Like the Jolly Green Giant, both the leaf and the height of the apple mint impress with their size. If the Mint Family Reunion committee offered a souvenir T-shirt, apple mint would be the big kid asked to stand in the back, while its cousins—peppermint, spearmint, horehound, lavender and the rest—smile broadly from the front row. Often grown as a prolific, aromatic ground cover, apple mint performs extra duty as a culinary herb and a healing agent. Apple mint is also classified as a strewing herb, meant to be strewn or scattered here and there in households and granaries for its potent capacity to repel rodents. It was also strewn across temple floors to generate a heavenly aroma as its scent was released upon being trodden by devotees.
What does it do?
Apple mint tea is an excellent choice when a headache strikes or when stomach discomfort begins to spoil your day. Mints of all types also address feverish conditions effectively. Researchers using essential oil of apple mint show promise for treating vaginal candidiasis. A skin toner can be made simply and easily using apple mint, apple cider vinegar and soft water. Gardeners interested in “companion planting” would do well to grow apple mint near peas, tomatoes, broccoli and cabbage, as it facilitates their growth while enhancing their flavors.
About the herb
Named after Minthe—the Greek water nymph transformed by Hades’ jealous wife, Persephone, into a sweet-smelling herb—the mint family has held an elevated position in kitchens and medicine cabinets since ancient times. Easy to spot while walking through the field, apple mint produces a large, round-edged leaf (4 inches). Climbing up to 36 inches, the yardstick-long apple mint is also taller than most mint species. Its lovely mauve flowers burst forth during July and August. Mints are native to southern and western Europe and the western Mediterranean region.
Pour boiled water over a teaspoon of dried or fresh apple mint leaves and steep for 10 minutes. Add a pinch of cinnamon and a slice of lemon for a mentally calming beverage any time of the year. Since apple mint exudes a fruity scent that offers a hint of fresh apples, its leaves provide a natural garnish for your fruit salad. Note: avoid mint teas during pregnancy.