Within the set of aromatic herbs most used in the world both in gastronomy and for the production of personal hygiene items and cosmetics, mint is one of the preferred and most used. This plant can be grouped within the Lamiaceae family and its species are so varied that up to 20 different types of it can be listed.
It is refreshing in terms of taste and smell so its uses, benefits and properties for the body are endless.
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What is peppermint?
Mint is commonly used around the world in cooking, it serves to combine, enhance the flavor and decorate a large number of dishes . However, what many do not highlight are the properties and healing benefits that mint can have for health.
Mint is an aromatic and medicinal plant which has recently stood out for its therapeutic properties that can help treat all kinds of conditions that may be on the skin or in the body.
What other names does it have?
There are many types of mint, which make many people believe that they are the original mint, an example of this is peppermint, which is often confused or compared with mint as such, however peppermint is only a derivative, a hybrid that comes from mint .
These are the most common names that can be given to mint, depending on the region where it is found:
- Aquatic mint.
- Arvensis peppermint.
- Asian mint.
- Australian mint.
- Cervina mint.
- Mint citrate.
- Crispata mint.
- Mint cunninghamii.
- Dahurica mint.
- Diemenic mint.
- Mint gattefossei.
- Mint grandiflora.
- Haplocalyx mint.
- Japonica mint.
- Kopetdaghensis peppermint.
- Laxiflora mint.
- Longifolia mint.
- Pennyroyal mint.
- Mint requienii.
- Sachalinensis peppermint.
- Mint satureioids.
- Mint spicata or spearmint.
- Mint Mint.
- Mint vagans.
- Paguay mint.
Scientific name of mint
Many people know many uses of mint, however not everyone knows what the scientific name of it is, this is because the name of origin or the name under which this plant was discovered is not always known.
Mentha Piperita is the scientific name by which this aromatic plant is known, all the types of mint that exist have their characteristic name that distinguishes them, despite the fact that their benefits and properties remain practically the same.
Where does mint originate from?
It is said that they come from the Mediterranean Region, that is, from Europe and continents such as Asia and Africa. In Spain, for example, they are grown in regions called Pyrenees (from the Pyrenees).
It has its history from the old days when in Egypt they were located in the tombs of their pharaohs. In Greece, they used its refreshing scent in perfumes and soldiers used it for the aphrodisiac results they obtained.
In Rome, they generally used it in the kitchen to prepare exquisite dishes and for their part the Arabs drank tea from this plant to protect their body from insects that could transmit diseases, as well as an aphrodisiac (like the Greeks).
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Origin of the mint tree
Mint is native to central Asia and a certain region of the Mediterranean. Mint can grow up to 1.20 meters. However until now, today it can be found on all continents, that is: Europe, Asia, Oceania, America and Africa.
Peppermint is included in the list of aromatic herbs that have the most diffusion and its refreshing aroma, together with its good properties, has made it one of the most effective options for treating all kinds of problems in the body.
Characteristics of mint
Mint can measure up to 120 cm , it consists of underground rhizomes that can normally invade the entire space where the plant is located. Its leaves have an opposite arrangement and its simple oblong shapes usually have a serrated margin.
The flowers that this plant has are two lips and four lobes with colors that can vary from white to purple. The mint fruit is a capsule that can have up to 4 seeds .
How is mint grown?
Before growing mint, you have to take into account several characteristics that are taken to be able to harvest them at home, first you must take into account what type of mint you want to have in your home.
If you want a strong flavor for your tea, you can use English mint or peppermint . If you have a lot of light and heat throughout the year you can plant Roman mint or crepe mint. Pineapple mint is good to grow alongside other plants, since compared to other types of mint, this one is not as invasive.
The lemon mint gives a refreshing and very citrus flavor to the preparations, so it can be planted very easily. Apple mint has one of the more subtle flavors in blankets and is often used in salads and drinks.
To start planting mint, the following characteristics and conditions must be taken into account:
- Mint as such does not germinate from its seed so easily, only experts in gardening have the ability to achieve these types of plants. That is why it is recommended that small sprouts be achieved since in this way the mint can grow much more easily.
- Peppermint can be found at specialty garden stores or popular farmers markets.
- To choose the pot, cut one centimeter above the stem with sharp scissors if possible.
