medicinal herbsBlack PeppermintMentha x piperita vulgaris

Herb: Black Peppermint

Latin name: Mentha x piperita vulgaris

Family: Labiatae

Medicinal use of Black Peppermint:

Black peppermint is a very important and commonly used herbal remedy, being employed by allopathic doctors as well as herbalists. It is also widely used as a domestic remedy. This cultivar is considered to be stronger acting than white peppermint (Mentha x piperita officinalis). A tea made from the leaves has traditionally been used in the treatment of fevers, headaches, digestive disorders (especially flatulence) and various minor ailments. The herb is abortifacient, anodyne, antiseptic, antispasmodic, carminative, cholagogue, diaphoretic, refrigerant, stomachic, tonic and vasodilator. An infusion is used in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome, digestive problems, spastic colon etc. Externally a lotion is applied to the skin to relieve pain and reduce sensitivity. The leaves and stems can be used fresh or dried, they are harvested for drying in August as the flowers start to open. The essential oil in the leaves is antiseptic and strongly antibacterial, though it is toxic in large doses. When diluted it can be used as an inhalant and chest rub for respiratory infections. The essential oil is used in aromatherapy. Its keyword is “Cooling”.

Description of the plant:

Plant:

Perennial

Height:

45 cm
(1 foot)

Flowering:

August to
October

Scent:

Scented
Perennial

Habitat of the herb:

A natural hybrid, M. aquatica x M. spicata, found in moist soils in ditches, waste places etc.

Edible parts of Black Peppermint:

Leaves – raw or cooked. A strong peppermint flavour, they are used as a flavouring in salads or cooked foods. This plant should not be used by pregnant women, see the notes above on toxicity. An essential oil from the leaves and flowers is used as a flavouring in sweets, chewing gum, ice cream etc. A herb tea is made from the fresh or dried leaves.

Other uses of the herb:

An essential oil is obtained from the whole plant. It is used medicinally and as a food flavouring. It is also an ingredient of oral hygiene preparations, toiletries etc. Peppermint leaves are used as an ingredient of pot-pourri. They were formerly used as a strewing herb. The plant repels insects, rats etc. Rats and mice intensely dislike the smell of mint. The plant was therefore used in homes as a strewing herb and has also been spread in granaries to keep the rodents off the grain.

Propagation of Black Peppermint:

Seed – sow spring in a cold frame. Germination is usually fairly quick. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and plant them out in the summer. Mentha species are very prone to hybridisation and so the seed cannot be relied on to breed true. Even without hybridisation, seedlings will not be uniform and so the content of medicinal oils etc will vary. When growing plants with a particular aroma it is best to propagate them by division. Division can be easily carried out at almost any time of the year, though it is probably best done in the spring or autumn to allow the plant to establish more quickly. Virtually any part of the root is capable of growing into a new plant. Larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. However, for maximum increase it is possible to divide the roots up into sections no more than 3cm long and pot these up in light shade in a cold frame. They will quickly become established and can be planted out in the summer.

Cultivation of the herb:

A natural hybrid, M. aquatica x M. spicata, found in moist soils in ditches, waste places etc.

Known hazards of Mentha x piperita vulgaris:

In large quantities this plant, especially in the form of the extracted essential oil, can cause abortions so should not be used by pregnant women.
Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.

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When it comes to mint, a gardener’s cup runneth over — in more ways than one.

If you’re like me, this flavorful herb brings to mind mojitos and juleps. And if you’re like my dad, you think of this invasive plant overrunning half the yard many years ago.

Photo by Gretchen Heber.

Mint (Mentha spp.) is a well-loved culinary herb grown by many gardeners for the aromatic flavor it brings not only to beverages but to many main dishes and desserts, as well.

Gardeners also recognize this perennial herb as an aggressive grower that can take over the north forty quicker than you can mix up a cocktail.

It grew in the yard of a house my family rented when I was a child. And my dad, the primary gardener in our family at the time, was terribly allergic to it.

Photo by Allison Sidhu.

He would go out and try to pull it up or mow it down, and then come into the house utterly miserable, sneezing up a storm, eyes red and running, white handkerchief pressed to his nose.

