Peppermint is a sterile hybrid derived from a cross between Mentha aquatica and M. spicata. The herb grows to 1 m tall and spikes of lilac-pink flowers are produced in mid-summer. Stems are usually purple and leaves can also be purple-tinged, particularly if the crop is suffering from water stress.
Dried peppermint leaf is used in herb teas, either on its own or in mixtures. Peppermint tea is regarded as a stimulant, a cure for flatulence and has antiseptic properties. It is used in treating indigestion, sore throats, colds and toothache, among others. Peppermint, and other herbal teas are being consumed in increasing quantities by the general population purely for enjoyment rather than for their medicinal activity.