Peppermint vs. Mint – What’s More Behind Their Coolness?

Herbs can be hard to classify and differentiate, as in the case of peppermint vs. mint. Their resemblance and similarity in taste and use may make it difficult to distinguish one from another. So, how can we tell them apart?

Short answer: Mint refers to a group aromatic herb family of which peppermint is a member. Therefore, all peppermints are mints but not all mints are peppermints. However, peppermint is the specie of aromatic herb with the strongest flavor among other mints. Simply put, mint is the big family name, and peppermint is a member of the family.

Let’s dive away from ignorance, what exactly are peppermint and mint. In this article, we will talk about:

  • What peppermint and mints are? 
  • What are the differences between peppermint vs mint?
  • Their cultivation, nutritional profile, taste, use, and price

It is guaranteed that your questions will be answered in this article.

Continue reading to stay informed!

What is Peppermint?

Peppermint is one of the species of herbs under the mint herb family (Mentha plant). It is from a crossbreeding between watermint and spearmint. 

Of the other herbs in the Mentha family, peppermint has a distinct flavor with a very high concentration of menthol.

In fact, peppermint has the most robust mint flavor of all mint herb varieties!

The peppermint plant has smooth stems, purple flowers, deep green leaves, and fibrous roots.

With peppermint’s taste and aroma, it can surely give an interesting twist to your dishes and drinks.

Furthermore, peppermints contain anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, sedative, and antiseptic properties.

It can also serve as a natural painkiller as well as in beauty and cosmetic products.

What Is Mint?

Mint stands as a general name (generic term) for all plants from the Mentha family.

In the Mentha plant family, there are over 15 varieties of which the peppermint is one.

A few of the varieties of mints are the basil, American wild mint, peppermint, gum mint, spearmint, apple mint, water mint, wild mint, calamint, mojito mint, horsemint, etc.

Each variety of mint has its distinct flavor, aroma, and number of menthol.

As for mint, it is known for its sweetness and it can give a cooling effect on the tongue.

The uses of the mint plant are enormous.

It can be used to get fresh breath, as an ingredient in cooking, for soothing the stomach, to relieve pains and relieve insomnia, etc.

When you incorporate it into foods, mint will give a bold and bright savor to your recipe.

Fun Fact: Mint is an essential herb to humans and is called one of the oldest herbs known to humanity.

What Are the Differences Between Peppermint vs. Mint?

Aside from their differences in flavor, peppermint and mint can stand out in the following ways.

1. Cultivation 

To cultivate peppermint, an adequate amount of sunlight is necessary.

Therefore, growing them outdoors is an excellent choice.

Soils with good drainage are an essential requirement for the cultivation of peppermint.

Mint, as earlier mentioned, is a generic term for plants of the Mentha family.

In fact, mint serves as an umbrella under which herbs such as peppermint, spearmint, and other mints are found.

The most commonly mint that is utilized in food and beverages are spearmint and curly mint.

Mint varieties that can grow in the same environment, humidity, and using the same soil profile can be planted together.

Did you know? Mints are very invasive, so it is wise to avoid cultivating them alongside other plants and herbs or overcrowding them.

2. Nutritional profile

In about 3.0 grams of fresh peppermint, there are calories (2.24), and proteins (0.12g). fiber (0.26g), carbohydrates (0.48g) and fat (0.03g) (*)

On the other hand, mints in general contain potassium, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, iron, vitamin A and C. (*)

3. Taste 

When comparing peppermint vs mint, mint is observed to have a sweet taste with a lasting cool effect on the tongue.

Peppermint, however, has the highest concentration of menthol among mints.

Therefore, peppermints have the strongest flavor with a more menthol taste that makes it all a bit spicier than other mint varieties.

4. Uses

Peppermint adds flavor and aroma to things.

Its oil is a remedy for cold and sore throat and is also essential in beauty and cosmetics.

Other uses include that it acts as an anti-microbial and anti-septic as well as a pain killer and sedative.

Mint is a herb that provides serves several uses.

First, it gives a cool or savory flavor to your dish.

Second, you can use it for medicinal purposes as it contains an active oil called menthol. 

You can use mint as a relief for indigestion and other gastrointestinal discomforts.

Additionally, mint also contains antiseptic and antibacterial properties.

Fun fact: Back in the ancient times, Romans and Greeks utilized mint leav to flavor cordials and fruit compotes. Plus, if you want a cool and calming bath experience, infuse it with mint leaves!

5. Price

Both peppermint and mints can be relatively cheap and expensive.

Usually, the price is dependent on the season of the year.

The type of packaging used and the location where it is bought are also factors in its price.

Anyway, both herbs are easy to find, whether in supermarkets or online stores.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can I use peppermint instead of mint?

Yes! Peppermint can be used instead of mint.

However, it is essential to note that peppermint would produce a richer flavor, aroma, and effect than the mint due to its high menthol quantity.

2. Does peppermint have vitamin C?

Fresh peppermint leaves contain ample vitamin C, minerals, and even antioxidants.

This quantity reduces when the leaves dry out or if you use infuse it with hot water for tea.

Just so you know, vitamin C is a nutrient necessary for the growth, development, and repair of body tissues.

This nutrient is vital in the functioning of the immune system too.

3. What is peppermint good for?

Peppermint is great for relieving gastrointestinal discomfort and digestion problems.

It can help relieve body pain, nausea, and certain respiratory symptoms.

Additionally, peppermints contain properties that can help with skin rejuvenation.

4. What is the benefit of mint leaves?

There is a long list of benefits derived from mint leaves. They include but are not limited to 

  1. Mint leaves help relieve indigestion
  2. It improves brain function
  3. It is whole and rich in essential nutrients
  4. Mint may help eliminate bad breath by reducing the bacteria in the mouth.

5. What is the difference between peppermint and spearmint?

Spearmint is a type of mint that has a sweet taste.

Normally, spearmint is a common ingredient for making salad dressings and sauces.

Plus, you can also use it to garnish certain dishes or use it as a topping for your cake.

Furthermore, spearmint is an ingredient in products like chewing gums and toothpaste.

Note that spearmint contains a low amount of menthol (0.5%).

Peppermint, on the other hand, contains 40% menthol.

Judging by appearance, spearmint leaves, as its name would suggest, are typically longer and more pointed than peppermint leaves.

On the other hand, peppermint leaves have smaller and rounder leaves than spearmint.

Since spearmint is less spicy due to its menthol content, it has a subtler taste when you compare it with peppermint.

Lastly, spearmint adds an interesting twist to savory dishes and drinks.

However, because peppermint has this cool spicy flavor profile, you can use them as a flavoring for making sweet dishes.

Take away 

Conclusively, peppermint has a stronger and more flavorful characteristic than all mints.

That’s why they are commonly used as a flavoring rather than it is directly added to cooking dishes. 

On the other hand, mint is an excellent choice for garnishing your meals all year round.

It gives a pop of color to your food!

Now that you know better about these herbs, come on get creative with peppermint and mint!

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