I’m still delighted with this “history of leafy greens” kick I appear to be on. I suppose that I’ve been convinced already for some time of the nutritious and healing benefits of greens. I’ve seen for myself how great they make me feel, so anytime new information comes along, such as the story on omega-3’s that we learned from Victoria Boutenko, I’m not *reeeeeally* surprised.
Sometimes I just get a craving for something a little more fanciful and alluring. Just like adding a few leaves of mint to a green smoothie recipe (and I have a gorgeous green smoothie recipe for you to try below!) can give your other greens a tasty boost, sometimes adding in a fanciful story to go with the medicinal benefits just makes you fall in love with greens that much more.
That’s where the story of mint comes in today.
Attracting the Attention of the Gods
Mint has been an important herb since the early starts of civilization. Romans are responsible for carrying the herb throughout Europe. Mint was known to be treasured as an important aromatic herb in medieval times. People scented their baths and strew their homes with mint because of its fresh scent.
Mint has a long and distinguished history in the herb and physick [meaning “medicinal] gardens of Europe. Traditional medicine has for many years used mint for stomach aches, chest pains, headaches and nervous complaints. The fresh herb is an antipruritic – in other words it relieves itching! It can be effective against insect bites and allergies.
In the eighteenth century, mint was used as a remedy for everything from colic, to digestive odors, to mad dog bites. When the colonists went to the New World they took along their mints for teas for headaches, heartburn, indigestion, gas and insomnia. They also drank mint tea for pleasure, not only because it tasted good, but also because it wasn’t taxed.
The species name Mentha is derived from Roman mythology. Minthe was a lovely young nymph who caught the eye of Pluto, the ruler of the underworld. When Pluto’s wife Persephone found out about his love for the beautiful nymph, she was enraged. She changed Minthe into a lowly plant, to be trodden underfoot. Pluto couldn’t reverse Persephone’s curse, but he did soften the spell somewhat by making the smell that Minthe gave off all the sweeter when she was tread upon. The name Minthe has changed to Mentha and become the name of the herb, mint.
As for the origins of mint’s reputation as the herb of hospitality, Greek mythology tells us the story. Two strangers were walking through a village. The villagers ignored them and offered neither food nor drink. Finally an old couple, Philemon and Baucis, offered them a meal. Before the four sat down for their meal, the couple rubbed the table with mint leaves to clean and freshen it. The strangers turned out to be the gods Zeus and Hermes in disguise. As a reward for the hospitality Philemon and Baucis had shown them, the gods turned the humble home into a temple. Mint thus became the symbol of hospitality.
About the authors: Situated in the heart of historic East Cowes, the VERA allotments offer fun, friendship, peace, tranquility and, if you’re prepared to make the effort, the opportunity to grow and eat your own fantastic veg.
The Nutritious Nymph
- 1 banana
- 1 sm Mexican mango
- 1 orange (include some of the pith)*
- 1 head of kale (or as many greens as you desire)
- 5 – 6 leaves of mint
- water as needed for blending
Combine fruit and water and blend until smooth. Remove the stems from your kale and chop roughly. Add your greens a handful at a time to your blender mix, blending between each handful. (Kale can be tough on a household blender, so start blending slowly until it chops up well and the blades move freely).
*Note – reserve one of your orange slices for a gorgeous garnish
Looking for more green smoothie recipes?
Find more than 80 green smoothie recipes HERE!