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Strongly aromatic perennial herb (Mentha piperita, mint family), source of a widely used flavouring. Native to Europe and Asia, it has been naturalized in North America. The stalked, smooth, dark green leaves and blunt, oblong clusters of pinkish lavender flowers are dried for use as a flavouring agent. Oil of peppermint is widely used to flavour confectionery, chewing gum, toothpastes, and medicines. The oil also contains menthol, long used medicinally as a soothing balm.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on peppermint, visit Britannica.com.