- You can also choose a mint from those sold in the market, in the fresh food or vegetable and fruit section.
- A glass of water must be filled, which must remain in a warm place and that can have access to the sun. So that the roots and the stem can grow, as time passes and the water decreases, more water must be added little by little.
- When the roots reach a certain length, it can be transferred to a pot.
- You should buy a pot of about 30.5 centimeters in diameter, it is the appropriate size that a pot has so that the plant can grow.
- The pot should have holes in the bottom so that the soil can be well drained. You can add a plate to place it under the pot so that it does not reach the patio.
- The compost in the pot should be sandy, and it should be combined with the soil so that it can have a good balance of nutrients.
- The pot should be 1/3 full with the combination of soil and compost.
- The mint should be placed inside the pot, and the roots should be rolled up if the pot becomes too small.
- Once it has been potted, a little more soil should be added to make the mint stand on its own.
- Some wooden sticks should be inserted at the sides so that as it grows it has a support that does not allow it to fall.
- The soil should be watered until the water reaches the roots.
- The mint soil should always be moistened.
- If the weather is hot, it should be watered several times a day.
- The pot should be in the east, so it can receive at least 7 hours of sunlight. However, when the sun is very strong, it must be protected from it, as well as from the cold.
- Before cutting the mint you must make sure that it is lush and with long leaves.
- It should be cut a centimeter higher than the stem, so that in this way the plant can grow again.
- As the plant grows it should be divided into several pots, so that the leaves can grow normally.
What are its components?
What is used from this herb are its leaves, these are composed of essential oil that has menthol , a flavonoid called thymonine and a few amounts of romaric acid .
It has ascorbic acid ( vitamin C ), acetic and benzoic. Highlighting the important presence of vitamin B (B1, B2 and B3) and the minerals phosphorus, calcium, iron and magnesium.
Among its active principles are L-carvone, which is the one that provides its pleasant smell, limonene, betaburbonen, cis and trans carvil acetate, caryophyllene, 1-8 cineol, dihirocarvol and trans sabinene hydrate.
Recommended daily dose
According to the objective you have when consuming this plant, its amounts or measures vary, but it cannot be consumed in large quantities as it can cause gastrointestinal burning.
Now we discuss the approximate recommended doses if its use is internal :
- Infusion: in a cup with 250 ml of water you can add a teaspoon of dried mint leaves. You can drink two to three cups a day between meals.
- Fluid extract: in an infusion or glass of water sweetened with sugar you can add between 15 to 30 drops and consume three times a day.
- Tincture: count 50 drops and take 1 to 3 times a day.
- Syrup: represents 5% of the fluid extract) and you can consume from 20 gr to 100 gr daily.
- Capsules: being able to consume between one and three daily if they are from 25 mg to 50 mg per capsule.
- Suppositories: 0.1 to 0.4 g per suppository, two a day.
- Dry or wet inhalations: heat half a liter of water and there you can add 5 to 10 drops of mint.
It is advisable to give it with great care in children and young people since they can present a strong and unwanted reaction due to menthol. So they suggest providing them with chamomile as a substitute.
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Properties and benefits of peppermint
As we mentioned before, its functions and benefits are many, but we are going to list all the reasons why you would be interested in consuming this plant:
- It helps in digestion that is carried out slowly and heavily. As it does? It stimulates the stomach so that its gastric juices are secreted in a powerful way and thus obtain a correct digestion. The recommendation is to ingest a mint infusion after a very large meal, in this way the stomach relaxes and I act as it should. Beware of drinking excessively, see the contraindications below.
- It stimulates the body to get rid of annoying gas, relieving heartburn and, in extreme cases, nausea and bloating that can occur after eating.
- The causes of headache (migraine or migraine) are usually very varied and multiple and one of those is usually the digestive system working incorrectly thanks to poor digestion, for this reason mint can allow the relief of these pains.
- For fatigue , that which is mental and physical as well as for those who are in recovery processes, therefore it has a relaxing effect.
- It contributes to the opening of the airways and has both expectorant and decongestant results, thus helping to naturally improve some manifestations of cold, flu, cough (even with spasms), asthma or mild bronchitis. For this it is simple, you just have to prepare a mint infusion and inhale it. NEVER ABOUT CHILDREN OR BABIES
- Antifungal function, which means that it can eliminate fungus present in nails . The way to apply it is topically with a plaster (thick substance) made with mint. In the case of athlete’s foot, you can apply essential oil with gauze directly on the nails.
