Mints are aromatic, almost exclusively perennial, rarely annual herbs. They have wide-spreading underground and overground stolons and erect, square, branched stems. The leaves are arranged in opposite pairs, from oblong to lanceolate, often downy, and with a serrated margin. Leaf colors range from dark green and gray-green to purple, blue, and sometimes pale yellow. While the species that make up the Mentha genus (mint) are widely distributed and can be found in many environments, most grow best in wet environments and moist soils. Mints will grow 10–120 cm tall and can spread over an indeterminate area. Due to their tendency to spread unchecked, some mints are considered invasive.
A true botanical wonder, mint is a breeze to care for, and its pleasing aroma makes it a welcome addition to the garden. The best part about this easy-to-grow herb is its usefulness. Mint makes a delicious addition to meals, a healthful tea, a fragrant potpourri and an insect-deterring spray. This sweet-smelling plant also has soothing and anesthetic properties that make it a great fit for homemade body-care products. To grow mint, get a cutting from a friend or purchase a starter plant at a nursery. (Mint doesn’t reproduce from seed.) Mint can actually be too easy to grow, it sometimes takes over the garden, so give this attractive ground cover plenty of room to spread, or plant it in a container.
Fresh herbs are often ignored when talking about what it takes to make up a healthy diet, but herbs also contain a wide variety of nutrients and offer a significant number of health benefits. Mint has several benefits which include proper digestion and weight loss, relief from nausea, depression, fatigue and headache, treatment of asthma, memory loss, skin care problems among others. Mint, the well-known mouth and breath freshener that is scientifically known as Mentha, has more than two dozen species and hundreds of varieties. It is an herb that has been used for hundreds of years for its remarkable medicinal properties. Here are some of them:
Respiratory Disorders and Coughs
The strong aroma of the herb is very effective in clearing up congestion of the nose, throat, bronchi and lungs, which gives relief for respiratory disorders that often result from asthma and the common cold. As mint cools and soothes the throat, nose and other respiratory channels, it relieves the irritation which causes chronic coughing. This is the main reason why so many balms are based on mint. Unlike the inhalers that are based on aerosols, those with mint as the fundamental component tend to be more effective and eco-friendly as well.
Regular use of mint is very beneficial for asthma patients, as it is a good relaxant and relieves congestion. That being said, using too much mint in this way can also irritate the nose and throat.
In a study in animals, menthol was found to help protect the lining of the stomach from the negative effects of indomethacin and ethanol, giving it a potential role in preventing gastric ulcers associated with alcohol consumption and regular use of painkillers.
Gives you glowing and acne free skin
Mint has a unique property that soothes and calms itchy and infected skin. It has potent anti- inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties which work wonders on acne prone skin, and is often used in a number of cleansers, toners and in some lip balms as well. The strong antioxidants present in mint leaves leaves the skin with a natural glow and rehydrate dull and dry skin. Mint has a high content of salicylic acid which helps prevent pimples, blemishes and even helps get rid of blackheads. The compounds present in mint helps in faster shedding of dull and dry skin which in turn helps avoid clogging of pores resulting in pimple free skin.
Bad Smells of breath
Fresh mint flavour makes it ideal to relieve bad Smells of breath odours. Mint tea made from fresh mint leaves or dried effectively get rid of bacteria that cause bad smells of breath. Mint will also keep the mouth moist by stimulating saliva production.
Helps relieve menstrual cramps and pain
Since mint leaves purify the blood and have an anti-spasmodic effect on the muscles of our body, it is a great remedy to relieve the pain of menstrual cramps. It also relieves nausea associated with the condition. Just brew a hot cup of mint tea and sip it several times through the day. It will make you feel calmer and soothes your uterus too.
Beats morning sickness in pregnant women
Due to the effects it has on one’s stomach, it is a great remedy for expectant mothers. It helps relieve the nausea related to morning sickness by activating the enzymes necessary for digestion. Eating a few leaves or smelling the crushed leaves of mint every morning is a great way for mothers-to-be to overcome this difficult period. A warning though, mothers should be careful not to have this after the baby is born as it is known to affect lactation.
Beats stress and depression
In aromatherapy, mint extract is used to beat stress and rejuvenate the mind. Breathing in the fumes of mint helps relax the body and calm the mind, freeing it of stress. It releases a small amount of serotonin in the brain that also helps beat depression. If you are feeling low, add a little mint leaves or mint extract to your bath water, or use mint extract on a vaporizer to get some relief.
By: Umaru Maryam Hadejia