Mint comes from a small group of herbaceous plants that grow on every continent except Antarctica. Mint plants thrive near water and grow abundantly on the shores of lakes and rivers. According to Better Homes & Gardens, they are easy to cultivate and have an affinity for moist, cool locations. Mint grows well in both sunny and shady areas.
According to Cooking Light, mint plants propagate quickly and yield large amounts of leaves throughout their growth cycle. Fresh mint leaves should be harvested, rinsed and eaten on the same day, although unused leaves tolerate refrigeration for several days. Dried mint has a longer shelf life and remains edible for years if kept in a dark, dry and airtight container.
The Epicentre reveals that fresh mint leaves play an important role in Middle Eastern and Asian cuisines, where it appears in numerous chutneys, teas, salads and desserts. Dried mint leaves, mint extract and mint jelly also appear in American and British dishes. The herb has a special affinity for lamb.
Mint plants are the source of menthol, a popular ingredient in home fragrance sprays, body care products and home remedies for minor digestive ailments. Menthol also appears in mentholated cigarettes because its cool, invigorating properties reduce throat irritation and provide pleasant flavor.