Fresh mint is available all year-round today, but it is most abundant in the warm summer months. Make the most of this versatile herb’s cooling and refreshing properties.
Mint is as tasty as it is healthy. Its essential oil is widely used in manufactured products such as toothpaste, shower gel and medicines for its naturally antibacterial and cooling qualities. In cooking, mint sprigs can be added to cooking water or the chopped leaves incorporated into a dish to make the most of this herb’s aromatic, flavoursome and digestive abilities.
Originally taken as a medicinal herb to treat stomach ache and chest pains, it is to this day the most called upon herb for soothing a great deal of ailments from indigestion to heartburn and the common cold to bad breath. That’s not all; mint can also provide a cooling sensation to the skin helping to treat minor burns and skin irritations due to its anti-inflammatory properties and it can ease and unblock the breathing and respiratory passages as well as relieve headaches; cup of mint tea anyone?
Mint is known to have originated in Asia and the Mediterranean region, mint has been known for its many benefits throughout history. Greeks used to clean their banqueting tables with the herb and added it to their baths to stimulate their bodies, whilst Romans used it in sauces, as an aid to digestion and as a mouth freshener. Medieval monks drew on the herb for its culinary and medicinal properties. In many cultures, mint symbolised hospitality and was offered as a sign of welcome and friendship to guests.
Mint derives its name from the ancient Greek mythical character Minthe. According to Greek myth, Minthe was a river nymph. Hades, the God of the Underworld, fell in love with Minthe and when Persephone, Hades’s wife, found out, she turned Minthe into a plant, so that everyone would walk all over her and crush her. Unable to undo the spell, Hades gave Minthe a magnificent aroma so that he could smell her and be near her when people trod on her.
Leaving this mythical world, we know that mint gets its tell tale enticing aroma from menthol, an essential oil present in its leaves. Mint contains a number of vitamins and minerals which are vital to maintain good health. Rich in Vitamins A and C it also contains smaller amounts of Vitamin B2 and minerals including calcium, zinc, copper and magnesium. And even though mint is mostly consumed in small quantities, the vital nutrients obtained are still beneficial and shouldn’t be underestimated.
Text from topfoodfacts.com