Lucky for me, I learned from that experience to always put my mint in pots, so it doesn’t take over the yard. And also luckily, while I did inherit my father’s abnormally low blood pressure, I didn’t end up with his allergy to Mentha.

Ready to get growing? Here’s what’s in store:

Adios, Cockroaches

Native to Asia and the Mediterranean, this aromatic herb was brought to North America by English settlers. Commercial production began in Massachusetts and New York before marching steadily westward toward the Pacific Northwest, where it remains an important commercial crop in Oregon and Washington, as well as Idaho.

And while mint does like the moist growing conditions those states provide, gardeners from all over the country can grow this herb, if they dump enough water on it. More on that in a bit.

Most are hardy in USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 3-8. I’m in 8b, and without fail, sometime in about mid-July, when I’m off on vacation and the house sitter fails to remember to pour a bathtub of water on my pots of mint, they burn up, and that’s that.

But enjoying kitchen-handy mint is always wonderful while it lasts.

The leaves of this herb have a serrated edge and can be smooth or fuzzy, and come in all shades of green, solid or variegated.

One commonality: all mints have the square stems typical of the Lamiaceae family. Mentha produces tiny white, pink, or purple flowers.

While humans are quite enamored of this herb, many animals and insects are not. It is known for repelling cockroaches, spiders, ants, mice, and deer.

You Must Be Kidding

Mentha has one of the highest antioxidant capacities of any food. For centuries, it’s been used to treat a number of health issues, including gastrointestinal distress and respiratory illnesses. Mint tea is sometimes consumed to relieve a sore throat.

In an interesting twist that will surely make my dad snort derisively when he reads this, the herb contains an anti-inflammatory agent called rosmarinic acid that has been studied for its effectiveness in relieving seasonal allergy symptoms.

Pepper, Spear, Chocolate — You Choose (And Where to Buy)

Botanists disagree as to exactly how many species of this herb exist, with most landing in a range of 13 to 18 different types. Close to 2000 cultivars are available.

One of the more well-known species is peppermint (M. piperita), a culinary favorite because of its strong menthol flavor.

This plant will grow 12 to 36 inches in height and, like most plants of this family, prefers part sun.

If you’d like to start with some peppermint plants, consider these from Bonnie Plants, available via Amazon.

Bonnie Plants Peppermint

Your herb will come in a biodegradable peat pot that can be planted straight into the dirt.

Another favorite is spearmint (M. spicata). Perhaps with this one, you’d like to try your hand at growing from seeds, which you can get from seedsupplier via Amazon.

Mentha Spicata, 200 Seeds

You’ll get 200 seeds that you’ll want to sow indoors 8 to 10 weeks before the last frost.

Another type that I see often at area nurseries (probably because of its name) is chocolate mint (M. x piperita ‘Chocolate’). They have brown stems and the leaves are said to have a chocolate-mint aroma.

Buy a live plant from Colonial Creek Farm Nursery, available via Amazon.

Chocolate Mint, Live Plant

You’ll receive a well-rooted plant in a 3-inch nursery container.

You might want to grow apple mint (M. suaveolens), which is said to have a fruitier flavor with less pronounced notes of menthol than other Menthas. Get a live plant from The Garden Path, available through Amazon.

Apple Mint, Live Plant

You’ll get a “starter plant” in a 4-inch pot, and you’ll be happy to know that this variety is considered less invasive than its cousins.

Other varieties include English, lavender, and orange.

More, More, More

This herb is easy to grow from cuttings. Choose a strong stem with dark green, fresh leaves. Cut off a 5-inch piece, remove the lower leaves, and cut the stem just below the lowest set of leaf nodes.

Place the stems in a glass of water and put the glass someplace warm, in bright but indirect sunlight. After a few weeks, you’ll see roots, and you can transplant to a container filled with a rich soil mix.

As an alternative, you can dig up runners — rhizomes by which the herb spreads— cutting them from the main plant, and repotting with just the leaf tips above the dirt level.

Hey, Bartender!

This herb prefers part sun, but may tolerate full sun, if you keep it watered. As mentioned above, unless you want your entire neighborhood overrun with Mentha, it’s best to plant in a medium- to large-sized container filled with a rich potting mix.

If you’re opening a mint julep bar and need vast quantities of the herb, plant it in fertile, damp soil.

