Mints are mentioned in early medieval plants lists, they were grown in early English gardens, and were  brought to Britain in Roman Times. Apicius, in his famous cook book written in the first century, lists mints in many dishes. Charlemagne (742-814) decreed in 812 that many acres of mint, together with other herbs, be grown in his famous gardens of seventy-eight herbs.

The genus name Mentha comes from "Minthe", a charming nymph in classic Greek mythology who was much adored by Pluto. This so angered Pluto's wife Prosperine, that she took her revenge by metamorphosing Minthes into the humble, downtrodden mint plant we now call Mentha. Pluto, unable to undo the spell, was able to soften it by giving Minthe a sweet scent which would perfume the air when her leaves were stepped on - the aromatic herb mint.

The seventeenth century herbalist, Nicholas Culpeper wrote that the herb stirs up venery, or bodily lust. However, the Roman Pliny, whilst advising scholars to wear a crown of mint to aid concentration, warned lovers that it was contrary to procreation. The Greeks believed the opposite - their soldiers were warned to avoid it for fear that increased love-making would diminish their courage in battle.