Posted on Jan 12, 2014 in Nutrition, Wellness

Cool and refreshing, mint can be seen as one of the most prized herbs since ancient times that we still use today. Be it on your toothpaste, mouthwash, breath fresheners, candies, balms or cigarettes, mint is also regarded as a the perfect spice to a wide variety of delicacies. More than being used as a flavoring, mint has long been used by the ancients to cure pains and several illnesses including symptoms of stress. And if you just don’t know it, here’s why you should keep a mint balm ready at your home for pain relief and many more.

The origin of mint

Mint is actually used to generalize the plant genus Mentha. Herbs under this genus are strong scented gaining the word “menthol” in its name. When you hear the word mint, you associate it with the strong, cool smell. Among the 30 species of Mentha, Pennyroyal, Spearmint and Peppermint is the most popular.

How mint is used

Popularly, spearmint is the most flexible of all it being used in cooking because of its fruity and mild aroma that is perfect for salad, dressings and soups and even chocolates or adding flavor to meat. Pennyroyal, while an essential oil, can be dangerously toxic to the liver and kidney because of the substance pulegone. It’s best for aromatherapy to help you alleviate your stress, anxiety and fatigue over the day but never for food; the same reason why they are perfect to repel insects and rodents. Peppermint on the other hand is stronger in smell and taste that’s why they’re more likely used in toothpaste, mouthwash, soaps, balms (which explain why most balms have their own hot, cooling effect after application), cough medicines and chewing gum.

The power of mint

It would seem that mint has so many uses that it’s kind of best to invest in a pot or two of growing one plant. And it is. More than being a condiment, the ancients use it for many of its medicinal and healthy properties to give.

Menthol oil all mint plants have high amounts of menthol oil and that alone can be used as a sedative so you feel a lot better after inhaling it when you’re feeling nauseated. It’s a natural decongestant to free up clogged nose from dry cough and is a perfect disinfectant. Have fungal problems? Menthol oil has natural antifungal properties and is nature’s potent anaesthesia once ingested. That would perfectly explain why when you were younger, your mother would ease the pain by helping you into a cup of mint tea and feel a lot better. That also explains why mint balms help relieve the pain from cramps or any other spasms you might be having.

Cicatrizer that is a property that you use to describe a plant with natural anti-inflammatory properties and found in mint, it helps speed up the healing process when you or any of your family member have rashes or insect bites.

Vitamins and minerals who says mint is just a balm? You can actually eat it raw (if you’re a vegetarian or you don’t mind it being fresh as it is) or make it into a tea. Mint is rich in antioxidants and vitamins A and C which is also helpful in preventing diseases. What’s more, mint is rather rich with essential minerals like Omega-3 concentrates, potassium, manganese, iron, folic acid and copper.

De-stressor stressed from work; tired and anxious? Sniffing any kind of mint oil is naturally therapeutic. Its relaxing and cooling effect is enough to energize you after a hectic day. So even when you’re out of the house, make sure that you keep a pot of fresh mint inside your home to act as a natural air freshener and relaxing scent as you go home.

Using mint to cure

Easy to prepare and readily available, it would be missing a good opportunity not to know how to harness the curing power of mint. Pains? Cough or even dandruff? No problem. Here are some quick way that you can do to make use of mint as a cure.

  • Cough and stomachache boil mint leaves for 15 minutes and drink it until your cough is gone and to ease your stomachache.
  • Dandruff combine mint leaves with rosemary leaves and vinegar and use it as your shampoo.
  • Mouthwash chop mint leaves and place them in a glass of hot water. Wait until the water is cool enough for rinsing and use it as your regular mouthwash.
  • Pains from arthritis, dysmenorrhea and joint pains warm mint leaves (you can rub it with oil to maximize the effect) and put it on the affected area.
  • Toothaches Juice mints leaves and using a piece of cotton dab the juice into the affected area.