Mediterranean in origin, there are hundreds of varieties of mint, which now grow throughout the world. Mint is used widely in Greek, Middle Eastern, North African, Indian, and Thai cuisines, where it's inclusion in savory dishes helps offset spicy notes. Mint's cooling properties are also appreciated in hot climates, both in food and as tea. In Europe and America, mint is more often used in sweet dishes, and as a flavoring for candies and toothpaste, and other breath fresheners. Mint is also valued medicinally for it's stomach soothing and anti-infective properties.