The Health Benefits of Mint

Belonging to the Lamiaceae family, mint is one of the most popular herbs that have been used for hundreds of years throughout North America, Europe, Australia, Africa and Asia.  Along with its enjoyable odor and flavor, this herb has many medicinal uses.



Mint is a perennial herb that is very aromatic. “They have wide-spreading underground and over ground stolons and erect, square, branched stems” (Wikipedia). The leaves of the mint plant vary in shape and a majority has a serrated edge. Depending on the type of species of mint, the colors or the leaves can be yellow, dark green, blue and even purple.

There are over twenty-five different types of species in the mint family. Some of the more common ones are peppermint, spearmint, apple mint, water mint and garden mint (Wikipedia).   These plants grow the best in moist soil. It is an easy plant to grow because it can grow just as easily in the shade as it does in full sunlight. It is also considered to be an invasive plant because of its ability to grow and spread fast over large areas. Since these plants can grow in almost any type of environment, you should consider collecting their leaves for a sweet addition to teas, jams, jellies, beverages and meat dishes.

Many restaurants give after dinner mints after your meal. This is actually a tradition that dates back to ancient times when mint leaves were used as a stomach soother. The next time you feel stuffed to the bone after you enjoyed a five course meal, do not bypass the after dinner mint. It may relieve your stomach from any discomfort from overindulging. Know that you know this, you will pleased to know that there are many health benefits to including mint in your daily diet.

Mint can be used to help individuals with relief from problems with their stomachs because they contain anti-viral properties. Just by chewing the leaves or allowing some leaves to steep in a cup of hot water for ten to fifteen minutes and drinking it as a tea is an excellent way to relieve stomach ailments such as:

 

Gas

Diarrhea

Constipation
Nausea
Vomiting
Motion and Morning Sickness
Stomach cramps due to Menstruation

Mint is excellent for your digestive system because it contain menthol, which plays a role in soothing the digestive tract and stomach lining. Just two to three mint leaves goes a long way in relieving symptoms of indigestion such as heartburn and bloating.   This herb also contains curative properties which helps your intestinal muscles relax.  It is also effective in treating irritable bowel symptoms such as muscle spasms.

The menthol and rosmarinic acid found in mint also acts as a powerful decongestant and expectorant. This helps with respiratory problems such as:

 

Bronchitis
Sore Throat
Asthma
Tonsillitis
Coughs

Colds

The Flu

Mint contains antibiotic and diuretic properties.  These properties are excellent in fighting the bacteria that causes urinary tract infections.  Even if you are do not have the signs and symptoms of a urinary tract infection, drinking mint tea helps flush the bacteria that is building up in your urinary bladder and tract.

Mint is an excellent tool in weight loss since it helps break down the fat in the body and speeds up your metabolism. When your metabolism rate is increased, even more fat will be burned.  Why spend money on expensive over-the-counter and prescription medications where you can use a spice that has fewer side effects to treat and control obesity?

Mint makes an excellent insect repellent. By rubbing the leaves on the skin, the oils help keep the mosquitoes at bay. If you do happen to fall victim to the mosquitoes of the summer, rubbing the leaves on your skin will help relieve the itching of insect bites.

Mint makes an excellent tooth whitener. Do you ever notice that mint is the main ingredient in most toothpaste? That is because toothpaste is not only meant to prevent cavities and tooth decay. It is also meant to give you a white, bright and dazzling smile! So go for your favorite brand of toothpaste or mouthwash or go in the backyard for that smile. You can rub a leaf across your teeth and gums or make your own mouth rinse.

 

Medicinal Uses of Mint

 

 

When you have a fever, the best thing for you to do is sweat it out.  This helps lower your body temperature.  Mint helps your body induce sweating.  Therefore, the next time you have a fever along with your cold or flu, sip a cup of mint tea.  This treatment has been used by the Chinese for centuries.

 

 

Where to Purchase Mint Products

          Mint is very easy to grow. Even if your backyard is full of bushes and shrubs, it grows easily in most areas. However, since this herd can quickly cover the ground, it is not a good idea to plant it in a garden, because it can take over other plants, flowers and vegetables you are growing. It is a better idea to grow mint in flower pots to prevent this from happening. You can purchase seeds or starter plants from your local florist. Since it is so easy to grow, you can just as easily make your own mint products. The leaves can either be used fresh or dried. Since mint plants are perennials, they will grow back the following year. Since this plant grows and spreads quickly, you will never run out of mint leaves.That way you can keep your medicine cabinet full without having to run to the local pharmacy.

If you do not have the time to make your own products, you can purchase products that contain mint at your local grocery, pharmacy or health food store. The products can be purchased as:

 

Teas
Leaves
throat drops
toothpaste

Mouthwash
Tinctures
Extracts

Essential Oils

 

You can also purchase mint products online on sites such as Amazon and EBay.

 

Cautions

 

If you are planning to gather mint from the wild, it is best to talk to a qualified herbalist since poisonous plants can easily be confused for this plant.

Always remember to talk with your doctor is you are planning to include mint in your daily regimen since it may interact with medicines and supplements you may already be taking.

Never consume essential oil unless you are familiar with the ones that can be taken eternally. Some essential oils can be poisonous.

If you are going to use mint to help relieve your infant’s upset stomach or colic, it is better to us spearmint rather than peppermint.  Spearmint has a more pleasing and milder taste, something that babies can handle.

 

Reference

 



http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mentha






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