In honor of this week’s BSI, I thought I’d offer up a little peppermint info to serve as education and inspiration.  Don’t forget to submit your recipes by Sunday, December 14 @ 7:00 PM EST.  Can’t wait to see all your minty ideas!

1. Peppermint is a hybrid plant – a cross between watermint and spearmint. 

2. Peppermint grows in shady, moist habitats like stream banks and waste lands.  Waste lands…interesting choice for something that freshens your breath and leaves your mouth feeling clean and tingly.

3. Peppermint flowers are purple and its leaves and stems are hairy!

4. Peppermint seeds sold at stores do not grow into true peppermint, but into an inferior spearmint. Peppermint is actually a sterile plant.  Those tricky seed producers can’t fool us!

5. Peppermint is mainly grown for the oil in its leaves.  It takes about 1 ton of herb to make 7 pounds of oil.  The United States is currently the  largest producer of peppermint oil – making half the world’s supply.

6. Peppermint gets its minty aroma and flavor from the menthyl acetate it contains. But menthol is actually peppermint’s main active ingredient.  It lives in its leaves and flowers and provides the cooling sensation of the herb – what makes it popular in soaps and lotions.

7. Pliny the Elder documented the use of peppermint by the ancient Greeks and Romans.  During feasts, they crowned themselves with its leaves and flavored sauces and wines with its essence.  The Egyptians used it too.

8. Peppermint is sometimes referred to as “the world’s oldest medicine.  It has been used for thousands of years in Eastern and Western practice to treat – ready for this? – headaches, anxiety, pain, muscle spasms, indigestion, nausea, sore throat, colds, skin irritations, bacteria growth, respiratory infections, inflamed tissues, toothaches, cramps and cancers.  Whew! 

9. Peppermint is an excellent source of manganese, vitamin C and vitamin A.

10. We all know and love the pepperminty goodness of the candy cane.  But the original candy cane – invented by French priests in the early 1400s – was unflavored, uncolored and straight.  It turned into a cane in the 1600s and finally got its peppermint flavor around 1900.  It got the red and white stripes then too!

Alright, I’m gonna go find some minty gum!


15 Responses to “Peppermint”

  1. 1 Sharon December 9, 2008 at 8:21 pm

    Oh wow, a source of Vitamin C? Neat!

  2. 2 VeggieGirl December 9, 2008 at 8:26 pm

    Fabulous nutrition facts!!

  3. 3 Lindsay December 9, 2008 at 8:33 pm

    i think im gonna break out my box of candy canes 🙂

  4. 4 eatingbender December 9, 2008 at 11:21 pm

    Thanks for all the fun facts! That picture of the peppermint candy is gorgeous!

  5. 5 Katie December 9, 2008 at 11:40 pm

    So, I don’t know if this will count because I made it a few weeks ago, but it was pretty darn delicious. I’ll try to come up with something unique but in the meanwhile:

    Great idea!

  6. 6 Mariposa December 10, 2008 at 9:21 am

    love the pic of that peppermint! so yummy!

  7. 7 sweetandnatural December 10, 2008 at 12:25 pm

    Sharon, VeggieGirl – Who knew?!

    Lindsay – You better belive candy canes are on the grocery list for this weekend. 😛

    eatingbender, Mariposa – I can’t take credit for the peppermint pic. It was a stock photo I found. 🙂

    Katie – That can count!

  8. 8 Mel December 10, 2008 at 12:31 pm

    Ooh, thanks for the info.

    I love that you included peppermint with helping with headaches. If I feel a migraine coming on, I start to look for the peppermints!

  9. 9 Andrea [bella eats] December 10, 2008 at 2:23 pm

    Thanks for the great info! I can’t decide which form of peppermint to use… Such a great pick for the BSI!!!

  10. 10 caitlin December 10, 2008 at 10:38 pm

    ashley – i have mixed feelings about bella (im assuming this is what you mean). like, why is she so weak? why is the female presented as the weaker of the two? isnt their attraction kind of an odd metaphor for rape? i could go on and on, but this isnt women’s lit. LOL

  11. 11 sweetandnatural December 10, 2008 at 11:15 pm

    Mel – It helps me with tummy aches!

    Andrea [bella eats] – I’m sure you’ll come up with something creative!

    caitlin – YES! She’s way too damsel in distress for me (dramatically pining for Edward, always being rescued), but then tries to pretend she’s tough (saying she’s not scared of vampires, the whole motorcycle thing). I feel like she’s a walking contradiction. But the story line still keeps me hooked?!

  12. 12 Katie December 11, 2008 at 7:57 am

    Peppermint is a total fave of mine! yum!

  13. 13 theplatedecorator December 11, 2008 at 11:10 am

    I Love Peppermint! I chew gum all the time hope that gives some nutritional value!

  14. 14 Miss Marie December 12, 2008 at 12:08 am

    I was just pondering adding mint to my herb garden. I think this pushed me into a YES! 😉

  15. 15 sweetandnatural December 12, 2008 at 10:06 am

    Katie, theplatedecorator – It’s so refreshing, what’s not to love!

    Miss Marie – An herb garden – how fun!

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