Mint, the popular herb has several benefits which include proper digestion and weight loss, relief from nausea, depression, fatigue, and headache. It is used in the treatment of asthma, memory loss, and skin care problems. This well-known mouth and breath freshener is scientifically known as Mentha and 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 toothpastes, chewing gums, breath fresheners, candies and inhalers which have mint as their base element.
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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 of mint include the following:
Aids in Digestion
Mint is a great appetizer or palate cleanser. It also promotes digestion and soothes the stomach in case of indigestion or inflammation. When your stomach feels sick, drinking a cup of mint tea can give you relief. Also, if you are someone who travels long distances via plane or boat, menthol oil derived from mint can be very soothing for nausea and related motion sickness.
The aroma of the herb activates the salivary glands in your mouth as well as glands which secrete the digestive enzymes, thereby facilitating digestion. These attributes are why mint is extensively used in the culinary arts. Many countries include mint as a part of appetizers or as an element of palate cleansers, to be eaten before the main course to digest their food comfortably.
Treats Nausea & Headache
Mint leaves, especially freshly crushed leaves help you deal with nausea and headache. The strong and refreshing aroma of mint 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. In fact, many people keep menthol oil or mint-flavored products with them at all times to avoid nausea. 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 the inflammation and temperature rise that is often associated with headaches and migraines.
Prevents Respiratory Disorders
The strong aroma of this herb is very effective in clearing up congestion of the nose, throat, bronchi, and lungs, which gives relief from respiratory disorders that often result from asthma and a common cold. As mint 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.
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.
Aids in Breast Feeding
For many women, breastfeeding is a beautiful part of raising a child, but it can affect your breasts and nipples. Studies have shown that mint oil can reduce the nipple cracks and nipple pain that often accompany breastfeeding.
Reduces Depression & Fatigue
Mint is a natural stimulant and the smell alone can be enough to charge your energy and get your brain functioning at a higher level again. If you are feeling sluggish, anxious, depressed or simply exhausted, mint 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.
While mint oil is a good antiseptic and antipruritic material, the juice obtained from mint is an excellent skin cleanser. It soothes the skin and helps to cure infections and itchiness. In addition to being a good way to reduce pimples, 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 from irritation and the constant urge 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.
Prevents 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, 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 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.
Apart 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 weight gain.
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 the herb, which are beneficial for many health concerns. Other research has claimed that men who smoke menthol cigarettes are more likely to suffer from impotence 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 of researchers suggests that mint may actually be used to treat sterility in females. Suffice to say, a great deal of research must be done on the effects of mint in both male impotency and female sterility.
Since mint 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.
Cures Allergies & Hay Fever
Seasonal allergies and hay fever (also known as rhinitis) affect millions of people around the world. Extracts from mint leaves have been shown to inhibit the release of certain chemicals, which have been known to aggravate severe nasal symptoms that are associated with hay fever and seasonal allergies.
Current research shows that certain enzymes that can be found in mint may help to prevent and treat cancer.
Besides its wide industrial use in ice-creams 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, the herb is also said to improve the activity of the brain, although legitimate and consistent research on its neurological impact is incomplete.
Are you feeling tired or bored after reading all of the info on mint? Why don’t you have a stick of mint chewing gum? That may be the refreshing boost you need.