Mulch pots or in-ground plants to retain moisture.

Thirsty Customers

Mint likes lots of water, so water regularly – unless you live in Oregon, where Mother Nature takes care of hydration for you.

You’ll want to pinch the stem tips frequently to encourage bushiness. I just pop the pinched tops in my mouth for a refreshing kick of flavor.

Photo by Allison Sidhu.

If you feel your plant needs it, you may fertilize lightly in spring and then maybe once more during the growing season. Too much fertilizer encourages the herb to flower, which reduces leaf production and flavor, according to Texas A&M Agrilife Extension.

In the fall, cut back or mow the herb to the ground. Cover with a 2-inch layer of mulch if your winters are harsh.

Pests and Diseases

It’s perhaps unsurprising that these moisture-loving plants can be plagued with fungal diseases, such as mint rust and powdery mildew.

Treat these with a fungicide such as this one from Dr. Earth, available via Amazon.

Dr. Earth Final Stop Disease Control Fungicide, 24 Oz. Concentrate

Aphids, mites, and thrips can also bother Mentha. Blast these little pests off with a firm stream of water, prune out infected plant material, or apply an insecticidal soap such as this one from Safer Brand, available through Amazon.

Safer Brand Insect Killing Soap, 32 Oz.

This 32-ounce spray bottle is ready to use.

Cutworms are another problem that may bother this herb. Treat them with diatomaceous earth.

Reap the Rewards

Mint leaves can be harvested at any time, as you need them. Clip individual leaves or cut off the top few inches of a stem to get full sprigs. The more you pinch, the better off the plant is, so add a couple extra leaves to that cocktail!

Young leaves have more flavor than older ones.

Mint julep, anyone?

To enjoy your crop, why not start off with a Tomatillo-Jito ? This refreshing beverage is a tart twist on a minty classic cocktail.

Also from Foodal, you might enjoy Spicy Pork Tacos with Peach and Corn Salsa, where the herb adds a special pop to the flavorful salsa. Another recipe to try is this classic Lebanese Tabbouleh Salad from Wanderspice, in which mint figures prominently.

For dessert, consider these Creamy Watermelon Mint Popsicles from the Fitchen.

No Sneezing Allowed

Planting easy-to-grow mint not only means adding an attractive plant to your landscape, but also a fantastic flavoring agent for drinks, savory dishes, and desserts.

Unless you live in a rainforest (i.e. the Pacific Northwest), you’ll want to provide plenty of supplemental water, and some regular pruning, and that’s about it.

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Photos by Gretchen Heber © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Product photos via Bonnie Plants, seedsupplier, Colonial Creek Farm Nursery, The Garden Path, Dr. Earth, Safer Brand. Uncredited photos: .

The staff at Gardener’s Path are not medical professionals and this article should not be construed as medical advice intended to assess, diagnose, prescribe, or promise cure. Gardener’s Path and Ask the Experts, LLC assume no liability for the use or misuse of the material presented above. Always consult with a medical professional before changing your diet or using plant-based remedies or supplements for health and wellness.

About Gretchen Heber

A former garden editor for a daily newspaper in Austin, Texas, Gretchen Heber goes through entirely too many pruners and garden gloves in a year’s time. She’s never met a succulent she didn’t like and gets really irritated every 3-4 years when Austin actually has a freeze cold enough to kill them. To Gretchen, nothing is more rewarding than a quick dash to the garden to pluck herbs to season the evening meal. And it’s definitely time for a happy dance when she’s able to beat the squirrels to the peaches, figs, or loquats.

12 Uses for Mint Leaves From Health to Home

How do you use extra mint leaves? Here are 12 marvelous uses for mint around the home and garden—from culinary to medicinal to mouthwash to bug repellent!

Meet the Mints

What do you know about the mint family, Lamiaceae, the sixth- or seventh-largest of the flowering plant families?

