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Mint: The Fresh Maker

Apr 18, 2008
Mint (menthe) has a long and rich history. It could be found in monastery gardens in the Middle Ages. It was used to whiten teeth and cure mouth sores. The Romans believed it cured headaches and improved intelligence.

There appears to be at least thirty species of mint, and all can be used in a number of herbal remedies that are safe and effective. Mint has become so common that some people even forget its history as an herbal remedy. Up until the 17th century, herbalists used most varieties of mint in more or less the same way. But now herbalists have expressed definite preferences toward some kinds of mint. Today it appears that peppermint has gained favor with most herbalists. Peppermint is indeed the preferred mint variety in the West, but in China it appears that field mint has prevailed in popularity. Another popular mint is garden mint, which is sometimes also referred to as spearmint. Although spearmint can be used in much the same way as peppermint, it is mostly recommended for children.

Traditional Uses

The aerial parts of the mint plant are used to create herbal remedies. The leaves and other aerial plants of mint plants are well known for their ability to relax the muscles and stimulate bile flow in the digestive tract.

Mint is well known for its ability to help treat digestive ailments. Mint is often used to treat indigestion, colic, flatulence, and other similar conditions. Mint is also thought to help reduce the feeling of nausea and can be taken to treat motion sickness. Mint can also be used to promote sweating in individuals suffering from fevers and influenza. In traditional Chinese medicine, mint is known as bo he. It is thought of as a cooling remedy for the flu and head colds. It can also be used to treat headaches, eye inflammations, and a sore throat.

Other Medicinal Uses

One of the most popular ways to take mint is as an essential oil. Peppermint oil, for instance, is known to contain large amounts of menthol. Taken in large doses, peppermint oil is well known for its cooling, calming and analgesic properties. It is also thought to be a good herbal remedy for treating fevers, skin complaints, migraines and headaches. Peppermint essential oil is also believed to be antibacterial, and it is often used to help combat minor infections. Peppermint oil can also be used to inhale by patients suffering from severe nasal congestion.

However, patients should take care to avoid the prolonged use of peppermint oil as an inhalant. If breathed in for too long, mint has been known to irritate the mucous membranes. It should not be given to very young children directly. Peppermint has also been known to reduce the flow of milk, so nursing mothers should use extra caution when dealing with mint.

Food and Drink

An infusion of mint leaves can be used to create a hot tea. Mint tea is one of the best and easiest ways to consume this helpful herb. Mint can also be used in infuse flavor into ice cream, chocolate, and other deserts.

Mint can be harvested at any time and will be at its fullest flavor when fresh. Once mint has been dried it will lose some of its flavor. The herb can be stored for up to a year and can also be placed in a plastic bag and stored in the freezer for a year.
About the Author
Scott Meyers is a staff writer for Its Entirely Natural, a resource for helping you achieve a naturally healthy body, mind, and spirit. You may contact our writers through the web site. Follow this link for more information on Herbal Remedies.
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