- Treats some mild skin problems like rashes, dermatitis, eczema, hives, and acne. What you should do to give it a solution is to spread a combination of lemon and mint over the affected area and let it act. In addition, it improves discomfort caused by insect bites and cleans wounds.
- If you have pain that comes from the neurological area, these can improve with the use of mint in the form of an infusion or tincture (internal) or in essential oil (external).
- Any inflammation that occurs due to bumps, strains or sprains can be treated with the application of this plant, as well as for arthritis and any ailment from acute to chronic.
- Bad breath problems , internally cleaning the stomach and on the other hand thanks to its well-known refreshing effect that helps fight the bacteria that cause bad breath and unpleasant odors.
- To combat insomnia there are many herbs that are used for this purpose, but with mint it is enough to prepare an infusion that you can combine with some other plants to achieve the desired effect, although in certain people it can cause the opposite effect
- It has a great coagulant effect , notably helping with the circulation process that allows varicose veins to be reduced. On top you must mix mint with mint to form a paste that is applied on the focus of the ailment.
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Is there a risk of eating it during pregnancy?
We know that this is the most awaited moment for women, to bring a life to the world and enjoy the pleasure of being mothers. But this time is very variable and the symptoms that appear depend on each woman. Nausea, constant mood swings, susceptibilities, dizziness are some of the ailments that must be managed for 9 months. This is when home remedies come into play to alleviate these ills.
In this case, mint tea could provide you with the following benefits:
- Relieves symptoms of nausea , flatulence, colic and the so-called nervous stomach. Besides the cramps.
- It attacks infections and those agents that cause them thanks to the adequate stimulation of the immune system.
- It gives serenity to the body and mind, since it avoids anxiety , irritability and those abrupt in the mood.
- Because it has a large amount of antioxidants, take care of the body from free radicals and their negative effects.
- You improve some stomach disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome.
However, we must be especially attentive with pennyroyal (family of the genus mentha) infusions, since it is contraindicated at the time of pregnancy, lactation, for children under 6 years of age and people who develop respiratory allergies. This herb, among other specific ones, can seriously compromise the birth of the fetus , since it transmits some harmful and toxic substances through the placenta. Its leaves contain monoterpene (compounds derived from isoprene) that are related to the stimulation of abortions.
Always remember to consult with your doctor to tell you if consuming these species of tea and infusions are appropriate during your pregnancy.
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Serves for the stomach
It is used safely and without inconvenience to reduce intestinal and stomach affections , reducing certain stomach pains caused by indigestion and gas. This is possible due to the existence of menthol that stimulates the movement of the stomach.
For something it is recognized as the herb of good digestion for its extensive properties and this consideration dates back to ancient times. It has antispasmodic functions, helps with digestive secretions, reduces colic , heaviness and the burning sensation of the stomach.
As we already know, its traditional form of consumption is through infusions, but currently it is used through aromatherapy massages to help alleviate all the aforementioned symptoms, as well as muscle and headaches.
Cosmetic uses of peppermint
Peppermint can provide a lot of benefits, thus it can be used as a flavoring, allowing the mind to clear and have a greater concentration, it is also proven that it can increase creativity.
It has moisturizing properties on the skin, and in this way it can prevent the existence of some type of premature aging, this can be done by massaging certain areas of the skin combined with a mint cream that can eliminate skin redness that prevents inflammation and acne.
Contraindications, Precautions and Side Effects of Peppermint
- This herb is not recommended for children as the menthol in peppermint can induce a choking sensation. Do not give it to babies in any form.
- Avoid long-term use of peppermint oil as an inhalant.
- Peppermint oil as a topical application should not be used with heat, as it can burn or cause local hypersensitivity.
- Peppermint can reduce the flow of milk if it is taken as an infusion. Some herbalists recommend avoiding the use of the oil during pregnancy.
- Peppermint can cause nausea and loose stools.
- When it comes to a gallbladder situation, the use of the herb can cause a sudden and unwanted contraction of the gallbladder, either causing an acute attack or, in the worst case, lodging the stone in the duct. It is important to consult with your GP if you decide to use this herb to treat gallstones.
