Probably the most well-known properties of mint are the aromatic and gastronomic ones. However, this plant has a great deal of medicinal benefits that have been exploited for centuries.
In this article you will find several properties of mint, as well as some of the main characteristics of this plant .
What is peppermint?
Mint is an aromatic plant of the genus Mentha. In fact, its scientific name is Mentha Spicata, which comes from the Latin &amp;quot;spica&amp;quot; and means &amp;quot;spear&amp;quot;. It is named after the shape of its leaves, the stem of which is 30 cm high.
In the extract of its leaves are found different natural chemical compounds that have important effects on our organism . It is a plant that is easy to grow and has European, Asian and African origins. It has been used for several centuries, especially for its medicinal properties.
It is also a plant that can easily be acquired and added to the daily diet. Among the nutrients and minerals it contains are fiber, vitamin A, magnesium, iron and folate .
10 properties of mint
Due to the multiple properties it possesses, the mentha spicata has been named &amp;quot;mint&amp;quot;. Among the most popular are its aromatic and culinary benefits, however, it also has many medicinal properties. We will see below what the main ones are.
1. Diabetes prevention
One of the properties that has been investigated recently is the activity of menthol in the regulation of lipids circulating in the bloodstream . In experiments with rats with induced diabetes, the intake of the mint extract reduced cholesterol and triglyceride levels, which may indicate an important property of diabetes prevention.
2. Antioxidant activity
It helps to regulate the process of cellular oxidation, due to the bioactive substances present in the leaves of the mint. This antioxidant action allows in turn to prevent inflammation processes and, in a regular intake combined with other healthy lifestyles, may help prevent chronic degenerative diseases (such as diabetes and cardiovascular diseases).
3. Antispasmodic and analgesic effects
The intake and also the cutaneous use of mint oil has properties as a muscle relaxant. This in turn allows to cushion painful sensations , which is attributed to the action of menthol. For the same reason, it has analgesic properties.
4. Antibacterial property
Mint has shown different modes of action on bacteria and eukaryotic cells, exhibiting different bactericidal properties. This may be due to the presence of phenolic components that act as pro-oxidants, which counteract the activity of the bacteria. In addition, one of the effects of mint leaves has been to modulate the activity of the immune system , so it has been related to antiparasitic effect.
5. Promotes digestion
Peppermint can be effective in relieving stomach discomfort and indigestion. The latter is usually caused by food remaining in the stomach for a long time during its passage through the digestive tract.
In this sense, the intake of mint oil with meals has proved effective in increasing the speed of passage of food ; which means that it favours its digestion.
6. Relieving symptoms of irritable bowel
Another property related to the previous point is the relief of the symptoms characteristic of irritable bowel syndrome, for example stomach pain and excess gas. Menthol helps to relax the muscles in the digestive tract, which helps to relieve some of these symptoms.
7. Relaxing properties
As with other natural infusions, mint has important properties as a psychological relaxant. This is because it can provoke a notable reduction in nervous tension after ingesting it in a hot tea. Likewise, menthol oil, used in the form of an ointment has relaxing and refreshing properties. It is therefore used for important muscular tensions, such as the relief of cramps.
8. Burn relief
Related to the previous point, menthol oil ointment (especially when mixed with other elements such as olive oil) can relieve minor burns. This is also related to its cooling properties .
9. Relieve symptoms of a cold
Mint is often thought to have a decongestant property. In fact, several of the pharmaceutical treatments available over the counter contain menthol, a primary extract of peppermint oil. However, menthol itself does not have a decongestant action. The relief effect is caused by the refreshing sensation of mint when inhaled.
10. Invigorating effect
Recently, inhalation of peppermint essential oils has been linked to brain function, especially in short-term information retention. It has also been proposed that improves alertness and decreases fatigue , so it could be considered a stimulant. However, more studies are needed to make these results conclusive.
- Cristina, S., Pereira, A., Barbalho, S.M., and Landgraf, É. (2017). Properties of mentha piperita: a brief review. World Journal of Pharmaceutical and medical research, 3(1): 309-313.
- 8 health benefits of mint. (2018). HealthLine. Retrieved October 12, 2018. Available at https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/mint-benefits.