Palliative therapy. It’s a term I wasn’t really familiar with until this year. It refers to any kind of care or treatment that concentrates on reducing the severity of disease symptoms. The goal is not to cure, but to provide comfort and enhance the quality of life.

Another way of looking at palliative therapy is that this approach treats the person and not the disease. Thus, aromatherapy, therapeutic music, humor, visual or performing arts, pet visits and massages all can be part of a palliative therapy approach.

Earlier this year, my mother-in-law, a non-smoker, passed away from lung cancer. Shortly thereafter, my mother discovered that the lump in her breast was cancerous and that the cancer had spread to her lungs.

Thus, the term palliative therapy truly hit home. Consequently, when I received an e-mail from Lauren Rehm last Friday discussing the palliative therapy benefits of Angel Mints, I took notice. Lauren is the daughter of Scott Rehm, who -- together with his father, Jerry -- run a small confectionery business in Clearwater, Fla., known as the Florida Candy Factory. In talking to Scott, I discovered that the origin of Angel Mints dates back to 1919, when it was created in a small candy shop located on the boardwalk of Wildwood, N.J.

The candies were dubbed Angel Mints because of their “heavenly taste,” not because of any healing attributes. In 1984, Jerry purchased the original recipe, manufacturing techniques and rights as well as the early 1900s kitchen equipment and machinery used for making the mints (as well as saltwater taffy) and set up shop in Clearwater.

In doing so, he scrupulously adhered to the original recipe, replicating the heavenly qualities of the mint.

Scott joined his father in the business, and over the years, the two noticed a continuing stream of comments from many consumers about the therapeutic benefits of Angel Mints, such as calming of the stomach, soothing throats, reducing indigestion and neutralizing the metallic taste left behind after chemotherapy.

As Scott relates, initially, these comments were viewed with a bit of skepticism by the Rehms. After all, it’s just candy.

Still, as Scott points out, this candy contains only natural ingredients: pure cane sugar, peppermint oil, a touch of corn syrup, cream of tartar and water.

Noting that peppermint oil has long been associated with therapeutic values, from calming and reducing indigestion, colonic muscle spasms, heart burn, nausea, diarrhea to relieving irritable bowel syndrome, Jerry and Scott began to believe that there was something angelic about these candies -- that they indeed provided palliative therapy, as scores of appreciative consumers attested. It wasn’t just a placebo effect.

Naturally, neither Scott nor Jerry claim Angel Mints can cure anything. But after nearly 25 years in the business, the father-and-son team can vouch for the products soothing capabilities.

Of course, as with all small businesses, the recent recession has had an impact on their operation. And as for all small businesses, it’s not easy to get the word out about their product line. Consequently, I thought it would be a good idea to generate some publicity for the Rehms.

So check out their Web site, www.angelmint.com, and try their product. To all you earnest candymakers, take a look at the production photos of the mint and taffy production on antique equipment. Truly amazing.

In the end, all of us need a bit of comfort from time to time, be it from an angel, a mint or both.