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Health Benefits of Mint



Mint, the well known mouth and breath freshener that is scientifically known as Mentha, has more than two dozen species and hundreds of varieties. It is an herb that has been used for hundreds of years for its remarkable medicinal properties.

The market is full of products like tooth paste, chewing gum, breath fresheners, candy and inhalers which have mint as their base element. Most of us are familiar with the refreshing application of mint, but it has far more to offer than that.

Health Benefits of Mint Leaves

The health benefits of mint include the following:

Digestion: Mint is a great appetizer or palate cleanser, and it promotes digestion. It also soothes stomachs in cases of indigestion or inflammation. When you feel sick to your stomach, drinking a cup of mint tea can give you relief. Also, if you are someone who travels long distances via plane or boat, the menthol oil derived from mint can be very soothing for nausea and related motion sickness.

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The aroma of mint activates the salivary glands in our mouth as well as glands which secrete digestive enzymes, thereby facilitating digestion. These attributes are why mint is extensively used in the culinary arts. Much of the western world includes mint as a part of appetizers or as an element of palate cleansers, to be eaten before the main course so the food will digest comfortably.

Nausea & Headache: Again, the strong and refreshing aroma of mint is a quick and effective remedy for nausea. Even just the smell of mint oil or freshly crushed mint leaves or the use of any product with mint flavor, and your stomach issues will be alleviated. In fact, many people keep menthol oil or mint-flavored products with them at all time to avoid nausea. Balms with a mint base or basic mint oil, when rubbed on the forehead and nose, gives quick relief in case of headache. Mint is a naturally soothing substance, so it can alleviate the inflammation and temperature rise that is often associated with headaches and migraines.

Respiratory Disorders and Coughs: The strong aroma of mint is very effective in clearing up congestion of the nose, throat, bronchi and lungs, which gives relief for respiratory disorders that often result from asthma and the common cold. As mint cools and soothes the throat, nose and other respiratory channels, it relieves the irritation which causes chronic coughing. This is the main reason why so many balms are based on mint. Unlike the inhalers that are based on aerosols, those with mint as the fundamental component tend to be more effective and eco-friendly as well.

Asthma: Regular use of mint is very beneficial for asthma patients, as it is a good relaxant and relieves congestion. That being said, using too much mint in this way can also irritate the nose and throat.

Breast Feeding: For many women, breastfeeding is a beautiful part of raising a child, but it can seriously damage your breasts and nipples. Studies have shown that mint oil can reduce the nipple cracks and nipple pain that so often accompany breastfeeding.

MintDepression and Fatigue: Mint is a natural stimulant, and the smell alone can be enough to charge your batteries and get your brain functioning on a high level again. If you are feeling sluggish, anxious, depressed, or simply exhausted, mint and its derivative essential oils can help. It can be ingested, applied topically in a salve form, or inhaled as a vapor, and all of those techniques can give you a much-needed boost! A popular way to get good results in an easy manner is to put a few drops of mint essential oil or menthol oil on your pillow at night and let it work on your body and mind while you sleep.

Skin Care and Pimples: While mint oil is a good antiseptic and anti-pruritic material, mint juice is an excellent skin cleanser. It soothes skin, and helps to cure infections and itchiness, as well as being a good way to reduce pimples, and it can even relieve some of the symptoms of acne. Its anti-pruritic properties can be used for treating insect bites like those of mosquitoes, honeybees, hornets, wasps, and gnats. The cooling sensation will relieve you of the irritating sensation to scratch, and the anti-inflammatory nature of mint will bring down swelling! In that same vein, mint oil is often a basic component of bug repellent products like citronella candles, because the strong aroma is unappealing to most insects.

Memory Loss: A recent study explored the effects that mint has on alertness, retention, and cognitive function. It found that people who frequently use chewing gum, whose major active ingredient is mint, had higher levels of memory retention and mental alertness than those who did not. The stimulant qualities of mint, once again, have shown yet another reason to pop that stick of gum in your mouth, or chew some leaves when you’re feeling less than brilliant!

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Weight Loss: Aside from all the other health benefits of mint, it also can help in your efforts to lose weight in a healthy way! Mint is a stimulant, as we’ve already mentioned, but it also stimulates the digestive enzymes that absorb nutrients from food and consume fat and turn it into usable energy. Therefore, by adding mint to your diet, you are increasing the amount of fat that is being consumed and put to use, rather than being stored and contributing to your weight gain!

Female Sterility: There are mixed opinions regarding the role of mint in treating this condition. Some argue that prolonged use of menthol may cause sterility, reducing a woman’s ability to conceive by interfering with the production of ova and killing these gametes. This is due to the germicidal and insecticidal properties of mint, which are beneficial for so many other health concerns. Other research has claimed that men who smoke menthol cigarettes are more likely to suffer from impotency than those who smoke normal cigarettes. It is not certain whether this is due to the tobacco alone or if the mentholated aspect has anything do with it. Another group or researchers suggest that mint may actually be used to treat sterility in females. Suffice to say, a great deal of further research must be done on the effects of mint in both male impotency and female sterility.

Oral Care: Improving the health of a person’s mouth is a well known benefit of mint. Since it has germicidal qualities and quickly freshens breath, it adds to oral health by inhibiting harmful bacterial growth inside the mouth and by cleaning the tongue and teeth. This is why mint used to be rubbed directly on the teeth and gums to refresh the mouth and eliminate dangerous forms of growth. In modern times, for the same reason, mint is one of the most common elements in toothpastes, mouthwashes, and other dental hygiene products. Of course, the easiest way to get these results is to simply chew on the leaves.

