Peppermint is a perennial herb grown in Europe, in some parts of Asia, in North and South America and in Australia. It is known and used by humans since at least the Bronze Age. In antiquity it was used as a fragrance for bathing and cosmetics, as well as for rubbing tables before meals to stimulate the appetite. In India, she enjoyed the reputation of an effective aphrodisiac.
The raw material obtained from the mint are leaves and herbs, which are harvested shortly before flowering and then dried. Herbs have a pleasant, menthol scent and cooling taste. The leaves contain up to 2.5% volatile oil, the main ingredients of which are menthol and menton as well as tannins, bitterness, flavonoids and other substances.
Mint as a herb
Herbs and mint leaves are used internally in the form of a decoction or as part of herbal mixtures for lower abdominal pain, catarrh of the stomach and intestines, bloating, biliary colic and spasms. They enhance digestion and secretion of bile, have antispasmodic, carminative and anti-inflammatory effects. Folk medicine also recommends mint tea also in states of anxiety in the period of menopause, menstrual pain, nervous headaches and acute or chronic gastritis.
Essential oil obtained from mint has strong bactericidal and analgesic properties, after applying to the nasal mucous membranes, also cooling and reducing swelling during catarrh.
Mint as a spice
Mint as a spice is used primarily in English cuisine for the preparation of famous mint sauces and in American cuisine for flavoring cheese, tomato smoothies, fruit and vegetable salads. Mint is also popular in Arabic and Spanish cuisine. Fresh or dried leaves are seasoned with roast lamb and mutton, chicken, liver and stewed vegetables, such as carrots, peas, cabbage and leeks. Also suits fish and veal. Mint can also be added to curd and in dried form to baked potatoes. Sprigs of mint are also used as a decoration of sweet dishes and drinks.
Peppermint oil is used in cosmetics for the production of toothpastes and mouthwashes, and in the food industry as an ingredient in vodkas, confectionery such as sweets, chocolate and chewing gum.