- Some people are allergic to menthol, which is a component of peppermint. If you are considering using peppermint for its benefits, make sure you are aware of any allergies.
- Drinking too much peppermint tea can cause skin irritation, redness (thickening of the skin), headache, irritated mucous membrane, and heartburn.
- Some people taking peppermint capsules may experience allergic reactions such as throat closure, skin irritations such as inflammation, hives or rashes, or breathing problems.
- Drinking peppermint tea during pregnancy can lead to miscarriage as it can stimulate uterine blood flow.
- Peppermint / spearmint oil should not be used in patients with gastric reflux or active stomach ulcers.
- Peppermint oil can influence the metabolism of certain drugs (including felodipine and simvastatin) and increase adverse reactions.
- People with diabetes should not avoid drinking peppermint tea as it can lower blood sugar levels.
- If you have high blood pressure and are taking medication, peppermint tea may lessen the effects of herbal remedies or prescription drugs to lower your blood pressure.
- People suffering from achlorhydria condition should avoid using enteric-coated peppermint. The enteric coating in peppermint can soon dissolve within the digestive system.
Types of mint
More than 20 types of mint make up this family, some more used than others, but we will mention the most common and well-known:
- Peppermint: it can also be called brandy or American mint and one of the most popular. It can occur in humid areas of the United States, but its origin comes from Europe. Its flowers are purple and begin to appear in summer through autumn. Its form of production is to cultivate them, collect them and dry them in order to then be able to give them the desired use. This is where they make peppermint oil.
- Spearmint : whose name can vary to mentha spicata, brown or lamb mint. It has a great resemblance to peppermint, however its difference is that the leaves do not have stems, they are also narrow. Likewise, its appearance comes from Europe and is cultivated in the United States. To produce oil, the entire plant is grown.
- European pennyroyal : you can differentiate two types of this plant that have the same name, one is the European pennyroyal called mentha pulegium and the other the American pennyroyal called hedeoma pulegiodes. Of the first, its leaves are used to make puddings that is why it is also called pudding grass. It has medicinal purposes by making oils that cannot be taken because they are harmful to the human body.
- Mastranzo: grows in Europe, but is also seen in Asia and can also be called round-leaved mint. It can withstand high cold climates, such as frost, and its dried leaves are used to flavor foods or make herbal teas that improve fever or headaches. In addition, if it is transformed into oil it can be used as a repellent for rodents.
- Wild mint: it can also be called mentha arvensis, it has square-shaped stems, pink, purple and white flowers and its use is basically related to the production of oil.
- Aquatic: equally usable for making tea and flavoring food.
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Since ancient times it has been associated with mysticism and its use is destined to beauty products, personal hygiene such as mouthwashes and mouth creams and has even been categorized in international haute cuisine . It is carefully chosen for its different flavor and is even considered the jewel of plants.
A few tablets made with this type of mint can freshen the breath when eating certain foods that leave a strong or unpleasant smell, an example of this is fish or decomposed meats that produce ferments in the stomach.
Among many of its properties we find: it disappears the acidity and stomach gases produced by foods in poor composition. Deflate the stomach if viruses, bacteria or certain microorganisms are present, since it eliminates them just by consuming a mint infusion.
Because its cultivation occurs in the wild, it grows in places where contamination is practically zero and is far from those elements that damage it.
It is the already mentioned peppermint, it has an incredible aroma and recognized by people who recommend growing it at home instead of buying it to enjoy it with better pleasure.
Its family is the labiates and it results from a mixture of two other different mints. This makes the black mint seed difficult to germinate, this is the reason why it is grown vegetatively. Its stem is square with leaves of an intense green tone and a little dark purple, which is why it receives its name, black mint.
It is collected at the beginning of its flowering, but if it receives water and is watered constantly, it is very possible that it will re-bloom.
Is peppermint the same as peppermint?
They are herbs that are closely associated and can be confused , but their taste is different. Let’s see what its differentiating characteristics are:
- Highly recognized for its refreshing aroma and use in cooking, gastronomy and production in the pharmaceutical and oral care industries.
- It prevents various types of bacteria from being produced, including those that cause intestinal ulcers (such as Helicobacter pylori)
- Deflames and helps clean the respiratory tract.
- Helps assimilate certain foods.
- Recommended to improve disorders such as irritable bowel.
