Mint, or Mentha, L. a genus of plants comprising 24 species, 12 being natives of Britain ; of which the following are the principal:
1. The Pulegium : See Pennyroyal.
2. The Arvensis, or Corn.-mint; growing on moist heaths, pastures, and in sandy inundated fields; flowering from June to September.-—It is eaten by horses, and goats, but disliked by sheep, and refused by hogs and cows ; though the animals last mentioned devour it eagerly towards the end of the summer, when pressed by hunger, and the pastures are bare ; in which case it prevents the coagulation of their milk, so that it is with the greatest difficulty converted into cheese.
3. The viridis, or Spear-mint, which grows on the banks of rivers, and in watery situations; flowers in the months of July and August.—It is propagated by parting the roots; and, as its flavour is more agreeable than that of most other species of this plant, it is generally preferred for culinary purposes.—The leaves of the Spearmint, when prepared with sugar, form a delicious conserve ; and the distilled waters, both spirituous and simple, are highly esteemed for their mildness and pleasant taste. —The leaves are eaten in the spring as a salad ; and their juice, when boiled with sugar, is formed into lozenges.
4. The piperita, or Peppermint, growing in watery places, and on the banks of rivulets; flowering in the months of August and September.—Its stem and leaves abound with minute vesicles containing a very pungent essential oil, that rises in distillation.—This species is the strongest and most aromatic of the mints, on which account it is alone used in medicine, and the liquor prepared from it, is known under the name of Pepper-mint-water.—Being an excellent stomachic, it is but too often used in cases of impaired appetite, flatulence, colics, nausea, and inclination to vomit. It has also occasionally been found of service in hysteric affections ; and, however harmless in itself, when considered as a simple water, this exhilarating carminative is so far a dangerous domestic medicine, as with many nervous and irritable persons, it is apt to introduce a habit of tasting the stronger spirituous liquors.