Allergies and Hay Fever: Season allergies and hay fever (also known as rhinitis) affect millions of people around the world at certain times of the year. Extracts from mint leaves have been shown to inhibit the release of histamines, which often spur on the severe nasal symptoms that are associated with hay fever and seasonal allergies.

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Cancer: Current research shows that certain enzymes that can be found in mint may help prevent and treat cancer.

Other Benefits: Besides its wide industrial use in foods like ice-cream and chocolates, as well as in alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, cosmetics, medicines, inhalers and breath fresheners, it is also used as a condiment and a decorative item in culinary preparation around the world. Drinks and foods containing mint cool you off in the summer, and it is often included in summer cocktails for a refreshing burst of flavor. It is also a good relaxant.

One peculiar property of mint that seems quite contrary to its traditional cooling and soothing effects is that it induces sweating if consumed during fever, thereby breaking the fever and speeding the rate of recovery. Mint juice can also be applied to heal and soothe burns. It is also beneficial in the treatment of rheumatism. Furthermore, mint is also said to improve the activity of the brain, although legitimate and consistent research on its neurological impact has yet to be completed.

Are you feeling tired or bored after reading all of that info on mint? Why don’t you have a stick of mint chewing gum? That may be just the refreshing boost you need!

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  1. Simple Mint & Arugula Salad with Radishes | .the rebel grrrl kitchen. | June 5, 2013
  1. Amber says:

    I planted a mint plant in my garden a few months ago to repel pests, and it has overgrown. I just go get some leaves from the plant anytime I have stomach trouble or irritated skin. Works like a charm!

  2. Daniel Duffy says:

    I have been cooking, mint and Marijuana leaves into chicken soup because of bad gut issues. Issues in gut will land me in hospital for the surgeon if I’m not extremely careful. Has it helped? To a certain degree I will say absolutely. The blend I use is spearmint leaves, Marijuana leaves. (You do not get high on these leaves)(I have a medical prescription for that, and make into various medicines used by various people for results that should be shared with world). Sorry, back on topic, Garlic, and ginger. Those four main ingredients simmered into the pasture chicken Organic fed. Of course carrots and few other diced vegetable’s also and this is nearly a daily food for me. I have lost 60lbs in a year. but like I said so far this has kept me away from a messy situation. Any new information on any roots, leaves, or herbs is valuable. I can not recommend potatoes for that soup as they contain Gluten, and if you are gluten sensitive don’t add them. Many of us are becoming Gluten sensitive because of Milk and cheese. We are the only creature known on this planet that uses the milk of a different species. We are also the only species that continues to use milk after we are weaned. Go figure. Cows milk makes a calf put on hundreds of pounds first year. It doesn’t matter that your using 1%. its not made for us and regardless of what doctors from earlier generations say milk is a main cause Siliac Sprue which is the Grandmother of all Gluten illnesses. We cant digest milk products without putting out way more saliva and acid than we are designed to produce. Read up a bit, milk is behind many diseases in the Western World. Even archeologists are seeing and extreme change in bone and teeth disorders in those countries that start eating western foods. The proof is positive that milk causes many problems. If ya gotta have it Use Mint. I’m sorry if I bored you with this. I am concerned about our diet and how it will change in the future. And it will!

  3. Kathleen Baha says:

    Dried or fresh mint is also delicious sprinkled on ratatouille, or any kind of grilled vegetables.

  4. Kathleen Baha says:

    I put mint extract in my green tea. Tastes so much better. I need to plant some mint…I hear it’s invasive, so I should have plenty in no time.

  5. Kathleen Baha says:

    This is close to what I do. I thin the yogurt with water, add quite a bit of dried mint and season with salt. I put it in a bowl, add chopped cucumbers, a small clove of minced garlic, stir, and eat it like a cold cucumber soup. You’re right, it’s yummy and so healthy!

  6. Nick Kohring says:

    Its great for a blended water spritzer just water, ice, mint,cucumber, and a slice of lemon blended is delicious and healthy

  7. JC Boy Baterzal-Agus says:

    Im glad to know about it

  8. Charlene Farquhar says:

    I just added fresh mint from my garden to my double black premixed Smirnoff. It tastes devine!!!!

  9. Stephanie Reid says:

    I have been drinking mint tea from a child growing up. I love the smell and also the flavor.

  10. Shannon Adams says:

    I just made this wonderful mint and berry banana smoothie… It's very refreshing and is very tasty! I love the flavor mint has…. Most of all…. How it accents flavor in sweet and savory foods!

    • Von Norton says:

      @ Shannon Adams I love mint too.. something else I LOVE to do is put lemon slice and a couple mint leaves in my ice water and stab it the lemon"flesh" & the mint leaves so it puts the mint ( & lemon obviously) flavor in the water…so refreshing….

  11. Sara Bronson says:

    Try 'Doogh', a refreshing Persian drink, made with yogurt and water or milk, dried mint, season with salt before adding ice and garnish with fresh mint! Contains so many properties and is just yum!

  12. Jolly Grace S. Deocadez says:

    I just planted mint and it's good to know it has a lot of benefits. I'll grow more out of it. Thanks for the info.

  13. Tonika Davis says:

    I always add mint leaves to my green tea as well!

  14. Carlo Strano says:

    boiled some mint leaves from my backyard…soooo refreshing!

  15. Joseph Cuellar says:

    Just made a batch of fresh mint tea picked from the neighborhood garden. Available now at Broadway Bistro Cafe Carrollton Texas.

  16. Agha Jee says:

    good

  17. Toney BigJlilmama Brandy says:

    Just adding this wonderful herb to a pitcher of water with lemons or oranges really gets me going!

  18. Joyce Ayanou Brown says:

    Thanks for the great insight about mint herb.

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