Mint, that well known mouth and breathe freshener, scientifically known as Mentha, with over two dozens of species and hundreds of its varieties, is an herb with remarkable medicinal properties.
The market is full of products like tooth paste, chewing gums, mouth & breathe fresheners, candies and inhalers etc. which are based on mint. Most of us are familiar with only the refreshing part of it, but it has much more to offer than that. Let’s have a look.
Health benefits of mint
The health benefits of mint include the following:
Digestion: Mint is a good appetizer and promotes digestion, due to its typical aroma. It also soothes stomach in cases of indigestion, inflammation etc. This aroma of mint activates the saliva glands in our mouth as well as glands which secrete digestive enzymes, thereby facilitating digestion. Thus it is extensively used in culinary.
Nausea & Headache: Again, the strong and refreshing aroma of mint is an excellent and quick remedy for nausea. Whenever you feel it, just smell the oil of mint or crushed fresh mint leaves or use any product with mint flavor, whichever is available near you, and it will be gone. In fact, many people keep mentha oil or mint flavored products with them to avoid nausea, particularly when they are traveling. Balms based on mint or simply mint oil, when rubbed on forehead and nose, gives quick relief in headache.
Respiratory Disorders, Cough etc.: The strong aroma of mint is very effective in opening up congestion of nose, throat, bronchi and lungs, giving relief in respiratory disorders resulting from asthma, cold etc. As it cools and soothes throat, nose and other respiratory channels, it gives relief in cough too. Many balms are based on this property of mint. Unlike other inhalers which are based on aerosols, those based on mint are more effective and eco-friendly too.
Asthma: Regular use of mint is very beneficial for asthma patients, as it is a good relaxant and gives relief in congestion. But, over dosage may irritate as well.
Skin Care, pimples etc.: While mint oil is a good anti septic and anti pruritic, mint juice is an excelle,nt skin cleanser. It soothes skin, cures infections, itching etc., and is also good for pimples. Its anti pruritic properties can be used for treating bites of insects like mosquitoes, honey-bees, hornets, wasps, gnats etc.
Female Sterility: Now, there is a mixed opinion about this. Some say that prolonged use of menthol may cause sterility and induce inability to conceive, by interfering with the production of ova and also killing these gametes, because of its germicidal and insecticidal properties. It is also heard that men who smoke menthol cigarettes are more likely to suffer from impotency than those who smoke normal cigarettes. It is not certain whether it is due the tobacco alone or mint has anything do with it. But menthol certainly has insecticidal properties. While another group suggests that mint may be used to treat sterility in females.
Oral Care: This is a well known property of mint. Being a germicidal and breathe freshener, it takes care of oral health by inhibiting harmful bacterial growth inside mouth and by cleaning tongue and teeth.
Cancer: Current researches show that certain enzymes present in mint may help cure cancer.
Other Benefits: Besides its wide industrial use in food stuffs such as ice-creams, chocolates etc., alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, cosmetics, medicines, inhalers and mouth and breathe fresheners, it is used as a condiment and decorative item in culinary world-wide. Drinks and food-stuffs containing mint cools you off in summer. It is a good relaxant. One more peculiar property which is very much in contrary to its cooling and soothing effects is that it induces sweating if consumed in fever, thereby curing it. Mint juice can be applied on burns to heal and soothe them. It is also beneficial in rheumatism. It is also said to improve activity of the brain, although there are no sufficient proofs.
Anything left? I am afraid, no! Tired and bored to read that stuff? Why don’t have a mint chewing gum or a mint mouth freshener? That may refresh you up.