The use of mint for medicinal purposes dates back thousands of years. According to ancient Greek mythology, mint came to be when Persephone, wife of Hades, became jealous over her husband’s relationship with the river nymph Minthe. In her jealous rage, Persephone turned Minthe into a lowly plant. As Hades didn’t have the power to turn her back, all he could offer was a sweet scent, giving us the aromatic plant we know today.
While you might not buy the story of how this popular herb came to be, there’s no denying the medicinal qualities of this plant. Aside from the obvious oral care advantages, mint provides many health benefits. Check out a few of our favorites below!
- Allergy relief. Extracts from mint leaves have been shown to inhibit the release of histamines, which often spur on the severe nasal symptoms that are associated with hay fever and seasonal allergies. Extracts of peppermint have also been shown to help relieve the nasal symptoms of allergic rhinitis (colds related to allergy). 2
- Digestion and IBS relief. Mint promotes healthy digestion and soothes stomachs in cases of indigestion or inflammation. Studies also have revealed peppermint oil to relieve symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), including indigestion and colonic muscle spasms.3
- Weight loss. Mint stimulates digestive enzymes that absorb nutrients from food and consume fat and turn it into usable energy.1 So by adding mint to your diet, you are increasing the amount of fat that is being consumed and put to use, rather than being stored and contributing to weight gain!
- Fights depression and fatigue. Mint is a stimulus, and when inhaled, it can give a healthy burst of energy. It has also been proven to revitalize and contribute to better overall mental health, combatting both depression and anxiety.
So next time you’re looking to freshen up your favorite springtime beverages or recipes, mix things up and add some mint. Not only will its cooling qualities help keep you cool and relaxed in the warmer weather, but you might just find a few unexpectedly healthy side effects!
If you’re looking for a delicious and healthy beverage that incorporates fresh mint, check out our infused water recipes!
- Ramakrishna Rao, R., Platel, K. and Srinivasan, K. (2003), “In vitro influence of spices and spice-active principles on digestive enzymes of rat pancreas and small intestine.” Nahrung, 47: 408–412.
- Osakabe N1, Takano H, Sanbongi C, Yasuda A, Yanagisawa R, Inoue K, Yoshikawa T. (2004), “Anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic effect of rosmarinic acid (RA); inhibition of seasonal allergic rhinoconjunctivitis (SAR) and its mechanism.” Biofactors, 21(1-4):127-31.
- Merat S1, Khalili S, Mostajabi P, Ghorbani A, Ansari R, Malekzadeh R. (2010), “The effect of enteric-coated, delayed-release peppermint oil on irritable bowel syndrome.” Dig Dis Sci., May;55(5):1385-90.
- Raudenbush B, Koon J, Meyer B, Flower N: “Effects of ambient odor on pain threshold, pain tolerance, mood, workload, and anxiety.” In Second Annual Meeting of the Society for Psychophysiological Research. Washington DC: Society for Psychophysiological Research; 2002.