  • The most common and popular mints for growing are peppermint (Mentha × piperita), native spearmint (Mentha spicata), Scotch spearmint (Mentha x gracilis), and cornmint (Mentha arvensis); also (more recently) apple mint (Mentha suaveolens).
  • Mint provides most of our common culinary herbs (e.g., basil, oregano, marjoram, rosemary, sage, thyme, summer and winter savories).
  • Plus, there are dozens (perhaps hundreds) of traditional medicinal herbs, not to mention many aromatics for use in flavorings, perfumes, and cosmetics.
  • You’ll also find mints among our favorite landscaping plants. Think salvias, agastaches, and lavenders, bee-balms, hyssop, and Russian sage. All summer, they produce nectar-rich blossoms, which attract bees and beneficial pollinators along with an occasional hummingbird.

A favorite in my summer herb garden is the bright red bee-balm which seeds itself all over the place, makes a great cut flower, and serves as a tasty tea to boot.

Many, if not most mint-family members, contain strongly aromatic oils (think lavender, rosemary, basil, thyme, and sage), which account for their many uses as seasoning, flavoring, and perfuming agents.

12 Uses for Mint Leaves

There are many safe uses for mint-family herbs besides beautifying your gardens. Here is just a sampling:

  1. Food: The peppermints are especially good culinary mints, ideal for chopping into salads, sprinkling over fruits or combining with basil or cilantro to make mint pesto. We like to add a couple tablespoons of fresh chopped mint to peas, green beans, carrots, cauliflower, or zucchini to create a minted vegetables!
  2. Drinks: Freeze a few trays of strong mint tea, then use the ice cubes for cooling summer drinks! Add mint leaves or cubes to mojitos, iced tea, or fresh lemonade.
  3. Tea: Why buy mint tea when it’s so easy to make? What we usually call the “mints” (peppermint, spearmint, apple mint, etc.) are traditional tea herbs. Just steep your fresh mint leaves in boiling water for about five minutes and serve. It’s a great digestive aid after dinner. Apple mint is one of my favorites with more mint flavor and less aftertaste.
  4. Hair rinse: Add one part strong mint (especially rosemary) tea to one part cider vinegar for a conditioning rinse you can either leave in or rinse out. The vinegary smell dissipates after drying.
  5. Facial astringent: Add a few finely minced leaves of fresh peppermint or other mint to a cup of witch hazel. Store in a glass jar for a week or more, shaking occasionally. Strain the herbs from the mixture after a week.
  6. Mouthwash: Chop a quarter cup of fresh mint, bee-balm, lemon balm, basil, thyme, or oregano leaves and infuse in a quart of boiling water. When cool, strain the herbs and store in the refrigerator.
  7. Mint bath. Steep a handful of mint leaves in a pint of hot water for about ten minutes, the strain. Add to bath water for an invigorating, stress-free soak.
  8. Ease sunburn pain: Make a strong peppermint tea and refrigerating the mixture for several hours. To use, gently apply to the burned area with cotton pads.
  9. Breath freshener: Just chew on a few mint leaves! Sage teas and extracts have been used for centuries as a mouthwash for oral infections. Don’t use chew mint-family herbs if you’re breastfeeding, as even small amounts or sage and peppermint may reduce milk supply.
  10. Scent up a space: Keep your home smelling fresh by adding a few drops of mint essential oil to your favorite unscented cleaner or just take a cotton ball and dap onto a light bulb.
  11. Moth repellent/scented sachet: Tie a few branches of strongly scented mint (peppermint, sage, lavender, rosemary, bee-balm) together, or pull off a handful of leaves, and stuff them into the leg of an old nylon stocking. Suspend by a string inside a garment bag, tuck into bags of stored woolen clothing, or just place in your drawers to let your clothes soak up the scent. Refresh periodically to keep the scent fresh.
  12. Bug repellent: When ants come into the kitchen during the summer, place a few stems of mint, gently crushed, near suspected entry points really does deter ants. You need to replace the mint with fresh material every few days. Also, keep pets flea-free by stuffing a small pillow with fresh spearmint and thyme and placing near your pet’s bed.

Of course, mint isn’t only used to deter bugs; it also attracts the beneficial insects. Bees and butterflies and hover flies love mint, which is rich in nectar and pollen, and this benefits pollinated plants and crops.


Credit: Anna Shepulova |

Medicinal Use of Mint Plants

Mint has been long known as an herbal remedy, easing queasy stomachs, calming stress and anxiety, and promoting restful sleep.