- It has vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, C and E. In addition to phosphorus, calcium, potassium, magnesium, biotin, among many other nutrients.
- Perfect for infusions and adds flavor to various dishes.
- Calms digestive disorders such as heartburn, as it acts directly on your muscles.
- It works to kill certain bacteria.
- It reduces flatulence and allows for a regulation of intestinal transit.
- It can be used for burns or as a muscle relaxant if combined with olive oil to prepare an ointment.
- Among its nutrients are: vitamins A, B2 and C, fiber, magnesium, iron, calcium, copper, etc.
Does peppermint make you sleepy?
On the contrary , this herb is widely used to reduce heart palpitations, so if you want to prepare a hot mint tea you will be able to fall asleep safely. In addition, it improves some effects produced by depression and reduces respiratory problems, so this will make you sleep better.
Medicinal recipes with mint
There are a large number of remedies that can be made with the help of mint, these are the easiest and most efficient to prepare.
- For gases: 50 grams of hyssop should be mixed with 50 grams of orange blossom plus 100 grams of mint. Then a teaspoon of this mixture is extracted and added to a cup of boiling water. Then let it infuse for about 10 minutes and strain. It should be taken after each meal.
- Improve digestion: a cup of water is boiled for 5 minutes, then 2 tablespoons of fresh mint leaves are added. Strain and drink slowly, it can be sweetened with a little honey.
- Toothache: 10 grams of mint leaves are poured into a glass of water that can be boiling. Cover and cool, gargle to relieve toothache.
- Vomiting: add 1 teaspoon of dried mint leaves to a cup of boiling water. it is strained and should be consumed while it is still hot.
- Bad breath: 30 grams of fresh mint leaves must be macerated together with 1 liter of white wine, let it marinate for two days. After this time, add water, chamomile, rosemary and mint. You should drink at least two cups a day.
- Liver problems: 20 grams of boldo are poured along with 20 grams of chamomiles, 10 grams of mint, 10 grams of lemon balm, 10 grams of rosemary in a liter of boiling water. Then all the mixture should be covered and allowed to rest, strain and then drink 4 cups a day.
- Flu: ½ liter of boiling water should be poured into a tablespoon of a mixture of echinacea, burdock and mint leaves. Cover and leave to rest for about 15 minutes. It should be strained and then you can drink one or two glasses a week.
Homemade recipes with mint
Countless recipes and combinations can be made with this plant and here we will propose some of them:
- For burns : combine mint leaves with water and honey in equal proportions. Wet a gauze with this preparation and place it on the affected area.
- Toothaches: heat water (until it boils) and add a tablespoon of mint leaves.
- For stress: mix linden flowers, valerian, mint, orange and chamomile and add a tablespoon to a cup of boiled water. Drink 2 cups per day.
- For dry cough: 2 tablespoons of mint in a cup of hot water. Consume warm for two or three times a day.
- For dark circles: take a handful of mint leaves (washed) and place around the eyes.
It is also widely used for the preparation of desserts, ice creams, cold teas, as dressings to salads and pastry creams.
Mint, ginger and lemon
Our body and entire organism need to be detoxified from time to time of all those elements that the body itself produces and those that are produced by having bad eating habits, by pollution, chemicals, etc., they harm us and impair the proper functioning and health.
To get rid of these toxins, it is recommended to drink a drink based on lemon, mint, ginger and cucumber. It is very simple to prepare, it also helps you lose weight.
- 1 lemon,
- 1/2 cucumber,
- 1/2 ginger,
- Fresh mint
- 1 glass of water.
Wash all the ingredients well, cut into wheels with their shell and put them in the glass of water. While it sits overnight, you can take it in the morning with honey or ice if you wish.
Nutritional information for peppermint
In general, the nutritional distribution of this herb is distributed as follows:
- Calories: 99 Kcal / 100gr
- Proteins: 3.7 gr / 100gr
- Fats: 0.9 gr / 100gr
- Carbohydrates: 14.8 gr / 100gr
- Glycemic Index: N / A
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Kathie Sand always saw the world of beauty as the terrain on which to build her professional career, a goal that was clear to her when she was only 15 years old. Her great concern to expand knowledge led her to settle in Paris where she studied hand in hand with the best beauty professionals and with the most advanced techniques for skin care.