What’s So Great About Mint?

What’s So Great About Mint?

Kathy Magilton has the week off but since our gardens are bursting with mint we thought this was a good time to bring back this baby. It was originally published on December 4, 2012. Hence all the candy cane references–That Kathy has such a sweet tooth.

‘Tis the season (how did that happen) to be festive and since I could not, in good conscience write “What’s So Good About Candy Canes,” here’s the healthified version. More on how to holiday it up later but first, let’s talk about one of the few green foods that just might get by even the most Grinchy of kid palates. It tastes like gum after all and what’s not fun about gum?!

Here’s some of what Dr. Weil has to say about the healing properties of mint. “Peppermint is a wonderful digestive remedy, especially useful for the upper GI tract, for relief of heartburn, indigestion, nausea, and the like. Brew pure peppermint tea in a covered container to avoid loss of volatile components, and drink as much of it as you like, hot or iced. This herb is also soothing to the lower GI tract. Enteric-coated capsules of peppermint oil have been used for irritable bowel syndrome. Enteric coating resists attack by stomach acid, so the capsules pass into the intestines intact and release their contents there. As with garlic, our familiarity with peppermint makes us less likely to take it seriously as a medicine, but in fact it is one of the most powerful and effective remedies for gastrointestinal complaints. It is also nontoxic.”

For children and teens, mint can be especially useful for everything from the common cold to the tendency of imaginations to, shall we say, wander when focus is called for (I’m looking at you teenaged boys… seriously, just do. your. homework. dude.) “The aroma of peppermint tea can boost mental performance and promote focus, making tea a useful drink for students. Plus, the menthol in a hot cup of herbal tea can help loosen congestion and relieve coughing associated with colds and allergies. Peppermint tea thins the mucus and acts as an expectorant to break up coughs, and can also relieve dry cough and sore throat, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center”. And for adults, “peppermint has a cool, refreshing flavor and an invigorating aroma that can help drivers stay alert, focused and less anxious, says the Indiana State University Department of Human Resources”. And although it certainly doesn’t replace conventional medication, “mint may have benefits in alleviating the symptoms of asthma and allergies due to its anti-fungal effects…peppermint contains a substance called rosmarinic acid, which is thought to have an anti-inflammatory and airway-clearing effect. (Source)

Finally, in a move that proves the internet has made the world a very small place indeed, I went ahead and checked out the “local” newspaper, The Times of India. They say that mint has been an essential part of Indian and Middle Eastern cooking and medicine for centuries and they tout its health benefits from “clearing up skin disorders such as acne and other skin irritations to eliminating toxins from the body and whitening the teeth”. (Source)

So go ahead, add fresh mint to baking or fruit smoothies, sip the tea hot or cold or perhaps you have a strict policy of getting your medicinal herbs in candy cane form. To be honest, I’m pretty sure there’s no actual mint in those bad boys but you can buy the real stuff. Check out Metro Mints water and Meltzer’s Puremints or ask at any health food store. And here’s an easy recipe for mint chocolate chip cookies….your welcome…and I’m sorry. (Source)

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