Mint, scientifically called Mentha, is known for its breath freshening abilities. It comes in around two dozen species and various varieties, and is recognized for its medicinal benefits, as well. Many products in the market today, such as breath fresheners, chewing gums, candies, inhalers and tooth pastes, are mint flavoured. While most of us are aware mint leaves can refresh us, we may be oblivious to its health benefits.
Healthy & Fragrant Mint Leaves
Mint leaves have several health benefits. Some of these are as follows:
Digestion: Mint acts as an appetiser. It helps in better digestion and has a soothing effect in case of inflammation. A cup of mint tea has a calming effect. The fragrance of mint helps in activating salivary glands that further help in secretion of digestive enzymes. As a result, it enhances the digestion process. That is the reason why mint is used all over the world in cooking. Not only mint is included in appetizers, but also in the main course and after food mint chocolates.
Headache & Nausea: The fresh fragrance of mint helps a great deal in getting rid of nausea. Nausea caused during travelling and motion sickness can also be treated with mint. It is also used as a remedy in pregnancy-related nausea. Many headache balms are mint-based. Methanol oil present in mint helps in soothing temperature increase and inflammation during migraines and headaches.
Cough, Asthma & Respiratory Disorders: Nose and throat congestions are effectively cleared by the strong aroma of mint. The leaves also offer great relief in bronchial and lung disorders. They help in cases of chronic cough and asthma too. Many doctors prescribe mint inhalers that are not only effective, but also eco-friendly.
Nursing Mothers: Breastfeeding your child is very important for proper growth and development, but can cause irritation to the breasts and nipples. Mint oil extracted from mint leaves can be applied on the cracked skin around the nipples. This application not only cures the cracks, but also reduces the pain.
Fatigue & Depression: Mint stimulates the mind and brain naturally. The aroma can rejuvenate the mind and body. The fragrance also helps to boost brain function. Hence, mint leaves are great for those suffering from depression, exhaustion, sluggishness and anxiety. Mint can be applied topically, inhaled or ingested.
Skin & Acne: Mint is a natural antiseptic and is known as an excellent blood purifying agent. It has a soothing effect on the skin. It also helps reduce redness, puffiness of the skin and eliminates acne on continuous use. It can also be used to cure insect bites and the cooling sensation it causes reduces swelling, and inflammation.
Memory Loss: Mint has a significant effect on cognitive functions and alertness. Studies have proven people who chew mint chewing gums are more alert and retain memory longer than their counterparts. This goes to show chewing mint leaves could help in combating memory loss.
[ Read: How To Improve Your Memory ]
Weight Loss: An interesting quality of mint is its ability to aid weight loss. Mint acts as a stimulant that absorbs fat from the food and converts it into energy. Thus, when we add mint to our food, we are unknowingly converting fat into energy and this helps to burn the calories we consume.
Oral Care: Since time immemorial, mint leaves have been used for oral care and hygiene. The leaves significantly improve oral health and make the breath fresh. Mint is known to destroy harmful bacteria that grow inside the mouth and on the tongue and teeth. This is the reason why so many mouthwashes, toothpastes and sugar-free chewing gums have large percentage of mint in them.
Allergies: Other than asthma, other seasonal allergies and allergic rhinitis or hay fever can also be treated with mint leaves. The leaves contain natural antihistamines, which help in alleviating these allergies and reducing symptoms brought on by the allergy.
Cancer: Studies have shown mint leaves contain certain enzymes that help in preventing cancer. Hence, in alternative and holistic cancer therapies, mint leaves and extract are often used in treating the malignant tumour.
Mint has so many health benefits that not only it is used in Ayurvedic and alternative medicines and natural care products, it also is ubiquitously used in cosmetics, food and beverages, inhalers, conventional OTC medications, breathe fresheners and much more. In certain cultures, mint leaves are ground and made into a refreshing drink that keeps the body cool during hot summer months.
The best way to consume mint leaves and enjoy their health benefits is by chewing fresh leaves. However, you can also add mint to dishes, like desserts, sauces, salads, dips and homemade chocolates.
Now that you know how mint leaves benefit our health, go ahead and make these leaves an integral part of your daily diet.