Spearmint is the best known herb among all the varieties of mint, in the mint family, the others being peppermint, apple mint, orange mint, water mint, curly mint, and so on. Native to Europe and Southwest Asia, spearmint is a herbaceous rhizomatous perennial plant that grows to a height of 30 to 100 cm. The plant bears small leaves measuring 5-9 cm in length and 1.5-3 cm in width. The leaves have a mild, sweet fragrance and aroma. Spearmint is used either in its fresh or dried form for seasoning various delicacies.
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History and Uses: Spearmint is native to the Mediterranean region and was cultivated throughout the Roman Empire. The Spearmint plant grows to about two feet in height, with short, bright green leaves and small, compactly-arranged flowers. Spearmint is easy to cultivate and grows well in most types of soil and is, in fact, sometimes considered a weed in America.
Today, Spearmint is used for culinary purposes by people across the world. The leaf is used as a flavoring in many dishes, candies and beverages, and it is also an ingredient in cosmetics.
Medicinally, Spearmint Leaf is similar to Peppermint in action, though it is considered to be milder. For this reason, Spearmint Leaf has traditionally been used for stomach aches in children. A decoction of Spearmint Leaf was formerly gargled to keep gums healthy and whiten the teeth, and it is still used in many toothpastes. Spearmint Leaf is primarily used to reduce fevers and to aid in digestion.
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