Peppermint tea has long been viewed as an excellent way to ease an upset stomach, calming the digestive tract and alleviating indigestion, gas, and cramps.

Mint has also been used for centuries in traditional medicine. Many, perhaps most, are also being uses for human and veterinary medicine, as insecticides or insect repellents, and as antifungal or antibacterial protection for crop plants.

Mints are potent plants, full of phytocompounds that plants manufacture to protect themselves against harmful bacteria, viruses, and other assaults from the environments they evolved in.

Interestingly, there are studies that show spearmint is even beneficial to honeybees by cleaning out the mites that infect their hives.

But Use With Caution

If herbal medicine interests you, please approach the mints, especially their essential oils, tinctures, and concentrated extracts, with care. This goes for both over-the-counter and homemade remedies.

Although many have been used by traditional healers around the world for centuries, most herbs haven’t undergone rigorous testing for safety and efficacy, especially in pregnant/nursing women, children, elders, and people with chronic illnesses.

Seek out as much information as you can from books, online sources, and experienced herbalists in your area. Inform your healthcare practitioner whenever you begin using an herbal remedy.

Most herbalists recommend staying away from ingesting essential oils as medicines unless under the care and observation of a medical provider experienced with herbal medicines. Out of an abundance of caution, herbalists also urge pregnant and breastfeeding moms, as well as people with serious chronic diseases to avoid even using mint-family essential oils in massage oils.

Many mint-family species contain potent phytocompounds that affect the endocrine system, sometimes dramatically. For example, sage and peppermint, even as tea or food flavorings, can reduce the milk supply in breastfeeding women. The essential oil of pennyroyal, historically used to induce menstruation or as an abortifacient, can be lethal if ingested in a large enough dose to accomplish those purposes.

Some mints contain strongly psychoactive compounds. Among the most potent: the hallucinogenic Salvia divinorum, whose use and/or sale has been banned in many nations, as well as half of U.S. states.

Discover Lemon Balm

Growing Mint

You may have heard that mint takes over the garden. It’s mainly spearmint that gives a lot of mints a bad name. Peppermint pretty much stays put as its stolons are short and shallow. Also, peppermint rarely produces viable seeds, so you won’t find it popping up in different garden beds.

Wild spearmint is the real bully, developing an enormous network of tough, quarter-inch-thick rhizomes under flower beds, spilling out into a large section of lawn, sending up a new plant every inch or two from the underground nodes. I’ve pulled up yards and yards and yards of the ropey invaders, but they still keep coming.

But if you are cultivating spearmint in your garden, just give this attractive ground cover plenty of room to spread. Or, plant mint in a container such as a terracotta pot near the kitchen window. In the ground, it’s ideal to grow spearmint in its own bed. But if you want to grow mint in a bed with other herbs or plants, consider sinking a deep bucket or tub without holes into the soil and plant into that. Otherwise, spearmint will choke out other plants in the bed.

When cold weather approaches, plants can be lifted and brought indoors in their own pots to give fresh leaves through the first part of winter.

Note: Mint doesn’t seed well nor reproduce true from seed. To grow mint, you need to either purchase a starter plant at a nursery or get a cutting from a friend. Ideally, you could sample a mint that a fellow gardener is growing and choose the one that suits your palate before taking a cutting!

See our Mint Growing Guide for more information.

15 Uses for Mint

6. Veggie Revamp: Enjoy an interesting twist on a vegetable medley by adding fresh or dried chopped mint to peas, green beans, carrots or cauliflower during their last two minutes of cooking.

7. Divine Desserts: Mix 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint leaves into chocolate chip cookie dough and bake as usual for wonderfully minty treats.

8. Breath Saver: You don’t have to rely on mint gum or candies to freshen your breath. A sprig of your favorite fresh mint variety will get rid of bad breath just as well. Simply pluck and chew.

9. Tummy Tamer: Peppermint tea is an excellent way to ease an upset stomach. Peppermint helps calm the digestive tract and alleviate indigestion, intestinal gas and abdominal cramping.

10. Hiccup Help: Try this homemade concoction to help soothe the diaphragm irritation that can cause hiccups: Pour a glass of lukewarm water, then add a couple squeezes of fresh lemon juice, a pinch of salt and a few mint leaves.

