(Mentha piperita L.)
Peppermint is a perennial plant of the Lamiaceae family.
Peppermint, also known in Poland by the name meaning a ‘medical mint’, is a plant known for ages the origins of which are not completely explained. It was created by spontaneous crossing of two species of mint: watermint and spearmint, and therefore, it does not grow naturally. As such, it is a hybrid mint species that does not produce germinating seeds. It was widespread and cultivated in Europe and North America, while currently it is grown all over the world.
Mint is one of the most popular herbs in Poland.
Many different species of this plant are known by the name ‘mint’. While field mint, spearmint or watermint are also known, peppermint is dealt with most often because of its health-promoting benefits. It can be distinguished from other mint species because of its taste, which is cooling, and not burning like the species growing in the wild.
How does peppermint look like?
Peppermint is a perennial plant that stimulates the senses with its strong and pleasant minty fragrance. It has a strongly-rooted, underground rhizome, sending up tall, densely leafy and dark purple stems. Mint leaves are of a characteristic, ovate and oblong shape, with coarsely and unevenly serrated margins. It blooms from June to July and its flowers, of a gentle pink and purple colour, are small and form thick, horizontal spikes at the tops of the stems.
The most precious raw material from peppermint is its leaves.
Mint leaves normally retain their green colour if they are timely collected, properly dried and correctly prepared. They contain more than 1.5% oil, the main ingredient of which is menthol, which gives the oil its characteristic taste and scent, and causes a feeling of coolness Apart from the essential oil, peppermint leaves contain tannins, bitterness, flavonoids, as well as vitamins and mineral salts.
In mint health
Mint infusion is Poles’ favourite tea which supports their health and well-being. Mint has a salutary impact on the digestive system. First of all, it has a spasmolytic effect on the smooth muscles of the gastrointestinal tract, thereby facilitating the removal of gases and eliminates bloating, and it further supports the peristaltic movements of the intestines. Mint leaves promote bile production and have a diuretic effect, stimulate the secretory activities of the stomach and liver, and stimulate digestion. In contrast, mint oil is used to treat catarrh of the upper respiratory tract and inflammation of the oral mucosa, as well as for inhalation.
Mint leaves have a sedative effect.
Mint infusion also has a calming and relaxing effect. Drinking a hot mint infusion before bedtime will soothe the nerves and help the person relax the body and fall asleep. It is for good reason that green is associated with peace, which is a 100 percent match for the properties of green peppermint leaves, which help the body to relax.
Did you know what the history books said about mint?
A thousand years ago, Walfrid Strabo, abbot of a monastery in Switzerland, wrote the following words about mint: ‘He who would be able to name all the powers, species and names of mint, would just as well say how many fish there are in the Red Sea or how many sparks are thrown out of Etna’. You must admit, therefore, that there are few herbs as versatile as mint! The history of mint dates back to ancient Egypt – the herb was found in ancient tombs. The Roman chef Apicius reportedly wrote about mint on almost every page of his cookbook. Today, mint has lost nothing in importance and is still one of the most popular herbs in the world!