Pennyroyal (wild Minth)
As Strabo tells us, Minti was a nymph of the waters, daughter of the river Kokitos, whom Pluto fell in love with. When Dimitra, Persephone's mother, learned it, she transformed her into a herb and planted it on Mount Mithi of Trifilia, named after her. Pluto, unable to suspend her transformation, gave her a beautiful fragrance.
According to the historian, there was a temple of Hades on Mount Minthi and a grove dedicated to Demeter.
Pennyroyal is the wild mint, one of the most fragrant Mediterranean herbs. It belongs to the large family of Lamiaceae (or Labiatae) and is also a cousin of our well known mint and peppermint.
When planted side by side, several hybrids emerge (over sixty have been recorded in the Mediterranean). And the well-known peppermint is a natural hybrid, a cross between aquatic peppermint (menta aquatica) and mint (menta spicata) and is now grown all over the world.
All types of mint have similar ingredients, while pennyroyal is being considered to have the highest resin content but not containing menthol as is the case with peppermint and mint.
The plant that in America is called pennyroyal is a different species from the European one, although they have many common characteristics, since they belong to the same family of mint.
When it appears wild, in nature, indicates the existence of water, as it grows along rivers and streams, even underground and in swamps.
As mint, it is first mentioned in the ancient Egyptian papyrus Ebers, dating from 1550 BC. and is the oldest "medical" text found, as a stomach softener. Then we come across it in Palestine, where it was probably one of the goods that served as a means of paying taxes, so it had exchange value.
This herb is allegedly one of the ingredients contained in the “Kikeon”, the drink consumed by those who participated in the Eleusinian Mysteries.
Mint types are very popular in Arab countries, where their tea is also considered aphrodisiac. Sehrajat, in the Thousand and One Nights, offered the Sultan a cup of mint tea every night.
The Arab and Chinese doctors used them as a stimulant and digestive and to treat the symptoms of colds, coughs and fever.
Dioscuridis, Galen, Hippocrates and Pliny consider that mint have great medicinal value, but give it different properties.
Galen believed that it had soothing properties, Pliny even anesthetic, while Hippocrates referred to it as rejuvenating and rejuvenating.
Hippocrates and Galen, however, agree that it is effective against indigestion, nervous disorders, vertigo, insomnia, gastritis, cough, colds, sore throat and as an anti-convulsant.
Pliny recommended its presence in the patient rooms, considering that its fragrance facilitated recovery. Dioscurides considered it aphrodisiac because of its heating properties.
Along with lavender and rosemary, it was considered a stimulant for middle-aged men.
In Greece, it is traditionally considered refreshing for the mind and medicine for the headache.
Wild mint essential oil contains mentone, iasmone, alcohols and aldehydes and serves as a raw material in pharmaceuticals.
It is used for disinfecting the mouth in cases of tonsillitis, gingivitis and nasopharyngeal inflammation and in inflammation of the ear.
It helps in bile function and digestion. It is spasmolytic and tonic. In addition to the mint tea, it is also drunk as an alcoholic liqueur, the “Pipperman”, widely used as a digestive after-meal in the 60's and 70's.
Traditionally its fresh leaves are believed to relieve the pain of rheumatism.
It seems to help memory and therefore, its decoction is recommended during exam periods.
It stimulates the nerves that sense the cold and reduces the transmission of pain. It has soothing properties in pain but also in insect bites.
It seems to have a positive effect on the symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome.
It is anticonvulsant and helps with digestive problems and irritable bowel syndrome, supports ulcer treatment and increases biliary secretions. It helps in the treatment of diarrhea, gastric fever and toxic infections. It supports the treatment of ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease.
It helps with nasal allergies, symptoms of asthma, bronchitis, influenza and sinusitis because it stimulates the nasal mucosa.
A 2009 study found that inhalation of essential oil of peppermint reduces tuberculosis inflammation.
It seems to have protective properties in patients undergoing radiation therapy. There are preclinical studies showing that mint protects against DNA damage caused by radioactivity.
Provenly, it eliminates the herpes virus of the mouth and genitals.
Externally it relieves itching and inflammation and aches, such as muscle cramps and sprains.
It soothes the skin in light burns, itching, and common irritations and cleanses it of black spots and acne, thanks to its antibacterial action.
In nausea, but also in pregnancy, it reduces the tendency to vomit.
The peppermint essential oil, applied to the neck, alleviates the symptoms of mental fatigue, anxiety, depressive states and headaches.