Belonging to the mint family, speamint is a herb that has bright green leaves that is native to the continents of Europe and Asia. This perennial herb can grow up to two feet tall and thrives best in sunlight and well drained soil. It is naturalized throughout the rest of the world and is a welcome addition to many kitchens.
“The least pungent and subtle among the species of mint family, this unique herb is one of chef’s favorite culinary ingredients” (nutrition-and-you). One of the oldest variety of mint, it is one of the most commonly used herbs from the mint family when it comes to cooking.
For the chef there are many uses for spearmint. It can be used as an addition to salads, as a garnish and as a flavoring for ice cream, jams and jellies. It even makes an excellent tasting tea. In addition to cooking, this mint has been used for thousands of years because of its medicinal and healing properties. While spearmint contains menthol, it is in low amounts. Therefore, this herb is also safe to use on babies and pregnant women to treat many health ailments and conditions.
Spearmint is low in calories and is an excellent herb to include in your diet if you are limiting your calories, the delicious taste of mint, whether you add it to you meals or eat it by itself will help you stave off cravings of unhealthy sweets.
Spearmint is high in antioxidants and vitamin A, which you need for optimal health, good vision, strong bones, strong teeth and youthful looking skin. The beta-carotene of this vitamin plays a key role of destroying the bad cells before they cause any further damage. While this antioxidant helps repair damaged cells because of free radicals, they also bring about anti-aging properties. Including mint in your daily diet will help you maintain that youthful look. Not only will you look young on the outside, you also will be young on the inside since these anti-aging properties are effective in fighting against degenerative conditions such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease. Since spearmint also contains manganese, this mineral teams up with the antioxidants to attack the damaged cells cause by the free radicals.
Spearmint does wonders on your respiratory system. Since it contains anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties, you can find sore throat pain relief by taking a tablespoon of honey with mint added to it. This honey/mint mixture can also clear up chest congestion and coughs. This mint also acts as a natural decongestant. Sniffing mint may help open up your nasal passages and sinuses. Since this mint contains calming and
relaxing properties, causing your nerves and muscles to relax, it will help your breath easier if you suffer from asthma and bronchitis.
The anti-viral and relaxing properties of spearmint help your digestive system by soothing your abdominal muscles and intestines. Drinking mint tea can help relieve you from symptoms of:
It is even safe for pregnant women to drink to relieve them of nausea and morning sickness. Since spearmint is safe for children, it can be used relieve colic and stop the hiccups. This mint also helps the digestive system produce enzymes and gastric juices and helps stimulate the flow of bile. If you suffer from constipation, try drinking a cup of spearmint tea before trying the harsh laxatives.
For an excellent soothing tea, fill a cup with boiling water. Add three drops of mint extract or crush 2-3 leaves in the water. Allow the tea to steep for 10 minutes before drinking. Sweeten it with honey. If your nose is all plugged up, inhaling the aroma from the tea will help unclog you sinuses.
The anti-spasmodic, as well as the calming and relaxing properties, of spearmint helps relieve you from stress. It plays a role in stimulating the brain and soothing the nerves. This allows your brain to be more alert when you are facing stressful situations. Along with fighting stress, you can use massage oil that contains spearmint and massage it on your body to relieve:
For a nice relaxing bath add three drops of mint essential oil to a tub of hot water. Not only will it relieve your tired and sore muscles, it will give you a relaxed mind.
Spearmint is a major source of iron. This mineral plays a role in cellular metabolism and producing hemoglobin. Responsible for the red color in blood, it increases the number of red blood cells in your body. If you are prone to anemia, where you have a low red blood cell count, try adding this mint to your daily diet.
Using lotions and creams that contain spearmint can help if you suffer from itchy skin, dermatitis, psoriasis, dandruff, scabies, hives, hives and athlete’s foot. Since this mint contains infection-fighting properties, it can prevent your skin conditions from getting infected.
If you suffer from insomnia, or just do not get between six and eight hours a sleep a night, drink a cup of mint tea just before you go to bed. The calming properties of this will help you body relax and ease you into slumberland. These properties are also effective if you suffer from stress, anxiety and depression.
Spearmint makes an excellent insect repellent. If you want to keep those mosquitoes at bay, look for insecticides that contain mint. You can also rub spearmint oil on your skin or even the leaves of the herb.
Spearmint contains excellent restorative properties. If you are recovering from an illness, injury or wound, this mint play a major role in restoring your immune system and getting the major organs back to working condition. It helps you recover quickly by helping repair damage that your body suffered, allowing you to gain back your strength. The antiseptic properties of spearmint prevent wounds from getting infected. This is a reason why many mouth washes contain mint. This herb is effective in killing bacteria in your mouth. Even chewing on several mint leaves plays a role in fighting bad breath and gum disease.
Where to Purchase Spearmint Products
You can purchase many spearmint products at your local grocery or health food store. These products include:
Never consume spearmint essential oil. This is meant for external use only. Ingesting essential oils can be harmful and even fatal.
Always talk to your doctor before starting any herbal remedy. Even though spearmint is safe to use it may interact with other medications and supplements that you are already taking.