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Mint – Mentha
Mint – Mentha
Mentha also known as mint is a flowering plant in the family Lamiaceae. There are 13- 18 varied species in the family. The flowers are white and purple and the fruit is a small and dry capsule containing 1 to 4 seeds.

Mint grows best in wet environment and moist soil. They grow 10-120 cm tall and can spread over an indeterminate area. The most common and popular mints for cultivation are peppermint, spearmint and apple mint. Mints are supposed to make good companion plants, repelling pests and insects and attracting beneficial ones.

Fresh mint leaves should be used immediately or can be stored for around two days in plastic bags within a refrigerator. Optionally, mint can be frozen in ice cube trays. Dried mint leaves should be stored in an airtight container placed in a cool, dark, dry area.The leaves have a pleasant warm, fresh, aromatic, sweet flavor with a cool aftertaste. Mint leaves are used in teas, beverages, jellies, syrups, candies, and ice creams. In Middle Eastern cuisine, mint is used on lamb dishes, while in British cuisine and American cuisine, mint sauce and mint jelly are used, respectively. Alcoholic drinks sometimes feature mint for flavor or garnish, such as the Mint Julep and the Mojito. Crθme de menthe is a mint-flavored liqueur used in drinks such as the grasshopper.

Mint essential oil and menthol are extensively used as flavorings in breath fresheners, drinks, antiseptic mouth rinses, toothpaste, chewing gum, desserts, and candies.The substances that give the mints their characteristic aromas and flavors is menthol.

Mint was originally used as a medicinal herb to treat stomach ache and chest pains, and it is commonly used in the form of tea as a home remedy to help alleviate stomach pain. During the Middle Ages, powdered mint leaves were used to whiten teeth. Mint tea is also a strong diuretic.

Menthol from mint essential oil (40%–90%) is an ingredient of many cosmetics and some perfumes. Menthol and mint essential oil are also much used in medicine as a component of many drugs.

A common use is as an antipruritic, especially in insect bite treatments (often along with camphor).

Menthol is also used in cigarettes as an additive, because it blocks out the bitter taste of tobacco and soothes the throat.

The strong, sharp flavor and scent of mint is sometimes used as a mild decongestant for illnesses such as the common cold.

Mint leaves are often used by many campers to repel mosquitoes. It is also said that extracts from mint leaves have a particular mosquito-killing capability. Mint plants planted near doorways help drive ants away.Mint oil is also used as an environmentally-friendly insecticide for its ability to kill some common pests like wasps, hornets, ants and cockroaches.

Known in Greek Mythology as the herb of hospitality, one of the first known uses for mint in Europe was as a room deodorizer. The herb was strewn across floors to cover the smell of the hard-packed soil. Stepping on the mint helped to spread its scent through the room.