11 Health Benefits of Mint

Mint leaves (Mentha cordifolia), is not only a great breath freshener (all those minties…) but has many health benefits too. Here are some of them:

1. Digestive System
Mint calms the stomach! It is packed with antioxidants and phytonutrients that do wonders for your stomach. The menthol present in mint helps the enzymes necessary for digestion and helps the process along, by acting on the smooth muscles of the stomach. The aroma of mint activates the saliva glands and the glands that produce digestive enzymes. As a result, our digestion becomes better. Pour warm water into the glass along with a few leaves of fresh mint. Take a few moments and enjoy mint tea to for stomach pain and indigestion.

2. Nausea and headaches
A refreshing mint scent is a powerful medicine to treat nausea. Smelling the mint oil or fresh mint leaves relieves or reduces nausea. When applied topically, headaches will also be reduced.

3. Respiratory disorders
Mint has a very strong aroma which helps open up the airways and allows relaxed breathing. It is also an expectorant and helps the expulsion of phlegm, allowing the patient to recover faster. Its anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties help relieve inflammation along the respiratory tract. If you are suffering from a cough, drop one drop of mint extract in warm water and inhale the fumes through the mouth and push out the steam through your nose. The use of mint on a regular basis can help people with asthma because it can provide relaxation and help relieve breathing.

4. For a glowing and acne free skin
Mint being pitta pacifying, soothes and calms itchy and infected skin. It has potent anti- inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties which do wonders for acne prone skin. Mint is useful ingredient in cleansers, toners and in some lip balms as well. The strong antioxidants present in mint 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 help in faster shedding of dull and dry skin. This helps avoid clogging of pores, resulting in pimple free skin. Mint juice is great when used as a face mask. Mint is also good for mosquito bites.

5. Oral health
This is the most widely known benefit of mint leaves. Mint leaves are packed with anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. That is why they are great for your oral health. Mint kills bacteria in the mouth preventing tooth decay, beats bad breath and keeps your tongue and teeth naturally clean. Because of mint’s ability to override the germs and inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria in the mouth, chewing mint routinely will keep breath always fresh.

6. 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. Mothers should be careful not to have this after the baby is born as it is said to affect lactation, though in Ayurveda, a special tincture, “ark pudina” is used for increasing lactation for nursing mothers.

7. Boosts immunity
Mint leaves are packed with nutrients such as calcium, phosphorous, vitamin C, D, E and small amounts of vitamin B complex. All these compounds put together improve body’s immune system, providing resistance for infections and inflammation.

8. Stress and depression
In aromatherapy, mint extract is used to for stress and to rejuvenate the mind. Breathing in the aroma 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. It keeps you relaxed: In a NASA-funded study, researchers found that during a stressful commute, subjects who smelled peppermint decreased their anxiety and fatigue levels by about 20%.

9. Helps fight cancer
Mint has a potent phytochemical that can prevent various types of cancers. Called perillyl alcohol, the phytonutrient has shown the capability of preventing skin cancer, colon cancer and lung cancer in animal studies. Its benefits in this particular area are still under study for humans.

10. Weight Loss: controls what you eat
Aside from all the other health benefits of mint, it also can help in your efforts to lose weight in a healthy way!  If you like peppermint tea then try and rotate that with a green tea drink as both speed up digestion and thus help you burn more calories. Mint is a stimulant, and stimulates the digestive system to help absorb nutrients from food and consume fat and turn it into usable energy. Therefore, by adding mint to your diet, you are increasing the amount of fat that is being consumed and put to use, rather than being stored and contributing to your weight gain!

11. Lower Blood Pressure:
The potassium contents present in the mint leaves help to lower down blood pressure and also regulate the pulse rate. According to Ayurveda mint leaves contribute significantly to reduce blood pressure. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, consuming peppermint tea regularly may help to lower your blood pressure, although the evidence according to them is still very preliminary.