Known for menthol content and its aroma, mint has been part of medicinal and culinary history in Middle East, Greece, Europe, America and other places worldwide since ancient times. At present there are more than six hundred varieties of mint, propagated to suit specific medicinal and culinary needs.
Growing Mint – Keeping Green Leaves Healthy
According to expert herb gardeners, growing mint can be a good start for a herbal nursery; they grow in cool places but they can also grow under areas with full sun exposure when regularly watered. Common varieties of said plant are spearmint, peppermint and apple mint, which can be planted from seeds, or through cut stems. Planting the stems is more effective than cultivating the plant from seeds when growing mint since seeds can turn out to be other varieties or are already incapable of growing. Mint plants must be set one to two feet apart in order to maintain healthy leaves. Gardeners must keep in mind that mint spreads rapidly hence when planted together with other herbs or plants, it is better to plant them in containers that are bottomless. The only thing people need to look out for when growing mint is rust, a disease that can kill the plant if not treated at once; sprays and removing infected leaves can solve the problem but if not, the plant needs to be cut off and burned before it can affect other plants.
Mint Plants – Healing Benefits
Mint has been used as a medicinal herb effective for healing certain ailments as early as ancient times. Boiled mint leaves or mint tea are given to patients with stomach aches and those suffering from chest pains since mint plants are known to alleviate such pain. Leaves can be used either dried or freshly picked depending on what the recipe for treatment requires; although mint leaves are commonly used as herbal medicine, seeds and bark of the plant can also be utilized. Experts say that mint plants, when used in medication, can aid in digestion and stomach cramps; when used in aromatherapy they can relieve tension, anxiety and act as a good decongestant for colds. The leaves are good insect repellants and when in powder form, can help whiten teeth; even though mint is a herbal medicine, caution must be taken when ingesting it especially for people with known allergies.
Mint Herb – Cooking Wonders
Apart from medicinal remedies, mint is also used in the kitchen as part of different recipes. Peppermint, spearmint, orange mint, double mint, chocolate mint, apple mint, lemon mint and ginger mint are the types of mint that can be used in cooking. Throughout history, the use of mint herb has developed from basic recipes to more pronounced culinary dishes at present as influenced by different cuisines of Americans, Mediterranean, Europeans, Africans and Asians. Mint is capable of providing added flavor and aroma to beverages, appetizers, main dishes and desserts. Most recipes call for fresh mint leaves but for places with rare supply of mint, dried leaves are used since preservation of leaves provide a supply of the herb for the whole year round.