What is Mint Leaves
Mentha, or commonly known as mint leaves, is an herb from the genus Lamiaceae. There are roughly 20 species in the mint family including peppermint and spearmint, the two most common types. Mints are herbs that can be found in different environmental conditions, but they thrive best in moist areas. The mint family are among the most popular herbs due to their cooling properties. Mints provide a unique fragrance and mildly sweet flavor that has a cool aftertaste.
Health Benefits of Mint Leaves
1. Aids in Proper Digestion
Mint is a flavor enhancer, and its pleasant aroma makes food even more appetizing. Eating fresh mint leaves or any dish with this herb can help stimulate the salivary glands in your mouth and trigger the glands responsible for increased bile secretions that aid in faster digestion. According to the University Of Maryland Medical Center, mint enables more efficient bile flow and helps relax the muscles of your digestive tract. This way, digestion is enhanced from stage 1- oral digestion of carbohydrates via the action of amylose/amylase.
2. Treats Dizziness, Nausea, and Headache
Mint has anesthetic and anti-inflammatory qualities that can effectively treat dizziness, nausea, and headache. Mint can be taken in capsule form, tea, or by simply crushing mint leaves and inhaling its aroma. The Journal of Advanced Nursing has mentioned the effects of mint leaves as a nausea reliever in post-surgery situations. Likewise, mint leaves help relieve fever, as its cooling properties refreshes the body and dissipate the heat caused by the fever.
3. Improves Dental Health
Cosmetic manufacturers incorporate mint in various oral care products because of its benefits to dental health.
Chewing on mint leaves is helpful in alleviating pain caused by toothaches. Mint has antiseptic properties that treat infections as well as a chemical called chlorhexidine; a potent anti-microbial compound which prevents bacteria that cause tooth decay and bad breath. Many teeth whitening products also contain mint as one of their primary ingredients.
4. Colic in Infants
Mint is as beneficial to infants as they are to their mothers. Mint leaves contain simethicone which calms the baby and prevents it from crying inconsolably for hours. Simethicone is an anti-gas agent included in many infant colic drops.
5. Improves Blood Circulation
Mint provides stimulating effects to the body. As soon as you inhale the vapor of boiled mint leaves or its essential oil, you will get a sudden increase in your pulse rate and blood circulation. This effect causes your body to also increase its metabolism as well as oxygenation of the brain
6. Skin Care
Dull skin is due to the accumulation or delayed turnover of dead skin cells. Mint has Vitamin E and Vitamin D which help promote skin rejuvenation. Plus, it has salicylic acid which is useful in addressing certain skin conditions and fungal infections. Salicylic acid also helps hasten the turnover of dead skin cells.
7. Promotes Eye Health
Mint also has vitamin A which is vital in maintaining the proper function of the eyes. Adequate intake of this vitamin is crucial for the formation of a photoreceptor pigment present in the retina and maintenance of epithelial tissues. Deficiency of this vitamin results in xerophthalmia, night blindness, and other eye disorders such as premature.
8. Helps Weight Loss
Mint stimulates the digestion of fat. It acts as a trigger for digestive enzymes to quickly absorb food nutrients