[ Magnificent Mint ] ~ from Monterey Bay Herb Company
Ah, mint...flowering, fragrant and flavorful. Few herbs are as lovely in summer and provide such exceptional cooling and refreshing qualities for the body, inside and out, year-round.

Mint refers to a large group of more than two dozen perennial species of plants in the mentha genus native to the Mediterranean region.

The two we’re most familiar with are peppermint and spearmint, but there are plenty of minty cousins to take note of, such as apple, orange, pineapple and chocolate mint.

Any and all of these mints are excellent for culinary and cosmetic use, as well as perfumery.

[ Magnificent Mint - Mint Mythology ] ~ from Monterey Bay Spice

mint mythology

Mint received its name from the legend of Minthe, a water nymph who inhabited the region of the Cocytus River in southern Greece. She was also the unfortunate consort of Hades, the ruler of the Underworld. When his wife, Persephone, learned of the affair, she promptly turned Minthe into a plant so that she would be trampled under the feet of everyone who passed by. Hades, who could not counter his wife’s spell and rescue the ill-fated nymph, gave her a heady fragrance so that he could still sense her presence nearby.

Myth aside, it’s a fact that the ancient Greeks used the herb to cleanse their bodies in the bath and the surface of their banquet tables before each use. The Romans used mint in cooking, to freshen the breath, and to ease digestive complaints. Today, mint lends its magical properties to the food, cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries and to herbal enthusiasts in every part of the world.

[ Magnificent Mint - A Mighty Mouthful  ] ~ from Monterey Bay Spice

a mighty mouthful

Mint contains a variety of antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and oxidant compounds, as well as several vitamins and minerals. It’s a source of vitamins A and C, with a smaller amount of B2 mixed in. It also contains calcium, magnesium, potassium, copper and zinc, minerals that are often deficient in certain people. While you’re not likely to eat a bowlful of mint like a salad all at once, the benefit of chewing a fresh sprig left to rest on the dinner plate or relaxing with a daily cup of mint tea is enough to do a body and digestion good, not to mention rewarding fresher breath.

The compounds menthol and pugelone present in the leaf are responsible for the fragrance of mint, as well as the herb’s refreshing and stimulating effects. Menthol, in particular, is used in the pharmaceutical industry to produce many different kinds of products, including mouthwash, toothpaste and other dental products. As a food additive, mint flavors candy, chewing gum and various beverages.

[ Magnificent Mint - A Myriad of Uses ] ~ from Monterey Bay Spice

a myriad of uses

A trip to your local pharmacy will reveal just how significant mint (menthol) is in terms of its applications. Aside from mouthwash, aftershave and therapeutic lip balms, many other over-the-counter products will list menthol as a key ingredient.

Cough syrups and decongestant chest rubs, for instance, depend on menthol for their effectiveness. Topical products formulated for sunburn and itching often contain menthol. Because of its analgesic qualities, menthol is included in creams and ointments to ease muscle and joint pain, sometimes in combination with cayenne (capsaicin).

[ Magnificent Mint - Mint in Your Mug ] ~ from Monterey Bay Spice

mint in your mug

Mint is traditionally regarded as a digestive and carminative when prepared as a tea or tisane. This is why after dinner mints are offered at restaurants, either arriving at the table along with the bill or when paying up at the register on the way out. So, the next time upset stomach, heartburn, gas or headache strike, try relaxing with a cup of warm peppermint tea. Powdered peppermint can also be encapsulated and taken as a dietary supplement.

Mint imparts a fresh taste to tea and pairs well with many other herbs. For variety and flavor, experiment with different botanicals to create custom blends. Suggested herbs, some of them fellow members of the mint family, include lavender, lemon balm, lemon verbena, chamomile meadowsweet, and rose hips and rose petals. Tip: Although spearmint and peppermint are used interchangeably, some people, especially children, prefer peppermint over spearmint’s stronger taste.

[ Magnificent Mint - Making the Most of Mint ] ~ from Monterey Bay Spice

making the most of mint

apple mint cooler
With this refreshing beverage in hand, you can hydrate while relaxing in the hammock.

mint chocolate chip ice cream
Frosty and chock full of sweetness, this indulgent treat is the perfect summer dessert for family or a crowd. It's easy to make, too!

easy mint mojito
This classic cocktail makes used of a simple syrup infused with mint.

lemony mint sun tea
The only requirement to make this tea is a sunny day.

aloe & mint muscle rub
This non-greasy formula absorbs quickly and helps to ease painful joints and overworked muscles.

cucumber mint body scrub
This refreshing scrub stimlates the senses and encourages new skin cell turnover. Make extra to give as gifts!

minty mouthwash
This simple DIY mouthwash kills germs, freshens breath and helps to whiten teeth.

peppermint foot scrub
Our feet endure an incredible amount of abuse every day. Pamper them with this easy-to-make scrub!