JAMAICAN WILD CRAFTED PEPPERMINT

JAMAICAN WILD CRAFTED PEPPERMINT

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Jamaican peppermint or Satureja viminea has lime green, oval shaped leaves and bears tiny tubular flowers in early summer. Unlike many of its relatives, this woody stemmed sub shrub prefers the warmth of the tropics and is destroyed in temperatures below 32°F; although it can be grown in containers in colder regions. It grows wild in Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Costa Rica, Trinidad and many other Caribbean Islands.

Culinary Uses: In the Caribbean, particularly in Trinidad and Jamaica, Jamaican peppermint leaves are ground and used as a spice to season meats. This herb often replaces mint in recipes, including the Jamaican version of the mojito, which is made with dark as apposed to white rum. Jamaican peppermint leaves are also used to make a refreshing herbal breakfast tea sometimes combined with ginger and sugar for added flavor. Medicinally, the tea is known as a remedy for colic; it has curative properties and improves digestion.

Nutrition: Satureja viminea is nutritious and is considered to have antioxidant, digestive, expectorant, sedative, stomachic and carminative qualities. It is a source of protein, carbohydrate and dietary fiber, which helps lower LDL or bad cholesterol. Satureja, or herbs of the savory family, contain the flavonoids vitamin A or beta-carotene, vitamin C and B complex vitamins. They are a source of the minerals, iron, calcium, magnesium, niacin, thiamine, potassium and zinc.

The essential oils of Jamaican peppermint contain pulegone, a type of monoterpene, which produces the herbs minty scent, also found in pennyroyal ( Mentha pulegium