A closeup shot of a mint plant growing at the vegetable garden

Mint is a perennial herb. It has very fragrant toothed leaves with little white, pink, or purple flowers. When you roll the stem between your fingers, you will notice that it is square. 

Mint is very easy to grow; it thrives in sun and shade. The hardest part of growing mint is keeping it from taking over. Your pert little mint plant can turn into a four-foot sprawling patch in a year if you don’t watch out. Beware! 

There are over 600 types of mint; the main ones are peppermint, spearmint, apple mint (woolly mint) pennyroyal, ginger mint, horsemint, and red raripila mint. My favorite is apple mint-it is also called woolly mint because of its fuzzy leaves. Of all the different types of mint, pennyroyal is the only one that is poisonous.

There are many uses for mint, such as in fruit salads, soaps, and teas. Have you ever noticed that when you drink a cup of hot mint tea, you get a cooling sensation traveling down your throat? This is because most types of mint have a high menthol content. This is one way that this plant is a powerful medicine. A cup of mint tea can help with pain, digestive issues, and improve your mood and alertness. To break up congestion in the lungs, make an herbal steam by placing a handful of mint in a bowl, covering it with boiling water. Put your head over the bowl face-down and cover your head with a towel so the steam can’t escape. 

Have you ever wondered why people eat mint-candies after a meal? Mint stimulates digestion and relieves nausea. It helps get rid of that over-full feeling. 

Even though mint can be a pain to contain, it has so many benefits and uses it really is worth the hassle.

Written by my niece, Lily-Anne Hein