestive odours, to mad dog bites called for mint. When the colonists came to the New World they brought along their mints for teas for headaches, heartburn, indigestion, gas and insomnia. They also drank mint tea for pleasure, not only because it tasted good, but also because it wasn’t taxed. The species name Mentha is derived from Roman mythology. Minthe was a lovely young nymph who caught the eye of Pluto, the ruler of the underworld. When Pluto’s wife Persephone found out about his love for the beautiful nymph, she was enraged. She changed Minthe into a lowly plant, to be trodden underfoot. Pluto couldn’t reverse Persephone’s curse, but he did soften the spell somewhat by making the smell that Minthe gave off all the sweeter when she was tread upon. The name Minthe has changed to Mentha and become the name of the herb, mint.
As for the origins of mint’s reputation as the herb of hospitality, Greek mythology tells us the story. Two strangers were walking through a village. The villagers ignored them and offered neither food nor drink. Finally an old couple, Philemon and Baucis, offered them a meal. Before the four sat down for their meal, the couple rubbed the table with mint leaves to clean and freshen it. The strangers turned out to be the gods Zeus and Hermes in disguise. As a reward for the hospitality Philemon and Baucis had shown them, the gods turned the humble home into a temple. Mint thus became the symbol of hospitality.
Mint is bound to Venus and Air. It is a premier healing herb magically, and can be used in healing incenses, healing charms, and healing baths. Don’t burn mint independently, but rather throw the leaves into an existing fire for the effects. For a bath, place leaves in a mesh bag and hang under the tap water. Make a mint tea to sprinkle around the house for peace after an argument, and drink it for it’s healing and calming properties before meditation or rituals. Use the essential oil in spells to tap into positive life changes. Place mint leaves in a pillowcase or under the pillow for prophetic dreams. Carry a few mint leaves in your wallet to attract money and prosperity.
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