Mint is a predominantly perennial plant in the Metha genus, with 13–18 species. Hybrids naturally occur, and there are numerous cultivars.
Leaves are the culinary source of mint. Peppermint and spearmint are the most popular mints. Peppermint is a sterile hybrid of spearmint and watermint. Menthol is derived from mint essential oil.
Mint was originally employed as a medicinal herb to treat stomachache and chest pains. Mint was used to whiten teeth in the Middle Ages.
To other plants, mint makes a good companion by repelling pests and attracting beneficial insects. Mint oil makes for an environmentally friendly insecticide: able to dispatch numerous common household pests.