Mint is anything but ordinary. Are you ready for a tour of the mints (Mentha)?
THE MANY VARIETIES & USES OF MINT
A historic plant with origins dating back to ancient Greek mythology, and medicinal applications dating back to medieval monks, mint comes in hundreds of varieties. Some mint varieties, including peppermint, spearmint and chocolate mint, among others, are most often used for culinary purposes. Others, such as field mint, are more often valued for their therapeutic and medicinal qualities and used to treat ailments including headache, indigestion, heartburn, insomnia and gas. Still, some mint varieties are best used simply for their aroma or appearance.
Corsican mint is one of the best-known mint varieties and is most often used to make mint jelly to accompany a meal of lamb chops, but it also has medicinal properties. Corsican mint has calming, anti-spasmodic effects that help reduce anxiety, stress and headaches. It can also be used as an anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory. Its aroma, like that of most mints, will help calm the mind and relax the senses. Additionally, this mint has the ability to stimulate appetite and reduce gas. Topically, essential oil of Corsican mint can even help relieve pain and ease tension in muscles.
Peppermint, another commonly used mint variety, has been found to help relieve symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, asthma and nasal symptoms of colds related to allergies, and even to limit some bacterial and fungal growth. Nutritionally, peppermint is also a good source of manganese, copper and vitamin C.
WAYS TO ENJOY MINT
There are many ways to enjoy mint. Try a cup of fresh mint tea, add some to a fruit salad, or add chopped mint leaves to soups that feature tomatoes.
HOW TO STORE MINT
Fresh mints carry a superior flavor to dried mint and are better suited for culinary purposes. To store fresh mint leaves, carefully wrap them in a damp paper towel and place the pack inside a loosely closed plastic bag. If refrigerated this way, the leaves should keep for several days.
HOW TO GROW MINT
Mints are fast-growing, aromatic herbs, which grow well in container gardens with moist, well-draining soil, set in full to partial sun. Many will also grow well indoors, making it possible to utilize mint year-round. For more tips on how to grow mint in your garden, check out GardeningKnowHow.com.
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Photo credit. FreeDigitalPhotos.net. http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/Vegetables_g63-Mint_Leaves_p145548.html
Mint Plant Varieties: Types of Mint for the Garden. Gardening Know How. http://www.gardeningknowhow.com/edible/herbs/mint/mint-plant-varieties.htm
Herb Fact Sheet: Mint. The Herb Society. http://www.herbsociety.org.uk/schools/factsheets/mint.htm
Peppermint. The World’s Healthiest Foods. http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=102