Description: Square-stemmed perennial, up to 2 feet (0.61 m) tall; terminal spikes of tiny purple, pink, or white flowers; opposite toothed leaves; highly aromatic.
Hardiness: To zone 4
Parts used: Leaves
The Health Benefits of Mint
There are many health benefits of mint. From soothing upset tummies, to helping to boost your immune system, mint is a valuable household herb not to be ignored.
This herb is also easy to grow and does so with wild abandon. Be sure not to plant it where you can’t control its spread. I like to plant it in large containers, so it can’t take over my whole garden.
You would also be hard-pressed to find a more beautifully fragrant herb than mint. Mint is amazingly versatile and is a helpful and welcome herb in every household. Mint is right at home in an invigorating cup of tea, in a herbal extract or added to many recipes.
There are a ton of varieties of mints to savor. Peppermint, spearmint, chocolate mint, apple mint, pineapple mint, and orange mint are just a few in the Lamiaceae or mint family.
Perhaps most commonly known for its ability to soothe the upset tummy, this herb has found its place among the most revered of digestive soothing herbs. I use this herb often and find it to be a delicious addition to my morning cup of tea. Not only is it soothing to the tummy, but it is invigorating and restorative too!
Potential Health Benefits of Mint
Mint, a delightful and aromatic herb, is celebrated for its numerous health benefits. Rich in nutrients, mint aids in digestion, offering relief from indigestion and upset stomachs. Its anti-inflammatory properties can soothe sore muscles and improve oral health.
The health benefits of mint extend to respiratory health too, as it helps clear congestion and improve breathing. Additionally, its refreshing taste and calming aroma can reduce stress and enhance mental clarity. Truly, mint is a versatile herb that not only adds flavor to our meals but also boosts our overall well-being.
Mint, with its refreshing aroma and soothing properties, is a powerhouse of health benefits. Let’s delve deeper into the health benefits of this remarkable herb and how it aids in various aspects of our well-being:
1.) Managing Gastrointestinal Problems: Mint, known for its calming effects, has been used for millennia to alleviate upset stomachs and indigestion. As a carminative and antispasmodic agent, it effectively reduces stomach cramps, indigestion, pain, and discomfort. It’s particularly soothing for conditions like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), heartburn, and nausea.
2.) Soothing Common Cold Symptoms: Containing menthol, an aromatic decongestant, mint helps break up phlegm and mucus, facilitating easier expulsion. This makes it a go-to remedy for those pesky cold symptoms.
3.) Allergies: Mint plants are rich in Rosmarinus acid, an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent. Studies, such as the 2019 rat study, highlight its potential in reducing asthma symptoms. The mint family offers a variety of compounds with anti-allergenic effects, making it a promising natural remedy for allergy sufferers.
4.) Anti-Microbial & Antifungal: Mint’s ability to combat harmful bacteria and fungal overgrowth, especially post-antibiotic use, is remarkable. It plays a crucial role in preventing and treating Candida Albicans, a common yeast infection.
5.) Anti-Inflammatory: Traditionally consumed for its anti-inflammatory properties, especially for lung health, mint is gaining recognition in clinical trials for asthma treatments. The extraction of Rosmarinus acid from mint can block inflammation, offering a complementary approach to asthma management.
6) Enhancing Muscle and Mental Relaxation: Expanding on its myriad benefits, mint is also a boon for those with sore muscles and stress. Its natural compounds, when used in balms or infusions, can provide relief to strained muscles, making it a favorite among athletes and those with active lifestyles. Moreover, the soothing scent of mint is a natural stress reliever. Its calming effect on the mind is akin to a breath of fresh air, reducing stress and enhancing mental clarity. Incorporating mint into your daily routine, be it in teas, aromatherapy, or topical applications, can be a simple yet effective way to harness these benefits for a more relaxed body and mind.
In essence, mint isn’t just a culinary delight; it’s a versatile herb that plays a significant role in holistic health and wellness, addressing everything from gastrointestinal issues to mental and muscular relaxation.
Chumpitazi BP, Kearns GL, Shulman RJ. Review article: the physiological effects and safety of peppermint oil and its efficacy in irritable bowel syndrome and other functional disorders. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2018 Mar;47(6):738-752. doi: 10.1111/apt.14519. Epub 2018 Jan 26. PMID: 29372567; PMCID: PMC5814329.
Culinary Uses of Mint
This herb was initially introduced to Britian by the Romans and is still popular in its culinary uses to this day. Britian’s influence throughout the world has ensured that this herb’s uses and potential were realized far and wide.
Aside from the health benefits of mint, this versitile herb has many culinary uses as well. Add mint to desserts, salads, sauces, and jellies and to hot or cold teas and cocktails. Mint can be a refreshing compliment to hot or spicy food. Consider combining chopped fresh mint with chopped cucumber and plain yogurt. I have found that I really like it with fish.
The Many Useful Properties of Mint
The tasty and vivacious mints are full of helpful properties!
- Antispasmodic – eases muscle cramping
- Antimicrobial – helps to fight viral, bacterial, and fungal infections.
- Carminative – plants that are rich in aromatic oils and help to relieve gas, griping, and spasms
- Digestive – used by herbalists to support digestion
- Diaphoretic – helps to promote perspiration by stimulating peripheral circulation
- Nervine relaxant – helps to calm tension and irritability in the nervous system
- Nervine stimulant – assists in stimulating the nervous system
- Topical analgesic – used externally by herbalists to ease pain
*The above information was taken from Herbal Medicine from the Heart of the Earth by Sharol Tilgner, Healing Herbal Teas by Brigitte Mars, Mentha piperita/pudina: Peppermint by Anne McIntyre, and Peppermint in The Herbarium by the Herbal Academy.
Sun Brewed Mint Iced Tea
- 2 quart pitcher
- 2 Quarts Water
- 1/4 Cup Wildflower Honey
- 1 Large Lemon
- 2 Bunches Fresh Mint Leaves
- Pour the water into a large 2-quart pitcher or container with a lid. Stir in honey until dissolved.
- Zest the lemon, being careful not to include any white pith, and juice the lemon. Combine the zest and juice with the honey-water mixture.
- Hold a bunch of mint in one hand; use your other hand to twist and squeeze the leaves, slightly bruising them to release their fragrance and oils. Immerse the bunches in the water mixture.
- Cover the container and place it in direct sunlight for two hours. Remove the mint leaves, shake, and serve over ice in tall glasses, garnished with a mint sprig.