Mint: 10 properties and health benefits of this plant

Perhaps the most well-known properties of mint are the aromatic and gastronomic properties. However, this plant has many medicinal benefits which 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 mint?

    Mint is an aromatic plant of the genus Mentha. In fact, its scientific name is mint, which comes from the Latin “spica” and means “spear”. It receives this denomination by the shape of its leaves, the stem reaches 30 cm in height.

    In the extract of its leaves are found different natural chemical compounds that have important effects on our body. It is an easy to grow plant of European, Asian and African origin which 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, there are fiber, vitamin A, magnesium, iron and folic acid.

      10 properties of mint

      Due to its many properties, mentha spicata has been called “mint”. Among the most popular are its aromatic and gastronomic benefits, but it also has many medicinal properties. We will see below which are the main ones.

      1. Prevention of diabetes

      One of the properties that has been studied recently is the activity of menthol in regulation of lipids circulating in the blood. In experiments with rats with induced diabetes, consumption of mint extract reduced cholesterol and triglyceride levels, which may be an indication of an important diabetes prevention property.

      2. Antioxidant activity

      It helps to regulate the process of cellular oxidation, due to the bioactive substances present in the mint leaves. This antioxidant action in turn helps prevent inflammatory processes and, in regular intake combined with other healthy lifestyles, can help prevent chronic degenerative diseases (such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease).

      3. Antispasmodic and analgesic effects

      The intake as well as the cutaneous use of peppermint oil has muscle relaxant properties. Turn that on allows you to reduce painful sensations, Question attributed to the action of menthol. Likewise, the analgesic properties are recognized.

      4. Antibacterial property

      Mint has shown different modes of action in bacteria and eukaryotic cells, exhibiting different bactericidal properties. This may be due to the presence of phenolic components which act as prooxidants, which counteract the activity of bacteria. Also, one of the effects of mint leaves has been modulate the activity of the immune systemSo, it has been linked to an antiparasitic effect.

      5. Promotes digestion

      Mint can be effective in relieving stomach aches and indigestion. These are usually caused by the prolonged permanence of food in the stomach, as it passes through the digestive tract.

      In this regard, consuming peppermint oil with meals it has been shown to be effective in increasing the speed of passage of food; which means that it promotes digestion.

      6. Relieve Irritable Bowel Symptoms

      Another of the properties related to the previous point is the relief of the characteristic symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, for example stomach pain and excess gas. Menthol helps relax muscles in the digestive tract, a problem that helps relieve some of these symptoms.

      7. Relaxing properties

      As with other natural herbal teas, mint has important properties as a psychological relaxant. This is because it can cause a noticeable reduction in nervous tension after ingesting hot tea. In addition, menthol oil, used as an ointment, has relaxing and refreshing properties. For the same it is used in important muscular tensions, as in the relief of ramps.

      8. Burn relief

      Related to the previous point, menthol oil ointment (especially when mixed with other elements like olive oil) can relieve mild burns. this it is also linked to its refreshing properties.

      9. Relieve cold symptoms

      It is often believed that mint has a decongestant property. In fact, many of the over-the-counter pharmaceutical treatments contain menthol, a primary extract of peppermint oil. However, menthol itself does not have a decongestant action. The relief effect is caused by the cooling sensation that mint causes when we inhale it.

      10. Invigorating effect

      Inhaling peppermint essential oils has recently been linked to brain function, particularly in short-term information retention. It has also been proposed that improves alertness and decreases fatigueSo, this could be considered an invigorating. However, more studies are needed for these results to be conclusive.

      Bibliographical references:

      • Cristina, S., Pereira, A., Barbalho, SM and Landgraf, É. (2017). Properties of peppermint: a brief review. World Journal of Pharmaceutical and Medical Research, 3 (1): 309-313.
      • 8 health benefits of mint. (2018). HealthLine. Accessed October 12, 2018.Available at https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/mint-benefits.

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