Here in the UK the weather forecasters promised us a hot summer and so far they haven’t disappointed us. Like me, you might love the heat, but even the most dedicated sun-worshipers will admit there are times when we need to cool down. Aromatically, members of the mint family excel at this task. Think of sprigs of mint in cool summer drinks, tongue-freezing minty ice creams, sharp peppermint sweets or that refreshing foot lotion that’s lurking in the back of your bathroom cupboard.
There are many varieties of mint, the most famous being peppermint (Mentha x piperita). Its essential oil has been a household staple for decades, used extensively in toothpaste, food flavourings, cold remedies and much more. Mints are members of the Lamiaceae family, alongside other aromatherapy favourites such as lavender and rosemary. This plant family is rich in volatile oils – just stroke a mint or rosemary leaf to rupture the delicate oil sacs and release the aromatic essential oils.