Mint has an amazing variety of colors, aspects and aromas. The basic odor is fresh, piquant and peppery, but can vary with each type of mint. All the varieties of mint belong to the same botanical family, Labiatae, and their lavender or rose-colored flowers blossom all summer long.
In an early Greek myth, Persephone, the queen of the underworld, became angry at her husbandÃ•s wandering eye, especially when Hades noticed a young nymph names Minthe. One day, in a fit of jealousy, she turned the lovely woman into mint. Armed with this story, Hippocrates warned men to use mint cautiously.
Spearmint, mentha spicata, also known as garden mint, balm mint or Notre-Dame mint, is one of the most well known and commonly found varieties. Its narrow leaves are deep green and its flowers are grouped together in pointed, projectile-like formation. Spearmint is highly appreciated for its digestive properties and its ability to relieve nausea especially due to motion sickness. Quite often it is also used to find relief from headaches and tension. Inhaling the steam from a double strength infusion will help relieve nasal congestion. Mint tea can also be used in compresses to soothe itching and inflammation.
Bring filtered or spring water to 212°F. Add 1 tsp of tea leaves to an 8oz cup. Pour boiling water over the tea leaves and let steep 5 minutes.