Crushed scents of mints pervading,
apple, lemon, eau-de-cologne but a few
of the many varieties, captured in sachets or pot-pourris.
Fresh tastes in summer dishes, drinks and dainties,
the much-loved mint sauce that stirs
the appetite for meat.
A valuable plant since bible times
and one of the first used medicinaly.
Many different types of mint have been grown in Britain since at least the ninth century. They were used widely to purify water and air and to rid a room of fleas and lice, to cure headaches and mad dog bites and as strewing herbs.
Most mints, including the best known spearmint and peppermint are creeping plants that hybridize easily, producing infinite variations.
They can be used to flavour sauces, vinegar, vegetables, desserts, and julep. Their teas are popular in the alcohol-free Arab world.
Mints are stimulant, aid digestion, and reduce flatulence. Peppermint has additional antiseptic, anti-parasitic, and anti-viral and sweat-inducing properties. It is included in ointments, cold remedies, and an inhalation of the essential oil treats shock and nausea.
The mint shown above is Pineapple Mint which I have let run free to flower in one border. I ruthlessly dig it out in spring, but there are always a few bits of root left, inevitably, and the cycle begins again. When in flower they are covered in bees, so that can't be bad. I also have Spearmint in an old bath tub which I use in cooking, for mint sauce and mint tea, and Chocolate mint which has a brown underside to the leaves and smells vaguely of chocolate, this is in a large pot.
Whenever I pass the spearmint which is placed near the kitchen, I can't resist running my fingers through it and nipping a little off just to hold it to my nose and delight in its fragrance. Surely an unforgettable smell.