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Mint

In Hindi : Pudina
Mint

Mint is an erect plant with dark green leaves and pleasant flavour. The main types of species are Peppermint, Spearmint, Apple mint and Corn mint. Among these, Peppermint and Spearmint are commercially popular and significant. Mint stands next in place only to Vanilla and Citrus which are considered as the world's most popular flavours.

This aromatic herb is used for culinary, medicinal and cosmetic puposes. It is very effective for the treatment of indigestion and gas; gastric ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome; and especially common cold and sore throat as mint contains menthol, a natural decongestant.

Peppermint which is first in popularity among all mints, is mainly used in medicines, and for making Mint Tea. Mint oil and Menthol, which are used as flavouring agents in mouthwashes, toothpastes and chewing gums.

Mint has an important place in Indian cuisine. A few dishes prepared with mint leaves are mint-coriander chutney, rasam, sambar, meat, fish, poultry items and biryanis. Being a carminative, mint is often used in dishes made with peas, dals and other food stuffs which is difficult to digest. Both fresh and dried leaves of mint are used.

The main producers of mint are Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. It is produced as a garden crop in Ooty, Tamil Nadu. Indian export of mint mostly consists of essential oils, which have more commercial value than leaves. 

Growing Mint : Mints need moist soil and enough sunlight to thrive. You can plant mint from cuttings or seedlings. Place the cuttings in a glass of water and after the roots develop, plant them 10-20 inches apart. Only one to two cuttings are needed as mint is prone to spread fast. You could plant them either in a pot or on the ground. Harvest mint once it thrives (in about 90 days from a seedling and about 45 days from cuttings), and just before it blooms, when the flavour will be more intense. Harvest before it blooms and cut it from about one inch from the soil.