According to Greek mythology, special creatures were deified - nymphs who lived far from Olympus in the mysterious darkness of deep caves, impenetrable forests and bottomless reservoirs, but by order of Zeus immediately appeared to the father of gods and people. In those places where they came out, streams began their run, breaking through the earth's thickness, and no one could stop their movement. People knew about the wisdom of the nymphs, who owned the secrets of life and death, could heal from diseases and predict the future - in the places of their appearance, nymphaeums were erected - sanctuaries where sacrifices were made to the nymphs. In addition, people noticed the healing properties of springs coming out of the earth, and plants that accompany the flow of water, and treated them with care.
According to legend, the nymph of the underworld Menta (Minfa) was beautiful, wise, healed from ailments and owned the mysteries of nature. The god Hades, the lord of the kingdom of the dead, fell in love with her, but his jealous wife Persephone tore Mentu to pieces, and an amazing plant, mint, grew at the place of her death.
Dragolyub, Bezhava, Perekop - this is how mint was called in Rus'. This is one of the oldest plants, which is known for its medicinal properties and fragrant unique aroma. But the homeland of mint is the Mediterranean, from where it spread throughout the world. There are a lot of different varieties of mint, and almost every region with a warm climate has its own type of mint.
The ancient Greeks and Romans made mint perfumes with a refreshing aroma, wove mint stems into wreaths for religious ceremonies, and used to treat various ailments. Mint was grown near every house, on holidays, before feasts, tables were rubbed with it. The smell of mint, which the guests felt as soon as they crossed the threshold of the house, spoke of the hospitality of the hosts. But the ancient Greek soldiers were forbidden to use mint during the wars. Mint was considered an herb of Venus and was used as an aphrodisiac - a means of arousing sexual desire.
In Roman mythology, the goddess Menta personified the human mind. Therefore, a mandatory attribute of the ancient Roman philosophers was a wreath of fresh mint stalks. Such a wreath was worn by the famous Roman historian and writer Pliny the Elder and advised his students to do the same. It was believed that this plant activates the activity of the brain, helps to maintain flexibility and clarity of mind.
Hippocrates advised whitening teeth with mint infusion. Now it is difficult to imagine a toothpaste, which would not include menthol, the main component of peppermint essential oil.
For the first time, the healing properties of mint were noticed three thousand years ago in Ancient Egypt, but to this day this plant is next to us in medicines, herbal preparations, is mentioned in culinary recipes, is used in perfumery, and is also an environmentally friendly insecticide - it repels insects.
The composition of mint includes essential oil, which gives mint a characteristic smell and taste, as well as flavonoids, carotene, tannins, bitterness.
In folk medicine, mint occupies one of the first places. The reputation of mint as a tonic that calms the heartbeat, stimulates the activity of the cardiovascular system, has an antispasmodic and diaphoretic effect, has a relaxing and anti-inflammatory effect has been verified for centuries. It is an excellent remedy for colds and fevers, for pains and cramps such as stomach cramps and intestinal colic, for heartburn and nausea, motion sickness and migraine, and excessive excitability. The bitterness of mint stimulates the bile ducts, so it is an excellent choleretic agent, used to cleanse the liver and remove stones from the gallbladder. The essential oils found in mint are effective in treating frostbite, cuts, scrapes, itching, and rashes.
If you apply fresh crushed mint leaves or lotions made from it to inflamed joints, you can immediately feel relief from pain. Now peppermint oil is part of many ointments and creams for the joints. Lotions and rubbing infusion of mint relieve inflammation on the skin, as well as neuralgic pain and convulsions. A massage with mint balm relaxes muscles, relieves pain and relieves fatigue after physical exertion.
If we turn to the Ayurvedic calendar, then during the year in our climatic zone there are four periods lasting four weeks, when the body is especially unstable and sensitive to external influences. One of these periods occurs between the end of May and the beginning of June - this is the transition period between kapha and pitta. Pitta symbolizes the internal fire in the human body and the external - the hot dry season. The fire in the body rises and begins to melt fat reserves, toxins and toxins begin to be released. At this time, it is desirable to help the body cleanse itself of slagging by switching to a summer diet.
