Among the ancient Greeks, there was a a bit of discrepancy as far as mint was concerned. Hippocrates believed that frequent eating of mint diluted sperm, hindered erection and tired the body. But Aristotle, on the other hand, advised Alexander the Great not to let his warriors partake of any mint while on crusade because of the herb’s potent, aphrodisiac effects.
However, all Greeks agreed on the use of the refreshing herb in hospitality. The oil from the leaves were rubbed into the dining table as a greeting to welcome guests. It is also the ancient Greeks who gave mint its modern name.
The myth of Minthe
The herb is named after a mythical beauty Minthe, who Hades found irresistible. When Hades wife Persephone learned of her husband’s attraction, she turned the irritable beauty into the aromatic plant we use today. In her honor, Greek brides often include mint in their bridal head wreaths.
Mint grows wild all over the world and has been adopted by countless cultures for culinary and medicinal use. Chefs in countries as diverse as France, Turkey, India, Portugal, Cuba and Thailand love to tease their dishes with it’s one-of-a-kind freshness. As great chefs across the globe know but few home cooks realize, mint comes in enough varieties to suit whatever your style of seduction. If you like a strong come-on, try peppermint. Or consider apple mint for something gentle and sweet. Peppermint has the highest concentrations of menthol, while pennyroyal is strong with a medicinal flavor. And chocolate mint is definitely the choice for dessert lovers.
Surprising health benefits
Recent testing indicates that mint may have benefits as an anticancer food. One of the herb’s phytonutrient, perillyl alcohol, has been shown in preliminary studies on animals to prevent the growth of colon, skin and lung cancer by cutting off the blood stream to the cancerous areas. Its general anti-bacterial and anti-fungal abilities make mint useful in the treatment of asthma and allergies.
Mint contains a number of vitamins and minerals that are essential for maintaining sexual health, including vitamin A and C as well as a trace of vitamin B2. It also contains magnesium, calcium and potassium. But it is likely that much of mint’s aphrodisiac reputation is due to the herb’s ability to calm both mind and body.
Used in combination with other aphrodisiac ingredients, mint is the component credited with increasing appetites of all kinds. Best of all, the aromatic impression it leaves on the breath has been shown in case studies to inspire kissing. A hearty nibble and it will leave your breath as fresh as a bedtime brushing.