A calming and relaxing herb is native to Asian and Mediterranean countries. Peppermint was first introduced by the British. A fragrant medicinal plant with a simple stem and rich green leaves has a beneficial effect on the human body, both fresh and dried. The grass is easy to care for, so it is not difficult to grow it.
In total, about 100 plant species are known. The most popular peppermint is black (ideal for medicinal purposes) and white (widely used in perfumery). Lemon balm has a pleasant lemon aroma. It is used in medicine and cooking. The original type of herb is chocolate, which is popular in confectionery due to its sweetish aroma. For the manufacture of essential oils, a long-leaved plant is used, and the curly look is interesting in that it does not contain menthol. Other known varieties are Japanese, garden, bergamot, spike, and water.
Composition and characteristics
The herb with a unique fresh aroma has a disinfecting and relaxing effect. This is due to the content of tannins, manganese, copper, magnesium, and vitamin A. It is used to increase appetite, relieve stress, get rid of depression, as well as to normalize the digestive tract, and relieve frostbite and wounds. The usefulness of the herb is explained by the presence of valuable components in the composition:
- vitamins of groups D, C, B, and A,
- essential oils (ethers + menthol),
- a whole complex of minerals,
- organic acids (acetic, linoleic, valeric),
The essential oils of the product contain more than 50% menthol, thanks to which the herb has its own unique aroma and taste. The substance has antispasmodic and analgesic properties. Ascorbic acid and carotene help to strengthen the immune system, vitamin P relieves puffiness, and betaine improves liver function, providing a choleretic effect. The beneficial plant has a very low glycemic index of 3.
Useful properties and applications
Thanks to the content of vitamins, minerals, menthol, and other valuable substances, the plant promotes health and general well-being. Of the positive effects with regular use, the following are noted:
- strengthening the nervous system;
- relieving pain and spasms;
- normalization of the heart, increasing the elasticity of blood vessels;
- increasing intellectual activity;
- improving digestion;
- acceleration of metabolism.
The herb is useful for fair sex, as it reduces menstrual pain, normalizes hormonal levels, relieves discomfort during menopause, relieves excruciating nausea during pregnancy. The positive effect on a man’s body consists in relieving stress, increasing stamina and tone, increasing potency.
Due to its unique taste and rich composition, the product is widely used in the culinary arts of many nations of the world. With aromatic grass, unusually tasty drinks, desserts, snacks, main courses, and sauces are obtained. The leaves of the plant are added to ice cream, baked goods, cakes, cocktails, and mousses. For culinary purposes, peppermint, chocolate, curly, and apple mint are used. These varieties have a pleasant taste and no bitterness when heated. Fresh leaves are also good for decorating various dishes.
Dried mint is most often used as an ingredient in decoctions, infusions, and teas. The crushed mint powder is an excellent seasoning for fish and meat. It is best to add the herb 5 or 10 minutes before the meal is done. The optimal dosage is half a teaspoon of dry product and no more than 5 g of fresh.
Mint teas are popular, which help to get rid of many health problems, as well as tinctures sold at any pharmacy. By mixing such a product with motherwort or peony tincture, you can achieve a stronger effect from the intake. Mint jam is distinguished by its incredible taste and benefits, which can be used for baking, desserts, or eaten with tea. The shredded herb is boiled with sugar, apple cider vinegar, and water, after which liquid pectin is added to the mixture. Many housewives additionally use food coloring to get a richer green color of the product.
In traditional medicine
A medicinal herb with a fresh scent and taste helps relieve insomnia, drowsiness, irritability, and depression. If you mix herbal tea with valerian root, the effect of drinking will increase several times. Mint tincture with the addition of alcohol is an excellent medicine for headaches in the back of the head or temples. A decoction of 5 tablespoons of herbs and 1 liter of boiling water helps with heart pathologies.
To alleviate the condition with nausea or migraines, you can make a tincture by mixing 100 ml of alcohol (75%) and 20 g of dried mint. Within 14 days, you need to infuse the drink, and then take 20 drops several times a day, diluted in a glass of water. The same tincture, added to hot water, is good for relieving breathing in case of colds, inflammation of the nasopharynx, or bronchitis. Mint inhalations reduce burning and pain, relieve inflammation.
There are many face and body cosmetic products based on mint. The plant is added to shampoos, masks, lotions, creams, and tonics. The herb helps fight excessive sweating, swelling, and tired feet. Regular mint foot baths are excellent prevention of fungal diseases. In addition, the plant is good for hair, it smoothes them, accelerates growth, and gives a natural shine. Effectively rinse your head after using the shampoo with herbal decoction (1L). The product does not require rinsing.
The benefits of mint for the face are to even out the tone, eliminate fine wrinkles, tighten the skin, fight acne. From the herbal decoction, you can prepare lotions for washing, cosmetic ice for rubbing the skin, as well as masks with the addition of other ingredients that enhance the effect of mint. Tinctures, essential oils, and decoctions are effective when exposed to high temperatures, therefore, when going to a sauna or bath, you need to apply a mint mixture to the skin. The plant cleans well the skin, makes them fresh and renewed, removes all toxins.
During pregnancy and breastfeeding
Essential oil, tinctures, and decoctions, which involve internal use, are prohibited during pregnancy. The ban is related to the ability of mint to tone the uterus, which can provoke premature birth or miscarriage due to the contained estrogen. However, a few cups of herbal refreshing tea will only benefit the body, relieving bloating, heartburn, and nausea.
During lactation, it is undesirable to consume a flavored drink, as this can cause a significant decrease in the amount of milk. In any case, a pregnant and lactating woman should consult with a specialist about the possibility of taking and dosages. Pediatricians are allowed to give mint tea to children from 3 years old but provided that the baby is active enough and does not have allergies. Herbal baths are useful for children of all ages. Herbal decoction “mint-calendula-oregano” is good for the baby’s skin, soothes well before bedtime, and relaxes.
Contraindications and possible harm
Mint tea can only cause serious harm if consumed uncontrolled. Of the negative phenomena, pain in the head, heaviness in the region of the heart, heartburn, and sleep disturbances are noted. To avoid this, it is recommended that you drink no more than 4 cups of tea a day. Of the contraindications for admission, there are:
- disruption of the kidneys and liver;
- allergic reaction;
- varicose veins;
- low blood pressure and stomach acidity;
- children up to age 3 years.
When to harvest and how to dry mint
The plant does not require careful care and special growing conditions, so many housewives grow grass in a flower pot. In this case, it is necessary to cut off the leaves during the ripening period several times a month.
Home-grown mint must be properly dried. There are several proven ways:
- Using an oven or dehydrator. The method is effective, but the product loses most of its useful properties.
- Hanging herbal bunches in a well-ventilated dark place.
- Drying washed stems and leaves on a natural cloth, away from sunlight.
You can store fresh leaves in the refrigerator by freezing them in ice cubes. You can defrost the ice at any time and add the herb to your cocktail or tea. Another way to store it is to put the plant in a pot or vase of water. The herb will fill the room with a wonderful aroma. However, with this option, mint will not lose its properties and taste only for a week. In addition, it is imperative to change the water.