Our body tells us what food to eat. In the heat, you never want to eat a lot, especially high-calorie and fatty foods, you are drawn to light and cool foods. Ayurveda recommends cool, juicy, sweet, light and fresh foods as the main food in the summer. Spicy, sour, bitter, hot and dry foods should be avoided or reduced. In the heat, you should drink more water, fresh juices, light cool drinks with the addition of natural berries, fruits and herbs. Dishes and drinks with the addition of mint are most suitable for a summer diet.
Mint has a special place in Ayurveda. Mint is able to warm up any body, regardless of the predominant dosha type. If you rub your skin with a mint leaf or apply mint oil on it, you can immediately feel a burning sensation, but soon it will pass and be replaced by a feeling of pleasant coolness. This is a plant with a dual property: first mint heats up and then cools. Caution in the use of mint should be people with a predominance of pitta. But, in general, mint works well for almost any person, because its warming and cooling properties compensate for each other's influence.
The use of mint brings quick relief in diseases caused by kapha imbalance, such as bronchitis. Drinking with the addition of mint and mint inhalations significantly accelerate the healing process and even out the imbalance of doshas. It is also beneficial to use mint for dysbacteriosis, which is caused by a slowdown in the function of digestion due to an imbalance of fire in the body. Other remedies that affect pitta are not advisable to use in the summer, mint is better in hot weather. For the treatment of dysbacteriosis and flatulence, you should drink water with the addition of a few drops of mint oil, and it is better to prepare mint tea.
To prepare mint tea, fresh mint leaves should be washed, poured with boiling water and infused for 8-10 minutes, then strained and, if desired, add a few drops of fresh lemon juice and sugar.
There are many different varieties of mint: Peppermint is more often used for medicinal purposes, as it has a high content of essential oils and bitterness, which are not found in such quantities in spearmint, therefore it is more often used in cooking. Mountain varieties of mint are famous for their special aroma and delicate taste. Apple mint has a milder taste and does not contain bitterness, so it is used in the preparation of sweet dishes. There is also chocolate mint and orange, lemon. Interestingly, lemon balm, which is sometimes confused with lemon mint, is not a mint variety, it is a completely different plant.
Many cuisines around the world use mint as a seasoning. Mint sauces, liqueurs, various drinks, desserts are widely known. Fresh leaves added to dishes not only give the dishes an amazing summer fresh flavor, but also serve as a beautiful decoration.
Mint Pea Soup
To prepare the soup you will need:
- 2 tbsp. tablespoons olive oil (you can use sunflower oil)
- 1 medium onion
- 800 ml chicken broth (or vegetable broth to taste)
- 600 ml peeled fresh peas (can be frozen)
- 3 art. tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
- 1 head chopped lettuce
- 2 tbsp. tablespoons fresh chopped mint leaves
- salt and black pepper to taste.
Sauté finely chopped onions in a saucepan until soft, but not golden brown. Pour in the broth and bring to a boil. Add peas, bring to a boil and cook over low heat. Add lettuce, parsley and mint and cook for another 2-3 minutes until the peas are soft, season with spices. Grind the finished soup in a blender to the consistency of mashed soup. Serve chilled with sour cream, garnish with mint leaves.
Raspberry julep with mint
To prepare it you will need:
- 3 sprigs of fresh mint
- 20 g granulated sugar
- 40 ml raspberry juice
- 20 ml lemon juice
- 10 g vanilla syrup
- 3-5 pcs. raspberries
- food ice
Pour fresh mint with sugar and grind in a glass, then remove the mint and fill the glass with finely crushed ice for ¾ of the entire volume. Pour in raspberry and lemon juice, add vanilla syrup and mix. Top with raspberries and a sprig of mint.