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Mint is also known as mentha, mint refers to a genus or group of around 15 to 20 perennial plant species, with the most popular types being peppermint and spearmint. This versatile herb has been valued for centuries not only for its elegant fragrance, but also for its many medicinal benefits.
Mint is known for its sweet-smelling aroma and cooling flavour and also offers potent health benefits. Its high antioxidant content is just one of the many distinct characteristics that make mint so beneficial for your well-being. This herb actually contains vitamins A, B2 and C, as well as minerals like zinc, calcium, copper and magnesium.
Menthol, the compound in mint leaves that gives them their distinct aroma, also has analgesic, local anesthetic and counterirritant properties. With its impressive array of nutrients and health-promoting properties, it's no wonder that mint is one of the most beneficial herbs there is today. Here are just some of the potential benefits that you can be provided from using mint leaves:
Rosmarinic acid, an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent in mint, has been studied for its potential in helping to relieve seasonal allergy and asthma symptoms. This antioxidant works by inhibiting COX-1 and COX-2 enzymes.
According to a study published in Biofactors journal, taking 50 milligrams of rosmarinic acid daily helped reduce the levels of inflammatory molecules and eosinophils or allergy-related white blood cells, leading to significantly decreased symptoms.
This herb has been used for thousands of years as a remedy for stomachache and indigestion, as it helps increase bile secretion and encourages bile flow, leading to easier and speedier digestion. Peppermint in particular has been found to relieve pain and discomfort caused by gas and bloating. It may also help alleviate gastric ulcers and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
The refreshing scent of mint provides quick relief for nausea and, in fact, it is even added to soothing balms intended for nausea. However, simply crushing (and inhaling) fresh mint leaves may provide the same effect. Mint may also soothe the inflammation and temperature rise associated with headaches and migraines.
Mint cools and soothes the throat, nose and other parts of the respiratory system and helps alleviate congestion brought on by coughs and colds.
If you are feeling depressed, anxious, sluggish or exhausted, mint may be useful. It was also found to help increase pain threshold in humans.
If used topically, mint can provide a number of benefits because of its calming and cooling properties. It may aid in relieving insect bites, rashes, sunburn and other skin ailments. It also works as a breath freshener — chew a few mint leaves and you'll notice the difference immediately.