Mint has been a valued plant since the ancient world. In mythology, a nymph named Mentha caught Pluto’s eye; his wife, Persephone, crushed her underfoot in a jealous rage. Although Pluto could not save Mentha, he did change her into a delightfully fragrant herb. Of the many types of mint, only peppermint and spearmint really have a place in the spice rack.
Peppermint leaves can be steeped in water for tea, which traditional medicine uses as a remedy for cramps, headaches, nausea, diarrhea, indigestion, colds and "whatever ails you." For cooking purposes, peppermint is used to flavor sweets, candies and various liquors in the form of essential oil or extract. Many Mediterranean and Middle Eastern dishes use fresh or dried peppermint leaves in salads and sauces.