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12
Nov

The Healing Benefits of Mint

by Tiffany in Health & Healing

Mint is often associated with freshness and vitality and is probably one of the most recognized and popular flavors in the world. You have the “sweet” mint found in candies, cocktails, iced tea and soft drinks, and ice cream (Peppermint) and you have the “savory” mint found commonly in spicy dishes (Spearmint). Sweet or savory, mint has healing properties and health benefits. Some you may be aware of and some may surprise you.

Digestive Health

  • Peppermint is commonly used to help with IBS or Irritable Bowel Syndrome. I used it myself when several doctors told me I had IBS and it does help relax the muscles in the GI tract. Though in my case it turns out the IBS was actually cancer but either way the peppermint helped with easing symptoms.
  • Magical mint also helps with indigestion. It is no coincidence that many restaurants commonly offer mints as an after dinner treat. This practice has been passed down over generations because it helps with bloating and post meal tummy aches.

Respiratory Health

  • Mint has menthol in it. This is the same stuff that is in vapor rubs that you buy to help with chest congestion except mint is natural and those chest rubs typically aren’t. The mint helps with congestion and helps to reduce coughing.
  • It’s great for people with asthma and allergies as well as common colds. Mint stops the release of histamine, the chemical that causes itchy, watery eyes and congestion.

Whole Body Health

  • The cold sensation from the methol provides pain relief. This is why it is commonly placed in topical pain relievers like Icy Hot.
  • Spearmint has been shown in some studies to help with PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) by reducing the overabundance of testosterone found in women with this condition.
  • Breastfeeding moms can use mint tea topically to get some relief from sore nipples. Just rub it on and allow to air dry for some sweet relief.
  • Peppermint and Spearmint have both been shown in animal studies to slow the growth of certain cancers or even kill it outright.
  • Peppermint oil kills bacteria in the mouth and helps prevent plaque buildup. This would of course be why mint is so commonly found in toothpaste and mouthwash.

Mental Health

  • We commonly feel invigorated when we eat mint or inhale it’s fragrance. The invigorating properties sharpen our minds and make us more alert which makes it great for improving performance at work or in school.
  • Mint inhalation helps with stress and anxiety. I know I cannot help but feel calm and happy when I smell mint!

How  To Get More Mint in the Diet:

Mint marries very well with curries, crabmeat, peas, lamb, yogurt, mango, and cranberries. Add mint to dishes with peas, make lamb with mint sauce, and eat mint raita (cucumber and yogurt).

Small sprigs from the garden can be frozen into ice cubes for a refreshing drink (tea, lemonade, water). You can also substitute mint for other spices. Mint plays well with basil, cumin, rosemary, thyme, lemongrass, and chile.

You may want to grab an Indian or Mediterranean cookbook for ideas, as these two cuisines often feature mint dishes. Enjoy!

Monday, November 12th, 2012

15 Comments

  • http://twitter.com/GGirlGGreen Stephanie Moram

    I love mint!

    • http://www.naturemoms.com/blog Tiffany

      Me too! ;)

  • http://www.facebook.com/maggie.owens.7 Maggie Owens

    I love mint. It really helps me with upset stomach when I drink it as tea.

  • Ambra

    I love peppermint for upset stomach! I use peppermint oil and rub it right n my belly and also sniff it. It has a cooling effect on your skin and just melts the nausea away! Funny that I never associated restaurant after-dinner mints with digestive relief. Gotta love Grandma’s old remedies!!

    • http://www.naturemoms.com/blog Tiffany

      Sounds like something I need to try with my kiddos.

  • ecokaren

    Love them in Mojitos! Yum!

    • http://www.naturemoms.com/blog Tiffany

      Oh yes. Very yummy!

  • http://twitter.com/IThoughtIKnewMa IThoughtIKnewMama

    Love mint! Great post!

  • Jenifer Harrod

    I love mint. We have some growing in our front flower garden and I think now I will go and make some mint ice cubes. Great ideas.

    • http://www.naturemoms.com/blog Tiffany

      Wish I had some growing! Enjoy!

  • Juliette

    I love mint too – love it on lamb, in drinks, and mint candies. I also used to love mint tea.

    However, I need to throw a caution out there. While mint is wonderful for an upset stomach, it can seriously irritate ulcers (mint is a mild irritant – that’s why it tingles). Before I realized this, I would drink mint tea and then wonder why my acid attacks got worse – on two occasions to the point of vomiting. I didn’t realize immediately, but after doing some reading I realized that it was making things worse. Something to be aware of if you’re using it for stomach issues – if it’s working awesome, but keep in mind sometimes it’s the last thing you want!

    • http://www.naturemoms.com/blog Tiffany

      Good to know. :)

  • http://www.ninenaturals.com/blog/ Nine Naturals Mom

    Thanks for these. I didn’t realize how useful mint is. Do you have any recommendations on how I could use natural mint in curing colds? 

  • Carolina

    I have mint growing in my yard. I love it for cooking. Oddly enough, I
    don’t like mint candies and toothpaste, but I love the real thing. I
    find mint a wonderful herb for eggplant.

  • Mackenzie Salis

    I fill a large water bottle every morning and put 2 drops of lemon and peppermint oil in the water and enjoy the invigorating water all day! It awakens my whole body. We even call it “jazzy water” around our house.