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Mentha – Wikipedia

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**Botanical Description and Taxonomy**:
– Mints are aromatic, perennial herbs with wide-spreading stolons, square stems, and serrated leaves.
– Flowers are white to purple, produced in verticillasters, with nutlet fruit.
– Mentha belongs to the tribe Mentheae in the subfamily Nepetoideae, with around 18-24 recognized species.
– Taxonomy challenges arise from over 3,000 published names and hybridization.

**Cultivation and Species**:
– Mints thrive in cool, moist spots, spreading rapidly through runners.
– Propagation through cuttings is more reliable than seeds.
– Common commercial mints include peppermint, spearmint, and apple mint.
– Recognized species include Mentha alaica, Mentha aquatica, and others.

– Mint leaves are used in teas, jellies, candies, and various cuisines globally.
– Mint is essential in Indian, Middle Eastern, British, and American cuisines.
– Mint is used fresh, dried, refrigerated, frozen, or in dried form.
– Mints are used as companion plants for pest repulsion and attracting beneficial insects.

**Traditional Medicine, Cosmetics, and Insecticides**:
– Mint has been historically used for medicinal purposes, including treating stomach aches and chest pains.
– Menthol from mint essential oil is used in cosmetics and perfumes.
– Mint oil serves as an eco-friendly insecticide effective against wasps, hornets, ants, and cockroaches.
– Mint is used in aromatherapy for post-surgery nausea relief.

**Health Benefits, Risks, and Culinary Uses**:
– Mint is rich in antioxidants and aids digestion, relieving indigestion.
– Menthol in mint helps alleviate symptoms of IBS and reduce nausea and headaches.
– Mint has antimicrobial properties and is used in traditional medicine for various ailments.
– Potential risks include allergies, toxicity in large amounts, and worsened symptoms in GERD patients.
– Culinary uses of mint include flavoring dishes, making beverages, desserts, and being a staple in Middle Eastern cuisine.

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