Peppermint is a classic perennial herb native to Europe and usually found near streams or drainage areas. With a height of 2-3 feet, this plant has been used for thousands of years as a medicinal. It is used primarily for soothing stomach discomfort and reducing gas. This makes it beneficial in reducing hangover symptoms as well. It may also be used to curb bacterial growth and relax muscles. Mint is an extremely popular flavoring for toothpaste, candy and gum. Fresh leaves also go well in lemonade or iced tea. The flavor is derived from menthol, which also makes the plant useful for soothing colds and sore throats. Usually taken as a tea or sometimes smoked, the leaves and flowering tops are the valuable part of the plant. The essential oil is used in aromatherapy and is said to increase concentration. Aside from its medicinal uses, peppermint oil is said to repel ants too. This could potentially make it beneficial in your garden, especially when growing sweet plants like strawberries or tobacco.
Growing Information: Peppermint prefers a fertile, organic soil with steady moisture. Sow your seeds on the surface of the soil and lightly press them in. Do not cover them with soil. Maintain a steady, even moisture. Because they start off so small, many growers recommend starting them indoors 6-8 weeks before the last frost to get a head start on the season. An alternating temperature between cool and warm is said to have the best effect on germination. They should only be grown in pots because they will spread rampantly if the roots are not contained. Full or partial sun is fine. Leaves can be harvested in small amounts as needed throughout the growing season. Large amounts can be taken a few times a year by cutting the plants back. This will also encourage root growth so the plant becomes more established.
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