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Mint (Mentha)

A member of the Labiatae family, and a native of Europe that has naturalised in many parts of the world.

Mint has been cultivated for medicinal purposes since ancient times, and traces have been found in Egyptian tombs dating back to 1,000BC. It was probably introduced to Britain by the Romans.

There are many varieties, the most common being "Spearmint" (mentha spicata - also known as Garden Mint or Common Mint), and "Peppermint" (mentha piperita - sometimes known as English Mint).

Mint is very easy to cultivate. Indeed if its roots aren"t restrained, it can take over the garden - so a container is probably best.

It makes traditional mint sauce, to be served with lamb (see our Recipe Section); is very good added to the cooking water of new potatoes; Peppermint makes good tea; and its essence goes well with chocolate.

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