Struggling to keep your cool? Try popping a mint. The ancient Romans believed it had the power to calm even the most fiery tempers.

By Annie Quigley
Updated May 23, 2017
Mint Ice Cream
Credit: © Frances Janisch

In this series, we reveal the secrets, histories and quirky bits of trivia behind your favorite foods.

Struggling to keep your cool while stuck in traffic or on the receiving end of a text-message breakup? Try popping a mint.

Mint has long been revered as more than just a palate refresher. Ancient Hebrews scattered mint leaves on synagogue floors to fill the room with its herbaceous scent, and a Greek myth tells of an elderly couple wiping down their table with min as a sign of welcome and hospitality for their guests (which was a good move: it turned out that the visitors were the gods Zeus and Hermes in disguise).

But it was the ancient Romans who believed that the herb possessed the power to calm hot tempers. Dignitaries and ambassadors often tucked fresh sprigs in the folds of their robes, believing that the constant fresh scent would keep them composed.

For minty recipes to keep you cool in every way this summer, check out these refreshing ideas.