Mint is one of the most well known herbs to use and enjoy..
Most people are familiar with peppermint tea and have appreciate both peppermint and spearmint gum for freshening the breath.
But did you know there are many other types of mint?
Mint belongs to the family Labiatae and this includes other kind of lesser known herbs. Other members of this family are lemon balm, (also known as Melissa) Bergamot, Horehound, Marjoram, Pennyroyal and Catnip/Catmint.
These herbs are not commonly associated with mint, but they share many of the same attributes such as similar leaves, a strong scent or being useful in a tea.
Pennyroyal, however, should not be ingested as it is poisonous. The herb is mostly ground for ornamental uses though it's strong scent has been used to deter insects.
Hundreds of Varieties
Besides these, there are hundreds of varieties of the common mint. Have you heard of chocolate mint?
Or what about pineapple mint, apple mint, candy mint or ginger mint? These are just a few of the many types of culinary mint.
Or how about Moroccan spearmint, lemon mint, black peppermint or Eau de cologne mint? With so many types of mint available, sometimes it's best to choose with the nose. One can explore using the different types of mint depending on what the use is, as some mints lend themselves more easily to a culinary use while others are better as an ornamental herb.
Mint for Ground Cover
Then there is the wonderful ground cover known as Corsican mint, which has a lovely creme de menthe scent. This type of mint is not meant to be consumed, however, as it is an ornamental mint. The tiny, bright green leaves form a low, dense carpet that is delightful at filling in the cracks between paving stones, spilling over walls and rock gardens and flowing out of urns.
Mint has a wonderful folklore associated with it. Menthe was the nymph in Greek mythology who was loved by Pluto. He transformed her into the scented herb after his jealous wife took drastic action.
We don't know what this drastic action was, but mint has been highly esteemed ever since.
Besides freshening the breath, mint has many health attributes and is good for the tummy and digestive system.
It has many uses as an essential oil, in aromatherapy, growing and in many recipes.
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