Mints are aromatic, almost exclusively perennial, annual herbs. They grow best in a wet environment and moist soil. It is originally native to Europe, but is cultivated in all the regions of the world. Mint is synonymous to freshness. It gives a cooling sensation to the taste buds and is immensely popular for its distinct aroma and medicinal value. Mint can bring an extra zing and unique savour to almost anything you cook, making you salivate every single time. Mint is well-known mouth freshener, and it has more than two dozen species and hundreds of varieties. Mint is rich in vitamins and minerals. It has also been used medicinally to aid digestion and heal other ailments. Mint is especially rich in carotenes and vitamin C. It is best known for its benefits to the immune system. It is also useful if you have cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure. There are about 25 different species of mint, each with a distinct flavour. Peppermint and spearmint are its most popular types. It helps treat cold, flu, fever, poor digestion, motion sickness, food poisoning, hiccups, stings, ear ache, and sinus ailments. Peppermint is used to add flavour to toothpaste, chewing gums and mouth fresheners.
Health Benefits of Mint
Mint is one of the nature’s most valuable herbal remedies. Have a look at numerous health benefits it offers.
1. Relieves Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Mint has been found as an effective and safe treatment for those who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome. It is packed with antioxidants that can work wonders for the stomach. Peppermint leaf oil relaxes the muscular lining of the digestive tract, relieves cramps and gas, and alleviates indigestion. Enteric coated peppermint oil significantly reduces the abdominal pain. It acts as a carminative and makes the flow of bile more efficient, which means you digest your food more quickly.
2. Anti Allergic
Mint contains a high level of antioxidants that ward off free radicals and reduce the symptoms of allergy. Extracts obtained from peppermint leaves may inhibit the release of histamine. It contains rosmarinic acid that blocks allergy producing leukotriene and thus helpful for those suffering from allergic hay fever.
It encourages cells to produce substances called prostacyclins that keep the airways open for easy breathing. Extracts of peppermint have also been shown to relieve symptoms of allergic rhinitis. Peppermint oil acts as an expectorant and decongestant, and helps clear the respiratory tract.
4. Relieves Cough and Cold
The smell of mint opens up the nasal passage and airways to allow relaxed breathing. Mint contains menthol, which is a natural decongestant that helps break phlegm and mucus. Mint can also be effective, especially when combined with tea, for relieving sore throats. If you are suffering from a cough, add a drop of mint extract to warm water and inhale its fumes.
The compound called methanol present in mint can treat various types of cancers, especially prostate cancer. A tissue culture study published in the August 2012 issue of the journal ‘Biochimie’ found that perillyl alcohol may inhibit the growth of prostate cancer by destabilizing its DNA structure and it is one of the constituent substances of mint. The compound may also help prevent liver cancer. It has also shown the capability of preventing skin cancer, colon cancer and lung cancer.
6. Enhances Memory
Memory can be improved by sniffing the mint leaves. Studies reveal that the aroma of fresh mint leaves increase alertness and improve memory. Chewing gums including peppermint enhance visual motor response. Both peppermint and cinnamon scents were shown to improve memory test scores.
Mint leaves purify the blood and have an antispasmodic effect on the muscles. Sipping mint-flavoured tea throughout the day is known to ease the discomfort caused by menstrual cramps.
8. Lowers the Blood Pressure
Mint leaves contribute significantly to reduce blood pressure. Consume powdered form of dried mint leaves (two teaspoonfuls) twice a day, to reduce high blood pressure. The potassium content present in the mint leaves lowers the blood pressure and regulates the pulse rate.
9. Boosts Immunity
All the compounds in the mint, such as calcium, minerals, phosphorous, vitamin C, D, E and vitamin B complex improve the immune system of the body, keeping it safe from infections and inflammation.
10. Beats Stress and Depression
Mint is usually used to relieve stress and induce calmness. Because of its active compounds, mint has sedative, disinfectant and cicatrizing properties that help individuals who suffer from depression and stress. Mental fatigue, stress, depressive states and headaches can be ameliorated if mint oil is applied to the temples and back head.
11. Fights Oral Infections
Mint not only cures bad breath, but also fights with bacteria responsible for cavities. Mint leaves are packed with anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties; thus, are beneficial for preventing tooth decay and improving your overall oral health. Due to this reason, it is used in various toothpaste, mouthwash and tongue spray. The dried, powdered mint leaves have been used as a teeth whitener since middle ages.
12. Burns Calories
A combination of green tea and mint assists you shed pounds. Pain relieving, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, and vasoconstrictor properties of mint help lose weight. Mint converts fat into usable energy.
Beauty Benefits of Mint
When it comes to your beauty, you are always worried about using the right products. Among various home remedies for skin care, mint has been followed by many. Here are a few benefits that mint give to your skin.
13. Cleanses and Tightens the Skin
The application of a combo of crushed mint leaves and honey cleanses and tightens the skin pores completely; thus, giving you fresh and oil-free skin.
14. Removes Blackheads
It tones up the skin and removes blackheads. Apply crushed mint leaves on the blackheads. Leave it on for 15 minutes and then wash off with water. It will remove the blackheads and give a cooling sensation to the skin.
15. Cures Acne
Mint is helpful in treating the inflammation due to the presence of salicylic acid in it. Mint oil is a natural astringent. Rub mint oil on your face to prevent pimples and acne from popping up. Salicylic acid in mint loosens up the dead skin cells, allowing them to shed easier. As a result, it prevents your pores from clogging up and gives you a clear face.
16. Heals the Cracked Heels
You can use mint leaves to soften your cracked heels. Boil mint leaves in water and allows it to cool down. Dip your feet into it. You can also apply a paste of mint and olive oil to hydrate your heels.
17. Dandruff-Free and Shiny Hair
Due to healthy properties of mint, it is quite helpful to get soft, shiny and dandruff-free hair. A mixture of mint leaves with fuller’s earth and lemon juice gives you frizz-free and lustrous strands. Alternatively, rinse your hair with mint water.
Peppermint works as a good stimulator for your scalp and enhances hair growth. It is laden with menthol and anti-bacterial properties, which make it nourishing hair rinse for your tresses. It improves the blood flow to hair roots, thereby making them voluminous.
19. Cures Wrinkles and Puffiness of Eyes
Prepare a facial mask by mixing half a spoon of mint leaves, half a spoon of calendula, a ¼ glass of olive oil and half a spoon of burdock. Keep this mixture in a dry and cool place for a week. Apply it around your eyes. You can apply a nourishing blend of mint juice and cucumber juice for removing age spots and wrinkles.
20. Treats Greasy Skin
21. Cures the Skin Irritation
If you are facing skin irritation, the anti-inflammatory properties of mint are useful to you. It not only soothes your skin allergy, but also let the itching sensation go away. The cooling property of peppermint reduces insect bites, rashes, inflammation and burns.