I think its worth our while to go back and look at natural remedies the ancient civilizations used! If there is one plant growing in your kitchen it must be peppermint or a spearmint. Peppermint is a hybrid of spearmint and watermint, Mentha x piperita and Green mint has softer mint taste, is also called, Mentha viridis. Mint was widely used as a natural medicine and was sacred in most cultures. It was even used in a painting of Paul Cezanne, The Peppermint Bottle as the inspiration for that still life painting. It’s easily been overlooked, because its green plain looking leaves with a very low growing habit is not eye catching, but it does pack a punch that must not be overlooked. Mint has been growing in nature next to streams and around ponds, it has a spreading growing structure and can be grown as a groundcover.
Mint can be grown in the garden in warm climates but does not like cold weather and is best grown inside a windowsill with natural light in the colder months. The plant needs 3-4 hours of direct sunlight. It does need a good watering every third day; it can tolerate a bit of drought but not a lot.
You can easily grow mint from seed in a propagator if used indoors in the colder months. With jiffy pellets to keep the moisture level up, you can’t go wrong. Sow the seeds 6 mm deep in your medium. In warm area in can be sown outside in a tray. The seeds need 13 -18 degrees to germinate. Expect germination in 10 to 15 days. Keep the soil moist but not soggy. Once the seedlings have true leaves, the first set of after the initial pair, then it can be planted in small containers to place in the windowsill of your kitchen or in a warm area in your garden.
Let’s get to the wonders of mint! Peppermint or Mentha x piperita is a herbal tea favourite. It will help with breaking up sinus congestion and to help against fever and headaches. Peppermint is an excellent remedy in breaking up congestion through an herbal steam!
To make a steam pour hot boiled water over about 10 leaves in a medium size bowl and throw a towel over your head and lower your face down to the bowl and breathe in the rising peppermint steam. Please be careful in not burning yourself.
To make a peppermint tea pour hot boiled water in a cup with 2-3 leaves in it to steep for 10 minutes then strain it to drink. Mint has antioxidant properties and is good with managing your blood sugar levels. Peppermint and Green mint contains menthol that has anti-inflammatory properties and antimicrobial properties. Green mint is a softer variety and are easier to inhale as peppermint are very potent. Mint can be dried to be used later and can be used in salads or salad dressings for a freshness that will invigorate you. I am sure there are lots of people being pulled down with the flu and colds. Please invest in growing this plant to add to your arsenal for the future!
About the Author
Adele Siemssen is the Seeds for Africa Operations supervisor. Adele is a qualified horticulturist with 30 years of hands on experience and loves pets and assisting customers to make their garden dreams come true!