Spearmint Leaf – Mentha Spicata
Probably the most widely used of the mint family for cooking and flavouring it also has health benefits.
The word mint comes from the Greek word “menthe”. According to Greek mythology, Hades, ruler of the Underworld, fell in love with the nymph Menthe. Persephone, Hades’s wife, became wildly jealous and began to trample Menthe. Hades rushed forward and transformed Menthe into a shrub to keep her near him always. Persephone was appeased, thinking that Menthe would be trampled for eternity beneath the feet of passersby, but Hades gave Menthe a wonderfully sweet fragrance he could cherish each time he passed by.
Spearmint has been known for at least 2000 years, dating back to the Romans who reputedly spread its cultivation across Europe.
While peppermint is more widely used in herbal medicine, its high menthol content can be irritating to the digestive system. Spearmint, which lacks menthol, is therefore used as a gentle alternative