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History of Spearmint

History of Spearmint

History of Spearmint. Spearmint belongs to the mint family, along with peppermint. The refreshing herb flavors food, chewing gum and candy, and mouthwash and toothpaste. It also has medicinal properties. Its toothed leaves grow opposite each other on straight, heavy stalks.

Spearmint belongs to the mint family, along with peppermint. The refreshing herb flavors food, chewing gum and candy, and mouthwash and toothpaste. It also has medicinal properties. Its toothed leaves grow opposite each other on straight, heavy stalks.
Origin
Native to Europe, spearmint is referred to in the Bible as a tithe offering by the Pharisees. Romans cultivated spearmint and introduced it to the English during their conquests.
Culinary History
Before refrigeration, crushed spearmint was added to milk to keep it from curdling. Modern recipes ranging from savory to sweet call for the refreshing flavor of spearmint. The menthol contained in the leaves tricks the tongue into feeling like it came into contact with something cold. American Southerners popularized the practice of adding a sprig to iced tea or a mint julep to increase the refreshment quality of a cold drink.
Medicinal History
Early doctors used spearmint tea to cure colds, headaches and stomach problems, including vomiting and gas. Physicians often treated infant colic with a bit of spearmint tea.
Other Uses throughout History
Housekeepers during the Middle Ages used spearmint as a strewing herb, a fragrant plant thrown on the floor of a dwelling to freshen the air. It had the added advantage of repelling insects, mice and rats.

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