A strongly scented herb, sole mention of which is made in Scripture with reference to the scrupulous care exercised by the scribes and Pharisees in giving the tenth of the mint, while disregarding the weightier matters of the Law. (Mt 23:23; Lu 11:42) Several varieties of mint are found in Palestine and Syria, the horsemint (Mentha longifolia) being the more common. Likely the Greek word he·dyʹo·smon (literally, sweet-smelling) was not restricted to a particular variety but embraced the various known kinds of mint.
The stems of mint plants are square, with the leaves growing in twos, one on each side of the stem. The small, bluish- or pinkish-white flowers are arranged in clusters, forming either separate whorls or terminal spikes. From ancient times mint has been used in medicine and for flavoring food; this is because of the fragrant oil contained in the plant’s leaves and stems.