11. Steam Clean: A peppermint steam can help clear sinuses and congestion and fight infection. Bring a pot of water to boil, turn off the heat, add a few drops of peppermint essential oil and lean over the pot, draping a towel over your head. Breathe in the minty steam. Mint steams also act as a cleansing and stimulating facial.

12. Nausea Nix: Peppermint essential oil can boost your mood and reduce feelings of nausea. Simply add a couple drops to a clean handkerchief and breathe in.

13. Headache Healer: Apply a few drops of peppermint essential oil to your temple to relieve migraines, as compounds in peppermint oil are known to calm muscle spasms. You can also make a simple compress to get rid of tension headaches: Pour 3 cups hot water over 3 peppermint tea bags. Steep, covered for 5 to 7 minutes; remove tea bags and add ice. To use, dip wash cloth into cold tea and apply to forehead.

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14. Fresh Feet: Mint soothes aching feet thanks to the pain-relieving properties in menthol, a compound in mint. Menthol also triggers a cooling sensation, perfect for foot scrubs. Try this one: Combine 1 cup sea salt, 1⁄3 cup olive oil and 6 drops peppermint essential oil. Scrub feet and rinse.

15. Sunburn Soother: Menthol cools and refreshes the skin, making mint a handy herb to keep around in the summer. Use it to ease sunburn pain by making a strong peppermint tea and refrigerating the mixture for several hours. To use, gently apply to the burned area with cotton pads.

Mint Benefits: 10 Incredible Health Benefits Of Mint Or Pudina You Must Know

Health Benefits Of Mint Or Pudina You May Not Have Known

Refreshing, zingy and delightful, a dash of mint can set almost anything right. Mint is one of the oldest culinary herbs known to mankind. Its remarkable medicinal properties have made it one of the most commonly known and used herbs ever. Indians, especially are no stranger when it comes to mint. We use it in our chutneys,raita, and even garnish ourbiryaniswith the cooling herb. According to Macrobiotic Nutritionist and Health Practitioner Shilpa Arora ND, “Mint has very powerful antioxidant properties. The leaves can be juiced or made into a raita. Mint is excellent to manage blood sugar levels and treat skin conditions. In summers, one should particularly add mint to their diet. Mint is very cooling and aids in digestion and breathing disorders too.”
From boosting digestion to keeping your breath fresh for long, mint is packed with a number of benefits that make its more than just a mocktail, chutney or raita ingredient.

Here are some mint benefits you may not have known:

1. Aids Digestion
Mint can work wonders for almost all your digestive woes. According to the book ‘Healing Foods’ by DK Publishing, menthol, which is the active oil in the mint, has antiseptic and antibacterial properties that help relieve indigestion and also soothe an upset stomach.(Also Read: Unable To Lose Weight? Your Poor Digestion May Be At Fault​)

Mint facilitates smoother digestion

2. Treats Asthma
Consumption of mint has also been linked with bringing in soothing effect for asthmatic patients. Mint is loaded with anti-inflammatory properties. It is a good relaxant and relieves congestion. However, make sure you don’t overdo your mint dosage, else it may irritate your air passages.

Mint’s anti-inflammatory properties soothe the swelling and keep the mucous at bay

3. Treats Common Cold
Struggling with nasty cold and finding it difficult to focus and breathe? Try mint. Yes, there is a reason why your vapo-rubs and inhalers are often available in mint. Mint is known to clear congestion of the nose, throat, bronchi, and lungs. In addition to the respiratory channels, mint’s anti-inflammatory properties also relieve the irritation caused by chronic coughing.
(Also Read:Toss Them Away: 6 Foods That Aggravate Cold And Cough In Winters​)

Mint has umpteen antiviral and antibacterial properties that can keep mild flu and cold

4. Cures Headache
As mentioned earlier, mint is a decently strong adaptogenic herb. According to the book ‘Healing Foods’, mint may help cure headaches too. The strong and refreshing aroma of mint could help ease headaches. Balms with a mint base or basic mint oil, when rubbed on the forehead and nose, are effective in curing headaches and nausea.
(Also Read: 10 Natural Home Remedies for Headaches That Actually Work)

Mint may help cure headaches too

5. Oral CarePicture this, you have a presentation to make and you have just tucked in a gobhi paratha and garlic chutney. You cannot be entering the presentation room with a tainted breath now, can you? Chewing on mint tablets or mint leaves could help freshen your breath instantly due to the presence of germicidal properties. It also does wonders for our overall oral health. It inhibits bacterial growth inside the mouth, and cleanses the plaque deposition on teeth. This is the very reason why so many of the toothpastes in the market also come in mint base.

