Well-Seasoned: Mint

By Katie Faulkner

Mint is a vining plant that does well in moist soil and moderate sunlight. It tends to spread rapidly, making it hardy but better suited to container gardening. Actually, “mint” is an umbrella term for the mentha plant which includes many varieties such as spearmint and peppermint. With both culinary and medicinal properties, mint is excellent for much more than the garnish in your julep or tea this summer!

Healing Properties of Aromatic Menthol:
The essential oil derived from mint’s freshly crushed leaves contains potent menthol properties that help with a long list of common ailments. Menthol has a soothing and cooling effect and it gives mint its signature taste. You can commonly find essential mint oil in teas, balms, lotions, and creams for both flavor and medicinal purposes.

 


Promote hair growth

A 2014 study by the National Library of Medicine (NLM) and National Institute of Health (NIH) showed that peppermint  (derived from watermint and spearmint)oil had a positive, stimulating effect on new hair follicles.


Alleviate nausea and headaches

The mentholated aroma has powerfully soothing qualities. When applied topically, it offers relief for headaches. When ingested, either in raw-leaf form or in tea, it has a settling effect on an upset stomach.


Increase memory

Another NLM and NIH study showed a correlation between the scent of peppermint and an increase in recall ability and mental alertness.


Relieve muscle and joint pain

Applied topically, the menthol soaks down into joints and muscles to soothe aches and inflammation with its cooling effect.


Help soothe burns and skin irritation

The cooling effect from menthol helps soothe skin irritations caused by anything from sunburn to poison ivy and more.


Clear congestion

The menthol aroma in mint works to clear sinus passages and break up congestion.


Ward off insects

Peppermint oil has been shown to deter spiders, mosquitos, and house flies. Use the essential oil as a spray around baseboards and doorways, or spritz on skin to work as a natural repellent barrier.


Aide digestion

Mint works well as a palate cleanser and prompts digestion by stimulating salivary glands.

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