Mint, a large family of fragrant herbs. The aromatic leaves and volatile oils of mint plants are widely used for flavoring and seasoning, and to a lesser extent in medicines and perfumes. For example, menthol, an oil, is used as a cooling agent in chest rubs. Mint plants are often grown as ornamentals in rock gardens and borders. There are more than 160 genera and 3,500 species, native mostly to the temperate zones.Mint has aromatic leaves dotted with small glands.
A typical mint plant has a squarish stem and simple leaves that grow opposite each other. The small, two-lipped flowers, which may be purple, pink, or white, often grow in spikes or clusters well above the foliage. The plant produces four smooth nutlets.
Mint plants belong to the mint family, Labiatae. The genus Mentha, often called the true mints, includes such plants as bergamot, pennyroyal, peppermint, and spearmint.