Mint, also known as Minta Spacata, or Mentha Sativa (botanical name) is a herb used in India, Middle East and Europe for culinary and medicinal purposes. There are wide ranges of Mints like, orange mint, apple mint, water mint, horsemint, pineapple mint, though only peppermint and spearmint are the most popular types used by the people world over. The sweet, cool and special sensational flavor of the herb has made it a favorite ingredient in chewing gums, salads, ice-creams, chocolates, juices, curries, gravies, soups and many more recipes all over the world; since it not only adds nutrients but also gives unique taste to the dish. The herb was initially sought after for its numerous health benefits and healing powers in curing headaches and stomach aches besides other ailments.
Mint, known in India as Pudina, was extensively used in Ayurvedic medicines, as mouth freshener and cough syrups. The oil extracted from the whole of the plant, including leaves, stems and flowers are used for treating various ailments including toothache and indigestion. The Greeks and Romans used Mint for its scent in soaps and perfumes, besides adding it to their dishes.
Health Benefits of Mint
From time immemorial, Mint has been used to aid digestion and cure stomach aches. Drinking herbal mint tea after meal is known to relieve irritated bowel syndromes, by aiding digestion. It has also been used as beauty product to cure pimples and acnes. The herb is also abundant in antioxidants that boost the immune system of the body to fight against diseases. Menthol, an organic compound obtained from mint is used in production of lip balms, cough medicines, antipruritic medicines and as an analgesic for pain relief. A phytonutrient known as Perillyl in mint is effective in controlling colon, skin and lung cancer growths in animals.
In short, mint:
- Soothes digestive tract and relieves indigestion, stomach ache, heartburn and irritable bowel syndrome
- Is excellent mouth freshener, fights bad breath
- Builds up immune system with antioxidants
- Prevents bacterial and fungal infections
- Eliminates toxins from body
- Provides relief from symptoms of cold, cough, congestion, allergy and flu
- Cleanses blood and clears skin
Pour moderately hot water on fresh mint leaves and close it to steep in for some time. Strain and drink the aromatic mint tea for relief from indigestion, muscle tension, sinus problems headache and flatulence.
Boil mint leaves in water and use it for washing hair to prevent excessive hair fall. It also leaves behind a cool, fresh and aromatic feeling.
Chew mint leaves or gargle with warm water in which mint leaves have been boiled to get relief from oral problems and bad breath. Dried and powdered mint leaves are used for brushing teeth to take care of oral health.
Mix a 1 tsp of mint leaves extract with 1 tsp of carrot juice and 1 tsp of honey. Consume the mixture on empty stomach to strengthen lungs and fight recurring lung infections.
Travel Sickness and Nausea
Sauté fresh mint leaves and curry leaves in sesame oil. Add black gram and tamarind to the sautéed leaves and grind the mixture to a fine paste with sufficient amount of water. Taken before travel or when the feeling of nausea sets in, it provides great relief and controls vomiting.