Chewing on mint tablets or mint leaves could help freshen your breath

6. Aids Weight Loss
Mint could also play its own sweet role in weight loss, and the reason is tied with its much famed digestive properties. Mint stimulates digestive enzymes, which help facilitate better absorption of nutrients from food. When the body is able to assimilate and absorb nutrients properly, there is better metabolism. A faster metabolism aids weight loss.
(Also Read: Low Fat Food: What to Eat and What to Avoid for Weight Loss)

Mint promotes quick weight loss

7. Improves Brain Power
Mint could also rev up your brain power. According to various studies, consuming mint may up alertness, retention, and cognitive functions. One of the studies also tied effects of mint consumption with better memory retention.

Mint could also rev up your brain power

8. Skin Care
Mint is a traditional remedy for treating acne and pimples. It has potent anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties which work wonders on acne prone skin. Mint leaves contain a high content of salicylic acid, which is excellent in combating acne action too. The juice obtained from mint works as an effective skin cleanser. The high quantum of antioxidants also help prevent free radical activity, giving you clearers and youthful skin. You can use mint in the form of face masks as well. Combine crushed mint leaves and honey. Apply on your skin and leave for 20 minutes. Wash off with warm water.

Mint could help treat acne

9. Help Ease Symptoms Of Morning sickness or Nausea
Mint is an excellent remedy to treat nausea. It is also effective for treating nausea that happens in morning sickness. According to Shilpa Arora, “Eating a few leaves or smelling some leaves of mint every morning, could help expecting mothers to get past the nauseous feeling and cope better.”

Mint could help relieve nausea

10. Beats stress and depression
Mint is an essential part of aromatherapy. It’s strong and refreshing smell could help beat stress and rejuvenate mind. Mint has adaptogenic properties that regulate cortisol levels and boost the body’s natural resilience to stress. Adaptogens help balance the body in whatever way is needed. By breathing in the aroma of mint, your mind is instantly calmed. According to studies, it also helps release small amount of serotonin in the brain that may help beat depression. You can add mint to your tea, use mint extract on a vapouriser or draw yourself a mint bath for immediate relief.

Mint is an essential part of aromatherapy.

CommentsBlend them in smoothies or add them to chutneys; this summer make sure you don’t miss out on the refreshing herb.

About Sushmita SenguptaSharing a strong penchant for food, Sushmita loves all things good, cheesy and greasy. Her other favourite pastime activities other than discussing food includes, reading, watching movies and binge-watching TV shows.

13 Impressive Benefits of Mint Leaves

The amazing health benefits of mint include improved digestion, weight loss, relief from nausea, depression, fatigue, and headache. It is also used in the treatment of asthma, memory loss, and skin care problems.

What is Mint?

Mint (Mentha) is a popular herb and a well-known mouth freshener that has been used for hundreds of years for its medicinal properties. It has more than two dozen species and hundreds of varieties which also include peppermint and spearmint.

It can be used in many culinary preparations in its fresh or dried form. Also, there are many products available in the market, with a distinct minty flavor. Things such as toothpaste, shaving gels, chewing gums, breath fresheners, candies, teas, balms, oils, and inhalers with a mint flavor are the most used.

Due to its fresh taste, the mint extract is popularly paired with cakes, cookies, nutrition supplements, sugar-free products, and energy bars. Mint fragrance oil is used ice-creams and chocolates. Mint syrup is used in alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.

Apart from these different types of mint are used to prepare various oils such as peppermint oil and spearmint essential oil that provide many uses and benefits.

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:

Treat Asthma

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

A fresh and aromatic bunch of mint leaves Photo Credit:

Alleviates 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.

Aid in Digestion

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. It is a potent remedy for relieving the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). A 2013 study showed that the menthol in mint could relieve diarrhea. Also, menthol oil can help alleviate nausea related to motion sickness.

