From as early as 1200 BC mint has been used for its refreshing, healing and reputedly mystical powers.
Hippocrates himself was a fan and not just for culinary purposes. He recommended mint as an excellent way of restoring one's appetite and soothing the digestion.
Perfect then for the Christmas season when it's too easy to over-indulge.
In the next of the series of edible Christmas gifts Sybil Kapoor showed Anna McNamee how you can use a few drops of peppermint essence to make a classic English sweet.
It is not only a perfect after Christmas dinner treat but has the added advantage of being extremely easy to prepare. Read the recipe. Sybil Kapoor is author of Simply British (Penguin Books, ISBN: 0140273190, £7.99)