Also known as black mint, this aromatic herb is widely cultivated, particularly in Europe and America. Oil of Peppermint is an antiseptic. Its main constituent is essential oil containing menthol, menthone and menthyl acetate.
Peppermint is a hybrid mint (Mentha x piperita), a cross between spearmint and watermint, which is indigenous to Europe and the Middle East. It is now cultivated throughout the world. It is a herbaceous plant that grows to about 2-3 feet in height. It produces very small purple or white flowers that bloom from July through August. The leaves are dark green and fragrant. The leaves are harvested when the plant is in bloom and the leaves are at their most flavoursome. Peppermint typically grows in moist shaded habitats, including the sides of streams and moist ditches.
Peppermint has a long history of use. Aristotle (circa 384-322 BCE) mentioned peppermint as an aphrodisiac in his writings. Alexander the Great (356-323 BCE) forbade his soldiers to have peppermint because it was thought to promote erotic thoughts and reduce the desire of soldier to fight. Arabs used peppermint in their social drinks as a virility stimulant and Romans would spread peppermint on their floors to help get rid of pests.