PEPPERMINT (Mentha Piperita)


Peppermint (Mentha piperita) is an aromatic perennial plant. It has stalked, smooth, dark-green leaves and blunt, oblong clusters of pinkish-lavender flowers, which are dried and used to flavor candy, beverages, salads, and other foods. Peppermint belongs to the mint family (Lamiaceae) and grows throughout North America, Asia, and Europe. Peppermint can grow to reach 3 ft. tall. There are more than 25 species of mint grown throughout the world.(2)

Classification:


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Mentha x piperita

Kingdom
Plantae
Subkingdom
Tracheobionta
Superdivision
Spermatophyta
Division
Magnoliophyta
Class
Magnoliopsida
Subclass
Asteridae
Order
Lamiales
Family
Lamiaceae
Genus
Mentha L.
Species
Mentha x piperita
SOURCE: (4)

History:


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Peppermint in North America
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Peppermint


Today Peppermint is found in almost every region of North America. However the Mediterranean region is the center of origin for the mint family. Varieties of mint have been used for thousands of years in civilizations in that area.(4)



Peppermint is a natural hybrid of water mint (Mentha aquatica ) and spearmint (Mentha spicata ) and was first cultivated in England in the late seventeenth century.
Mentha piperita has been used as a remedy for indigestion since Ancient Egyptian times. Dried peppermint leaves were found in Egyptian pyramids dating back to 1000 b.c. The ancient Greeks and Romans valued it as a stomach soother. During the eighteenth century, peppermint became popular in Western Europe as a folk remedy for nausea, vomiting, morning sickness , respiratory infections , and menstrual disorders (3)

Relatives:


Rosemary, sage, savory, spearmint, marjoram, oregano, and thyme are all relatives in the mint (Lamiaceae) family. Within the family there are mainly herbaceous plants, and small shrubs. Characteristics of these plants include square stems, and aromatic simple leaves with many oil glands. (1)
.

References:


1) Leventin, Estelle and Karen McMahon. Plants and Society Fifth Edition. McGraw-Hill, NY 2008.
2) Peppermint. (2009). In Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved December 01, 2009, from Encyclopedia Britannica Online: http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/450848/peppermint
3)
Wurges, Jennifer; Teresa Odle. "Peppermint." Gale Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine. The Gale Group, Inc. 2005. Retrieved December 01, 2009 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3435100604.html
4) Peppermint. (2009). USDA. National Resource Conservation Service. Retrieved December, 01 Dec. 2009, from USDA: http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=MEPI