Mentha x piperitaL.Mentha: from the latin menta(m), of Pre-Indo-European origin.
Mintha was the name of a Cocythian nymph, a river goddess. She was transformed into a humble plant by Persephone, Hades’ jealous and vindictive wife, because he had become infatuated with the nymph. (Perhaps the old belief regarding mint’s aphrodisiacal properties derives from this legend.)
Culinary useFresh Mint leaves enrich the flavor of salads and may be used in stuffing, soups, stews, in various vegetable-based dishes and in some sauces. However, refined connoisseurs advise against a commingling of Mint and garlic flavors.
Grandmothers prepared a delightfully refreshing syrup with twenty grams of fresh Mint leaves, a bit of alcohol, sugar and water.
Medicinal propertiesUsed by ancient Egyptian herbalists, both for internal and external use, the Mints boasted anti-diarrheal, antiemetic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, aromatic, carminative, cholagogue, choleretic, diaphoretic, thirst quenching, diuretic, eupeptic, antigalactagogue, which the wet nurses of yore used during weaning as Dioscorides advised; refreshing, rubefacient, sedative, stimulant, stomachic, tonic, vermifuge, vulnerary and, as if all this is not enough, certain authors attributed anaphrodisiac properties to Mint (Hippocrates) while others boasted of its aphrodisiac properties (Galen).
Perhaps because of this last supposed virtue, ancient romans braided Mint into the wedding garland, known as Corona Veneris, which the married couple wore on their heads.
Cosmetic useWith a handful of Mint leaves in a liter of boiling water one may prepare a footbath which cures tiredness; the infusion is used as an astringent lotion for dilated pores; the decoction aids chapped hands.
CharacteristicsAll the Mints are extremely easy to cultivate, they are content with little. At times they are even intrusive and it may become difficult to curb their exuberance.
Prefers full sun or partial shade
Can withstand the cold
Prefers moist terrains