The Greeks believe that blinded by envy and torn with jealousy, Persephone, the wife of the God Pluto transformed her husband's lissome lover called Minthae into a plant. Called Minthae even today in Greek, the herb has been known for its medicinal values for over two thousand years. Originally found in the Himalayan plains, the herb is mentioned in ancient Ayurvedic texts too and is today grown commercially throughout the country.
There are three varieties of mint:
Spearmint, which is what is grown in kitchen gardens, Peppermint and Pennyroyal. Because it is less pungent and potent than peppermint, it is the spearmint variety that is used extensively in cooking.
Pudina, a popular spice, especially in the north, contains plenty of vitamins and minerals, the fresh leaves are used in salads, sherbets, sauces, over paranthas and to flavor foods. Jal Jeera water, gol gappa water, raw mango juice flavoured with pudina, paranthas topped with mint, pudina chutney sandwiches, the aroma of mint wafts through many a kitchen in India.
Leaves apart, the oil extracted from peppermint is considered to be one of the most important of the volatile oils, its chief constituent being menthol which has a penetrating odor and cooling taste and is used in chewing gum and toothpaste, in confectionery and pharmaceuticals.
The leaves too release appreciable amounts of menthol. Decoctions and infusions of these leaves in water is valued as a carminative.
It eases gastric discomforts, relieves muscle strain and aids digestion. It helps the liver digest food and dissolves gravel in the kidneys and the bladder.It is an active ingredient in most drugs prescribed for stomach ailments because of its digestive properties.
● A spoonful of fresh mint juice mixed with two spoonfuls of pure malt vinegar and an equal amount of honey stirred into carrot juice is said to be a treatment for tuberculosis, asthma and bronchitis. It also prevents asthmatic attacks and reduces congestion in the air passages.
● A cupful of mint tea (mint steeped in a cup of hot boiling water) every morning and evening assists digestion and can benefit even small children with colic problems.
● Fresh mint leaves chewed daily act as an effective dentifrice, killing germs that produce odor in the mouth, preventing tooth decay and pyorrhea.
● Fresh mint juice applied on the face very night is said to cure pimples and can be applied to soothe insect bites, eczema and dermatitis.
● Mint also helps tone up the nervous system and is therefore prescribed for general listlessness and heart palpitations. Mint also acts as a natural cooling agent to counteract the enervation of hot weather.
Almost 85% Moisture,
5.85 Carbohydrates, Calcium, Phosphorus, Iron, Vitamin C and
Traces of Vitamin B complex andA a good amount of Vitamin D and F.