A hardy perennial mint with bright green serrated leaves, spearmint has served as an important medicinal herb for millennia. The Bible records that the ancient Pharisees paid tithes to their Temple in anise, cumin and spearmint.
Spearmint has been cultivated for so long, that some believe it would be virtually impossible to find it growing in its original form in nature. Biblical references to mint suggest it was of such high value as to be used as tithes by the Pharisees along with anise and cumin.
The mint sauces and jellies that usually accompany lamb dishes are made of the milder-flavored spearmint. It was once recommended hundreds of years ago as a treatment for hiccough, flatulence as well as ‘the giddiness of indigestion’. Used externally, oil of spearmint, was thought to heal ‘chaps and indolent eruptions.’
Contains aromatic compounds that increase the production of digestive fluids and enzymes, relieve smooth muscle spasms, increase blood circulation, promote sweating, relieve pain and are antiseptic. It also contains astringent compounds that shrink inflamed tissues. Spearmint has been used to treat indigestion, morning sickness, nausea, menstrual cramps, flatulence, muscle aches, flu and vomiting.