Dry Mint Leaves Mentha Pudhina Menthol Leaf Spice India
Mint descends from the Latin word mentha, which is rooted in the Greek word minthe, mentioned in Greek mythology as Minthe, a nymph who was transformed into a mint plant. The word itself probably derives from a now extinct pre-Greek language, see Pre-Greek substrate.
Mint leaves, without a qualifier like peppermint or apple mint, generally refers to spearmint leaves.
The leaf, fresh or dried, is the culinary source of mint. 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. In British cuisine, mint sauce is popular with lamb.
Mint is a necessary ingredient in Touareg tea, a popular tea in northern African and Arab countries.
Alcoholic drinks sometimes feature flavor of mint, namely the Mint Julep and the Mojito. Crème de menthe is a mint-flavored liqueur used in drinks such as the grasshopper.
Mint essential oil and menthol are extensively used as flavorings in breath fresheners, drinks, antiseptic mouth rinses, toothpaste, chewing gum, desserts, and candies; see mint (candy) and mint chocolate. The substances that give the mints their characteristic aromas and flavors are menthol (the main aroma of Peppermint, and Japanese Peppermint) and pulegone (in Pennyroyal and Corsican Mint). The compound primarily responsible for the aroma and flavor of spearmint is R-carvone.
Methyl salicylate, commonly called "oil of wintergreen", is often used as a mint flavoring for foods and candies due to its mint-like flavor.
Mints are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including Buff Ermine.
Medicinal and cosmetic
Mint was originally used as a medicinal herb to treat stomach ache and chest pains. To cure stomach aches, put dried mint leaves in boiling water, then, when it cools drink it. This tea is called monstranzo. During the Middle Ages, powdered mint leaves were used to whiten teeth. Mint tea is a strong diuretic. Mint also aids digestion.
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.
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.
Many people also believe the strong, sharp flavor and scent of Mint can be 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". Some modern research suggests that he was right.
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 oil is also used as an environmentally-friendly insecticide for its ability to kill some common pests like wasps, hornets, ants and cockroaches.
In Central and South America, mint is known as hierbabuena (literally, "good herb"). In Lusophone countries, especially in Brazil, mint species are popularly known as "Hortelã". In the Hindi and Urdu languages it is called Pudīna.
The taxonomic family Lamiaceae is known as the mint family. It includes many other aromatic herbs, including most of the more common cooking herbs, including basil, rosemary, sage, oregano and catnip.
As an English colloquial term, any small mint-flavored confectionery item can be called a mint
In common usage, several other plants with fragrant leaves may be erroneously called a mint. Vietnamese Mint, commonly used in Southeast Asian cuisine, is not a member of the mint family (taxonomic family Lamiaceae).