Mentha x piperita commonly known as Mint is one of my favorite go-to herbs, a symbol of warm and wisdom as Mint relaxes the nervous system and at the same time gives a little boost of vigor.
Mint is good for everything from headaches, heartburn, upset stomachs, trouble breathing and insomnia. Smells good to most people and bees love flowering Mint, which blossoms in May-June and again in September-November.
There are so many different kinds of Mints. Peppermint quells stomach muscle spasms, is reported to stop the growth of antibiotic-resistant infections and is even said to inhibit pancreatic cancer. Mint scent keeps rats away and Pennyroyal is used against fleas and aphids.
In Greek mythology, Minthe, is a beautiful wood nymph who Hades (Pluto) fell in love with and Persephone, Hades’ wife became enraged with jealousy, turning Minthe into a crawling plant so Persephone could crush her. Hades could not reverse the spell so he made Minthe smell good when she walked on, making it so Minthe would always be noticed and never be taken for granted.
When you grow Mint in your garden, it’s best to put one variety at each spigot, knowing mint will grow like a weed and invade other patches of plants growing near by. Mint grows well in pots enjoying mostly sunny locations. Take a sprig of Mint from a friend’s house, put in a glass of water, watch roots start to grow and plant it in a few weeks. Or you can grow from seeds. Mint is a perennial and can last for years. Simply cut it back, dry your cuttings for tea, and it will grow back luscious again with frequent watering.
If you mix varieties, they have a tendency to meld together, taking on common characteristics, so I like to plant my peppermint in one place and my chocolate mint in another, so they keep their own qualities.
Historically Mint is seen as a symbol of hospitality. Another Greek story tells about two strangers visiting a village but none of the villagers were very friendly. A very old couple, Philemon and Baucus, finally invited the strangers into their house for a meal. Before eating Philemon and Baucus rubbed down their table with Mint to clean and give a fresh scent. After the meal was over, the strangers revealed themselves to be Zeus and Hermes and they turned Philemon and Baucus’ home into a temple and Mint became the symbol of hospitality. It’s lovely to pull a few fresh Mint sprigs and offer as warm tea or cool flavored water to guests who stop by.
Romans brought mint to Britain and the pilgrims brought Mint over on the Mayflower. Mint was served as tea in the colonies because it was not taxed. The Japanese have use Peppermint oil for centuries including making menthol. In India Mint is called Pudina. Mint with blue flowers is healing to the throat chakara.