Aid in Breast Feeding

A research study published in the International Breastfeeding Journal in 2007 has shown that mint oil helps reduce the nipple cracks and pain that often accompany breastfeeding.

Prevent 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.

Skin Care

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 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 bug and 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 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.

Weight Loss

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.

Prevent Memory Loss

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, once again, have shown yet another reason to pop that stick of gum in your mouth or chew some leaves when you’re feeling anything less than brilliant.

Oral Care

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.

Treat Nausea

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.

Relieve Headaches

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 the inflammation and temperature rise that is often associated with headaches and migraines.

Reduce 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. 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 with using a eucalyptus mint body wash as it is known to cool and invigorate the body.

Improve 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 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 to do with it.

Another group of researchers suggests that it may be used to treat sterility in women. Suffice to say, a great deal of research must be done on the effects of mint in both male impotency and female sterility.

Other Benefits

  • Drinks and foods containing this herb 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.

Why don’t you have a stick of mint chewing gum? That may be the refreshing boost you need!

How to Cook With Mint for Fresh Flavor

Photo: Riccardo Livorni / EyeEm / Getty Images

I taste mint every single day, but I don’t often think about it. Plenty of other herbs either star or cameo in my omelets, salads, dressings, drinks, soups, and rubs, and they’re almost inevitably billed in the title. (Why yes, a thyme-infused lemonade would be so very refreshing with my tarragon egg white omelet and rosemary-grilled chicken thighs, thank you!) But I brush my teeth at least a couple of times a day, and I rarely thought, “mmm mint,” but rather just “clean.” Unfair! This hardworking leaf deserves its turn in the spotlight.

You usually don’t get a lot of say when you shop for mint at the store. It’s just labeled “mint,” and it’s fairly standard—it might be the sharper peppermint, or the slightly sweeter spearmint, and they can be used interchangeably. But invest a little bit of time in obtaining a live plant (pick it up at most garden centers and farmers markets throughout the spring), and you can customize your experience with a range of mint varieties like chocolate mint, pineapple mint, apple mint, bergamot (a.k.a. orange mint), ginger mint, and more and yes—they are all thusly named because they bear a flavor resemblance to their namesakes. The plants are ridiculously easy to care for; just consider keeping them constricted to a pot rather than planting them in the ground because they’ll come back every year and aggressively attempt to take over the entire garden.

Eating healthy should still be delicious.

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But then you’d have tons of mint on hand. If you’re not plucking it as-needed, take the cut stems from the store and stand it upright in a slightly-filled glass on the counter, or store it with the ends wrapped in a damp paper towel in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. It will keep for a few days. You can also chop mint leaves, place them in ice cube trays with a little water, and freeze them to use later.

And oh, will you use mint, once you get the taste for it. A few leaves alongside your regular greens in a salad, or tossed in with strawberries, bananas, and melon provide a cool thrill that enhances the flavor it meets. Chiffonade it into your yogurt. Chop it up with cucumbers, tomatoes and a kiss of vinegar to serve alongside each warm-weather meal. Muddle mint with lemon or lime at the bottom of a glass, top with seltzer and ice, and you have your new favorite all-day summer tipple. Simmer some mint with equal parts of sugar and water to create a simple syrup that adds an extra level of pleasure to cocktails, iced tea, and even iced coffee.

RELATED: Here Are Our Best Recipes That Use Fresh Mint

Peas and mint are a classic combination, but add a little pasta, grated Parmesan, and lemon zest into the mix, and there’s dinner once (or twice) a week for the rest of the season. Pound that mint into a pesto with plenty of olive oil, parsley, garlic, nuts, aged cheese, and salt and spoon lavishly it on grilled meat or fish. Boil or roast new potatoes or carrots, slather them with butter, sprinkle with chopped mint and exercise the bare minimum of self restraint.

Should you wish for mint to be even easier to deploy, infuse some leaves into olive oil to keep on hand, grind them with salt or sugar in a food processor and keep that in tightly-lidded jars, or work a finely-chopped fistful into room-temperature butter, then wrap in wax paper and chill. Really, why should your toothbrush have all the fun?

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