The history of Mint

In the forests of the Peloponnese once lived a Nymph called Minthi which fell in love with Pluto, god of the Underworld. This caused the jealousy of the wife of Pluto, Persephone, which in order to get rid of Minthi, transformed her into a plant. Pluto, unable to reverse this transformation, gave this plant the ability to spread a sweet smell everywhere. Thus, in Greek mythology, mint was born .

The mint family includes tens of species, among them the spearmint. The spearmint besides it's characteristic aroma, has also a rich medical reputation.

Particularly appreciated in all Mediterranean countries, the spearmint has been used for centuries in cooking, medicine, pharmacopoeia. In ancient times it scented the water baths, while the Athenians perfumed their bodies by rubbing it on them. The ancient Greeks before they eat, they used to flavor their tables by rubbing on it's surface a few leaves of spearmint. Obviously they did it in order to increase their appetite (spearmint stimulates the digestive system), to calm their spirits and create euphoria.

In the middle of the last century it scattered it's fragrance in recreation, entertainment and relaxation areas, at parties and receptions.

A toothpaste recipe was found in an ancient Egyptian papyrus that included spearmint. Today, chewing gums, confectionery syrups and toothpastes have spearmint as one of their ingredients.

Spearmint has many beneficial and therapeutic properties. In addition to dietary fibers, spearmint contains folic acid, riboflavin, vitamins A, B6, and E, calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, manganese and copper. Because of its components it used in gargles for treating oral sores, gingivitis, pharyngitis, tonsillitis, as an antidote to bad breath, digestive and sedative gastrointestinal distress. Also it is used for treating digestive problems, as a sedative, to stimulate the memory and as an aphrodisiac (in specific doses). It relieves from the headache and toothache, is good for gallstones, is antispasmodic, sedative and digestive. It also acts against insomnia and hiccups.

Medical research has shown that the spearmint has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and immunomodulatory action thanks to rosmarinic acid, a polyphenol that is found in several herbs (basil, thyme, rosemary, etc.). Thus it is recommended, among other things, as a drink to relieve osteoarthritis, because it inhibits the chronic and acute inflammation. Also has excellent antifungal properties.It is used as an antiseptic and as a food sustenance (kills fungi that occur in the decomposition of food). Maybe that's what some housewives store beans with spearmint leaves to preserve better. Finally, it decreases triglycerides.

 When to say 'no' to drink

Spearmint is primarily used as a decoction. Scientists suggest that it should not be consumed by couples who try to conceive. It reduces male hormones in men and women who often drink it as a decoction. If consumed in large quantities it may become toxic to the kidneys and liver. It should also not be combined with drugs that suppress the central nervous system as it may enhance the drowsiness caused by some tranquilizers and antidepressant agents.

In the kitchen :

Spearmint is one of the most famous herbs. It is used in cooking due to its wonderful aroma and it gives its own delicious touch to the dish. It can be preserved dried in a glass jar.