5 Great Health Benefits of Mint and although there are around 600 varieties of mint, the ones we mainly use are Mentha spicata Spearmint for culinary use and Mentha piperita Peppermint for medicinal use.
There are many claims for the health properties of mint, some people even believe it helps in the fight against cancer, but there are no reliable studies regarding this and I think it’s unwise to rely on it.
Some of the most common and proven by usage medicinal benefits for mint are:
It activates the salivary glands and digestive enzymes and promotes digestion. It is great for soothing colicky and upset tummies. Use mint tea for this and sip it after your meal if you suffer with gas.
Be cautious if you have acid reflux, as mint oils relax the smooth muscle of the bowel. The oesophagus is part of the digestive system and will relax, possibly allowing acid through from the stomach.
There are millions of IBS sufferers across the world. Some may just have a few symptoms, others may find the illness totally debilitating. Peppermint oil has been used extensively by people to alleviate some of the bloating and pain. It is recommended by many doctors who specialize in gastric medicine.
As an inhalation, the decongestant properties of mint (mint is where ‘menthol’ comes from) will relieve the congestion in the nose, throat and lungs. Use for colds as it will help you perspire. If you’re left with catarrh after a cold or flu, then it will help relieve the congestion there too.
If you have asthma, then you will know when you need to rely on your medication, so be cautious in the use of mint. Use the mint tea as an inhaler - either use a special inhaler cup with a mask, or just use it in a bowl and put a towel over your head to keep all the properties in. Alternatively use a few drops of essential oils in the just boiled water.
Rub a mint leaf on an insect bit to soothe the irritation. Rub a leaf on a skin pimple - it can help in cases of mild acne or just a regular breakout. Use a pint of mint tea in your bath to relieve itchy skin.
If you’re feeling a bit queazy, say motion sickness or from chemotherapy, then take a sniff at some peppermint essential oil or crush some fresh leaves in your hand, keep them warm with your skin and inhale the essential oils that will be released. It will frequently give you relief from the nauseous feelings.