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  • Writer's pictureOlivine Moss


Updated: Oct 30, 2023






Governed by Venus


Lore and Legends

Mint is a common herb that many people use for cooking, tea, or even chewing gum. But did you know that mint has a long and rich history that spans across cultures and mythologies? In this blog post, we will explore some of the fascinating stories and facts about mint, from its origins in ancient Greece to its modern applications in medicine and cosmetics.

One of the most famous legends about mint involves the Greek god of the underworld, Hades, and his lover, a nymph named Minthe. According to some versions of the myth, Hades was attracted to Minthe and had an affair with her, while his wife Persephone was away. However, when Persephone returned and found out about their relationship, she was furious and transformed Minthe into a lowly plant that grew on the ground. Hades could not undo the curse, but he gave Minthe a sweet fragrance that would fill the air whenever she was stepped on or crushed.

Another version of the myth says that it was not Persephone, but Pluto, the Roman god of wealth and the underworld, who had a crush on Minthe. Pluto also had a wife, Proserpina, who was the Roman equivalent of Persephone. Proserpina was jealous of Minthe and turned her into a plant as well. Pluto then gave her the same gift of a pleasant aroma.

Regardless of which version you prefer, the myth of Minthe explains why mint is associated with death and the underworld in some cultures. For example, in ancient Greece and Rome, mint was used to mask the smell of decay and to prepare the bodies of the dead for burial. Mint was also planted on graves and offered to the spirits of the deceased.

Mint was not only used for funerary purposes, but also for religious and medicinal ones. In medieval Europe, mint was spread in churches and monasteries to purify the air and ward off evil spirits. Mint was also believed to have various healing properties, such as soothing stomachaches, headaches, colds, and fevers. Mint was also used as an antidote for venomous bites and stings, such as those from scorpions, snakes, and rabid dogs.

However, mint was not always beneficial for health. Some folklore warned that eating mint while wounded would delay healing and worsen inflammation. This may be because mint has a cooling effect on the body, which could interfere with blood circulation and clotting. Therefore, it was advised to avoid consuming mint internally if injured, but rather to apply it externally or soak in it.

Mint also had some practical uses in everyday life. One of them was to preserve food, especially dairy products. Mint contains menthol, which has antibacterial and antifungal properties that can prevent spoilage. Mint also adds a refreshing flavor that can mask any unpleasant tastes or odors. For example, in the 17th century, an English herbalist named Nicholas Culpeper wrote: "Divers have held for true , that Cheeses will not corrupt , if they be either rubbed over withe the juyce or a decoction of Mints , or they laid among them." Similarly, some people believed that adding a little bit of mint to milk would keep it from curdling and extend its shelf life.

Today, mint is still widely used for various purposes. Mint is a popular ingredient in many cuisines around the world, especially in Middle Eastern and Asian dishes. Mint is also used to flavor candies, chocolates, ice creams, beverages, and oral hygiene products. Mint is also valued for its cosmetic benefits, as it can improve skin tone, reduce acne, and stimulate hair growth. Mint is also used in aromatherapy and herbal medicine for its calming and invigorating effects.

As you can see, mint is much more than just a simple herb. It has a rich history that spans across cultures and mythologies. It has many uses that range from religious to medicinal to culinary. It has many benefits that affect our physical and mental well-being. Mint is truly a fascinating plant that deserves our appreciation and respect.


Medicinal Uses

Mint relieves gastro symptoms, upset stomach, and indigestion, helps control inflammation, and peppermint oil can reduce pain.



Sunflowers and marigolds and mint beset us ,

Moths white as stitchwort that had left its stem ,

Loyal as sunflowers we will not swerve us ,

We'll make the mints remembered spices serve us

For autumn as in spring . N. HOPPER .

The neighb'ring nymphs each in her turn

Some running through the meadows with them bring

Cowslips and mint . ..

Britannia's Pastorals , book i .

Here's flowers for you , Hot Lavender , Mints , Savory , Marjoram . Winter's Tale , iv .4

The healthful balm and mint from their full laps do fly , The scentful camomile , Polyolbion , Song xv



Further Reading

The Naiad Minthe in Greek Mythology. (n.d.). Greek Legends and Myths.

Mint History - Folklore and Medicinal Uses. (2020, October 19). Our Herb Garden.

Rosalind Northcote (1903), The Book of Herbs, retrieved from

Evans, L. (2022, July 7). Ultimate Guide to Mint Plant Meaning, Types, and Uses. Petal Republic.

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