The family Lamiaceae is proud to have the Mint or Mentha plant in its rows. Even more so, there are about 13 to 18 varieties of mint altogether.
Mint has an intense smell and taste that many people find refreshing and pleasant. Also, mint provides cooling qualities and it is thus used in many cosmetic products, including: mouthwashes, ointments, toothpaste, bubble baths etc.
Mint is often used in the culinary world as well and it gives each meal, whether it’s sweet or salty a specific flavor. But this is not the end of it. Mint is amazing when it comes to providing health benefit, too.
Read on to learn the best health benefits that mint has to offer.
Mint is very helpful when it comes to indigestion. That’s because this herb is rich in antioxidants and phytonurients which are very beneficial for your stomach. The fresh smell of mint activates the salivary glands to produce digestive enzymes, which are very important for digestion. They relax the muscles of the stomach reducing the chance of stomach spasms and indigestion. According to The University of Maryland Medical Center, the menthol and methyl salicylate in mint will sooth stomach upsets and help carry out normal digestion. Drink a cup of tea after dinner and you’ll solve the problems with the gastrointestinal tract.
You can get rid of hiccups by either chewing on mint leaves or drinking an eight-ounce glass of water spiced with a few springs of mint. In the book of Backyard Medicine, it’s said that mint suppress hiccups thanks to the menthol which sooths muscle spasms (explained by The University of Maryland Medical Center ).
Treats Headache and Nausea
Migraines and headaches can be easily fixed by consuming mint regularly. Due to its strong smell and taste, the mind works amazingly externally as well.
You can rub your forehead or nose with several mint leaves and let them cure your headache in no time.
Helps During Breast Feeding
Breastfeeding is a wonderful experience of every woman but very often it can be painful and cause unpleasantness by seriously damaging your breasts and nipples. According to some studies mint can reduce nipple cracks and nipple pain that very often accompany breastfeeding.
According to a scientific research, using mint in aromatherapy can boost your memory and increase alertness. If you are often forgetful and you can’t remember where you left your things use mint to help yourself. Crush a few leaves of mint and boil them into a pot of water. Leave the scent to fill your home. Your house will have fresh, clean smell and you’ll be more energetic.
Sooths Respiratory Disorders and Cough
Thanks to its strong smell, mint opens up nasal passages and airways and allows normal breathing. When mint cools and sooths the throat, nose and other respiratory channels it also relieves irritation which causes chronic coughing. That’s why there are so many mint based balms on the market. Mint based inhalers are more effective than those based on aerosols. They are more eco-friendly as well.
Stimulates Weight Loss
Because the mint is able to produce digestive enzymes and help with the food processing, it can promote weight loss as well. Make sure to include mint in your diet and turn the fat storage into energy.
Triggers the Immune System
Many beneficial nutrients are found in mint leaves, such as phosphorous, calcium, vitamins C, D, E and small amounts of vitamin B complex. All these can stimulate the immunity and make you resistant against infections and colds.
Deals with Cancer
One research proved the beneficial mint influence on cancer patients, especially if the cancer was found on the colon, liver, skin and lungs. Because it is full of phytochemicals, mint leaves can cease the blood supply that makes the tumors grow.
Gets Rid of Asthma
Since mint leaves are recommended for treating many respiratory diseases, they can also cure asthma. Mint is rich in rosmarinic acid, which offers strong antioxidant benefits, and this prevents the allergy-triggering leukotrienes.
Reduces Fatigue and Improves Your Mood
Just a sniff of mint will be enough to boost your mood and get your brain functioning again, because mint is a natural stimulant. Smelling mint will also help you feel less stressed and anxious. The aroma from the mint will relax your body and improve your mood by releasing a small amount of serotonin in your brain. So, next time you are in a bad mood draw yourself a warm bath and add a few leaves of mint into the water.
Improves Oral Health
Due to its anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, mint is great for your oral health because it stops harmful bacterial growth inside the mouth. It will also help you get rid of bad breath. Rub a mint leaf directly on your teeth and gums, or chew a leaf for a couple of minutes.
How to Grow Mint
It is very easy to grow mint. They grow on interesting root systems called runners because they sprout new leaves and plant along their roots as they grow. Because mint plants are very evasive, plant them in separate pots if you don’t want them to overtake your entire garden.
You can either grow mint by cutting a spring off of an existing plant or from seed. Either way is fine but the first way is easier. To plant your mint, you need a water-retaining container that is 12 to 16 inches wide, potting soil, and mint plant.
Put the pot somewhere it will get enough sunlight. You can place it by the window in your kitchen where you’ll have easy access to it while cooking. Water your plant regularly and keep it away from drying and heating elements.
Keep your mint plant trimmed to 6 inches in height so it will bush rather than sprawl. This way you’ll get more leaves from your plant. Make sure to trim the mint’s flower buds to keep your plant under control.
Never harvest more than 1/3 of the leaves so that it doesn’t run out. If you want to dry them out, tie them up and hang them from the stems or lay them flat on a tray. When the stems and leaves are brittle, collect and store them in an airtight container.
You can use mint for various purposes: in cooking, as a drink aromatic, as a cosmetic product and as a remedy. You pick.