What is Mint?
Health Benefits of Mint Leaves
Most of us are familiar with the refreshing application of mint, but it has far more to offer than that. The health benefits include the following:
Relieve Symptoms of Cold
Mint is often assumed to be a good relaxant and it helps relieve congestion. But multiple clinical trials show that menthol has no effect on decongestion. That being said, menthol does help reduce nasal obstruction. This means that it may help you with cold and flu symptoms.
Alleviate Allergies & Hay Fever
Seasonal allergies and hay fever (also known as rhinitis) affect millions of people around the world. Extracts of mint leaves have been shown to inhibit the release of certain chemicals, which aggravate severe nasal symptoms associated with hay fever and seasonal allergies.
Mint is a great appetizer or a palate cleanser. The aroma of the herb helps activate the salivary glands in your mouth as well as the glands which secrete the digestive enzymes, thereby facilitating digestion. It also soothes the stomach in case of indigestion or inflammation.
Aid in Breastfeeding
Gives relief from Respiratory Disorders
Research led by Prof. Ron Eccles at the University of Wales, UK, states that menthol, present in mint, helps in relieving nasal congestion. It is also very effective in clearing up congestion of the throat, bronchi, and lungs, which gives relief from respiratory disorders that often result from asthma and common colds.
As it cools and soothes the throat, nose, and other respiratory channels, it also 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.
While mint oil is a good antiseptic and antipruritic material, the juice obtained from the leaves is an excellent skin cleanser. It soothes the skin and helps reduce infections and itchiness. In addition to being a good way to reduce pimples, it can even relieve some of the symptoms of acne.
The cooling sensation will relieve you from irritation and the constant urge to scratch, and the anti-inflammatory nature will bring down the swelling. Its oil is often a basic component of bug repellents like citronella candles because the strong aroma is unappealing to most insects.
Mint leaves help in your efforts to lose weight healthily. A study published in 2003 suggests that it helps stimulate the digestive enzymes that absorb nutrients from food and consume fat and turn it into usable energy. If you switch from drinking soda or sweetened beverage to drinking sugar-free mint tea, it may help you lose weight due to reduced calorie intake. A 12 oz mint tea that has no added sugar has zero calories while a 12 oz soda has 150 calories.
A study was conducted by Dr. A. P. Allen and Dr. A. P. Smith from Cardiff University, on the effect of chewing gum on stress, alertness, and cognition. It found that people who frequently used chewing gum, in which the major active ingredient is mint, had higher levels of memory retention and mental alertness than those who did not.
The stimulant qualities of this herb show that popping that stick of gum or chewing on raw mint leaves can help improve cognition.
According to research, mint has germicidal qualities and it quickly freshens breath. It also adds to oral health by inhibiting harmful bacterial growth inside the mouth and by cleaning the tongue and teeth. This is why the herb would often 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, menthol is one of the most common elements in toothpaste, mouthwashes, and other dental hygiene products. Of course, the easiest way to get these results is to simply chew on the leaves.
Mint leaves, especially freshly crushed ones, help you deal with nausea and headache. The strong and refreshing aroma is a quick and effective remedy for nausea. Use mint oil or any other product having a mint flavor and your stomach issues will be alleviated. Many people keep menthol oil or mint-flavored products on hand to avoid nausea.
An issue released by the Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics mentions that using mint helps in relieving headaches. Balms with a mint base or basic mint oil, when rubbed on the forehead and nose, give quick relief in case of a headache. This herb is a naturally soothing substance, so it can alleviate inflammation that is often associated with headaches and migraines.
Mint is a natural stimulant and the smell alone can be enough to uplift your mood. A research done in 2014 states that including it in your diet is a great option if you are feeling sluggish, anxious, depressed, or simply exhausted, the herbal leaves and its essential oil can help.
It can be ingested, applied topically in a salve form, or inhaled as a vapor, and all of these 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.
You can even experiment by using a eucalyptus mint body wash as it is known to cool and invigorate the body.
- Drinks and foods containing this herb provide a refreshing burst in summer.
- 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.
Adding Mint to Your Diet
Mint leaves make for a perfect garnish when you are preparing cocktails, rice dishes, pot rice, and salads. You can add fresh leaves to your smoothies, juices, and drinking water as well. Here are a few recipes you can try with mint:
- Orange Lemonade With Mint & Ginger Recipe
- Mint Flavored Quinoa Recipe
- Summer Cocktails Which Are Good For Health
- Delicious Créme de Menthe Drink
Mint, like many other herbs, has a couple of risks.
A study published in the Journal of Thoracic Disease suggests that mint may aggravate gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) symptoms.
Menthol is considered strong and toxic if taken in a high amount, so do consult with your doctor before you include it in your regular diet.
If you are looking to use essential oils derived from mint, we suggest you consult with a medical expert.