Mint History

 

On Peppermint…

Peppermint is the most popular of all breath mint flavors.

In Greek mythology Persephone was the wife of Pluto, who was the Roman name for the God of the underworld, also known as Hades. When Persephone found out that Pluto was in love with the beautiful nymph Minthe, jealousy burned within her, and she changed Minthe into a lowly plant.  Pluto couldn’t undo Persephone’s spell, but he did soften it a little so that the more Minthe was tread upon, the sweeter her smell would be.  The name Minthe changed to Mentha and became the genus name of this herb, mint.

Many cultures treasured this herb. The Pharisees paid their tithes with mint.  The Romans crowned themselves with peppermint wreaths. The Greeks used mint in temple rites and believed it could clear the voice and counteract sea serpent stings.

On Cinnamon…

One of the oldest known spices, cinnamon is mentioned in the Bible and in Sanskrit writings.
Cinnamon is native to Sri Lanka and comes from the tropical evergreen laurel tree, Cinnamomum Verum. The spice is the tree bark, rolled into sticks, quills or ground to powder.
Thousands of years ago, Egyptians included cinnamon in their embalming mixtures.
Cinnamon was also one of the spices that spurred world exploration

On Wintergreen…

Wintergreen is a group of plants. Wintergreen once commonly referred to plants that remain green throughout the winter.  The term evergreen is now more commonly used for this characteristic.

Most species of the shrub genus Gaultheria demonstrate this characteristic and are called wintergreens in North America, the most common generally being the Eastern Teaberry (Gaultheria Procumbens).

Wintergreen berries, from the Gaultheria Procumbens are used medicinally. Native American brewed a tea from the leaves to alleviate rheumatic symptoms, headache, fever, sore throat and various aches and pains. During the American revolution, wintergreen leaves were used as a substitute for tea, which was scarce.

On Liquorice…

Liquorice is the root of the glycyrrhiza glabra plant from which a sweet flavor can be extracted. Liquorice flavor is used in many liquorice candies. Liquorice as a herb is also known for its medicinal qualities.

Especially in ancient Greece, China and India, liquorice was often used to treat various conditions. Liquorice has been widely used to treat cough and bronchitis and is also known to fight indigestion and gastric troubles.

On Ginger…

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Ginger is the underground rhizome of the ginger plant with a firm, striated texture.

The history of Ginger goes back over 5000 years when the Indians and ancient Chinese considered it a medicine for all ailments. Traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic Indian cultures viewed ginger as a healing gift from God.

After the ancient Romans imported ginger from China almost two thousand years ago, its popularity in Europe remained centered in the Mediterranean region until the Middle Ages when its use spread throughout other countries. Although it was a very expensive spice, owing to the fact that it had to be imported from Asia, it was still in great demand. In an attempt to make it more available, Spanish explorers introduced ginger to the West Indies, Mexico and South America.

On Aniseed…

Anise or aniseed has been cultivated for probably 4,000 years, first in Egypt and the Middle East. Later, aniseed was brought to Europe for its medicinal value. In ancient times, anise was so highly prized that it was often used for tithes, offerings and payment of taxes in the Middle East.

The Romans often served spiced aniseed cakes at the close of parties and entertainment to avoid indigestion. Anise was called Solamen intestinorum, the comforter of the bowels.

Charlemagne, in the ninth century, commanded that anise be grown on the imperial farms. Centuries later, King Edward IV used to sleep on bed linens that had been perfumed with anise.

Aniseed has a wide range of culinary applications, both sweet and savory. It is also used in confectionery and liqueurs.