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In Greek mythology, Minthe (also Menthe, Mintha or Mentha; Greek: Μίνθη or Μένθη) was a naiad associated with the river Cocytus. She was dazzled by Hades and made an attempt to seduce him, but Queen Persephone intervened and metamorphosed Minthe, in the words of Strabo's account, "into the garden mint, which some call hedyosmon (lit. 'sweet-smelling')".[1] The -nth- element in menthe is characteristic of a class of words borrowed from a Pre-Greek language: compare acanthus, labyrinth, Corinth, etc.

In ancient Greece, mint was used in funerary rites, together with rosemary and myrtle, and not simply to offset the smell of decay; mint was an element in the fermented barley drink called the kykeon that was an essential preparatory entheogen for participants in the Eleusinian mysteries, which offered hope in the afterlife for initiates.[2]


  1. ^ Strabo, Geographica VIII.3.14.
  2. ^ Kerenyi 1967


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