Congratulations Peppermint! You share the title with Lavender of being called one of the most versatile oils in the world. Mentha piperita, or Peppermint as it's commonly known, is a perennial herb native to the Mediterranean, but has also been cultivated in the USA, Italy, Great Britain, and Japan. In America Washington is the leading producer of mint oil nationwide. Washington farmers produce the most spearmint oil and the second-most peppermint oil, with about 17,000 acres of spearmint and 16,000 acres of peppermint,
Extracted from the Peppermint herb, the uses of this cherished plant and its benefits have been traced back to Chinese and Japanese folk medicine practices and even Ancient Egyptian times where dried Peppermint leaves were found placed in tombs inside the pyramids.
The essential oils of Peppermint are found in cells on the underside of the leaves and are collected through the process of steam distilling the fresh or partially dried plant leaves.
HISTORY AND BENEFITS OF PEPPERMINT
Considered by botanists to be a hybrid of wintermint and spearmint, archaeological evidence suggests that the medicinal use of Peppermint dates back at least 10,000 years. Peppermint has been found in ancient Egyptian tombs, and both the Romans and Greeks used Peppermint to flavor sauces and wines. Commercial cultivation of Peppermint began in the late 18th century.
Historically, peppermint dates back as one of the oldest medicinal herbs used in Europe, an ancient remedy for both Chinese and Japanese cultures, and in Egyptian medicine. In Greek mythology, Pluto pursued the nymph Mentha, he transformed her into an herb (guess which?) so that the generations to come would enjoy her just as well as he. Such a colorful legacy is contained well in this cool, accessible, effective substance.