While there is plenty to say about the myth’s capricious powerful beings who act no better than flawed humans and the societal outlook regarding women in the Greek culture at the time, I will refrain. That type of analysis is open for another time and another blog. Instead, I will speak of mint and its appearance at other times.
We move forward in time, away from Greece and Rome, myths and romantic tales, towards the new world where we find more practical information about mint. In the new world, indigenous people had discovered mint on their own plot of land. As with many things, they made full use of it. Following are a few uses found by the indigenous tribes, although I am sure that there is more than I have listed here.
Indigenous people, particularly the Meskwaki, Delaware, Mohegan, Nanticoke and the Navajo, found a variety of mint called dotted horsemint. Horsemint could be found stretching from Vermont to Minnesota. It also had roots in the stretching to the south from Florida to Texas.
The Meskwaki and the Nanticoke used mint to treat colds. The Meskwaki also ground mint with other plants to form a powder which they took into their bodies through their nostrils. They used this powder to relieve headaches. They used the roots to treat and relieve stomach cramps. The Delaware and Mohegans used it in an infusion as a fever reducer. The Delaware also used horsemint as a problemed skin remedy. The Navajo recognized mint as having a pleasant smell and used it in their hogans.
The Commanche, Hopi and Tewa used a type of mint called frosted mint. Commanche medicine women used the leaves to make other drugs more pleasant to take. Hopi and Tewa treated rheumatism and problems with the ear with their frosted mint. Additionally, they used the flowers to flavor their food.
Mint is important mythologically, historically, and culturally. It has been used in the past as a flavoring for food, medicines, and snacks. It has been used medicinally to treat various maladies. It has been a perfume. But, all these uses are still occurring today.
You may never have previously thought of mint’s significance. Yet, I believe that if mint should disappear today never to return, you’d notice the lack of it.
References to mint can be found on Wikipedia. Dotted Horsemint information comes from: plants.usda.gov/plantguide/pdf/cs_mopu.pdf. References to frosted mint can be found at: http://plants.usda.gov/plantguide/pdf/cs_poin3.pdf. Also, look for mint and references to indigenous people at the Milwaukee Public Library. Other references to mint and indigenous people can be found here: http://archive.suite101.com/article.cfm/wildflowers _north_america/114204. Mythological references can be found here: http://www.chron.com/CDA/archives/archive.mpl/1998_3074114/mint-mythology-involves-greeks-romans.html, http://www.theoi.com/Nymphe/Naiades.html, http://www.theoi.com/Nymphe/NympheMinthe.html