Mint or mentha is a famous herb, which is used as a mouth freshener because of its medicinal properties. Mint flavour is present in many things, including toothpaste, chewing gums, mouth fresheners, teas, balms, oils, and shaving gels. Mint is the generic name used for several plant species, such as peppermint and spearmint. These leaves can be added to various foods to enrich the goodness of nutrients. It is also a good source of many antioxidants. Several health benefits of mint come from applying it on the skin, inhaling the aroma or taking it in the form of a capsule. Onlymyhealth spoke to Dr. Anjali Phatak, Director Nutripulse and Senior Clinical Nutritionist, Nutripulse, Jaipur, to know about the health benefits of mint leaves.
Scientifically backed health benefits of mint
Mint is a rich source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, iron, potassium, and manganese. They are nutritious leaves that don't cause many side effects. Here are 6 scientifically backed health benefits of mint:
1. Treats gastrointestinal problems
Mint is a popular herb that people have been using to treat an upset stomach or other gastrointestinal problems since many years. According to a 2019 review, it was found that the use of peppermint oil as a natural remedy is effective for a number of gastrointestinal conditions, such as indigestion, IBS, stomach ache and feelings of sickness and nausea.
2. Relieves cold
Mint contains a good amount of menthol, which can help in relieving cold and congestion, as per a study published in the National Library Of Medicine It can clear your nasal passage, treating the symptoms of cold and flu. Menthol acts as a natural and effective nasal decongestant. A cup of peppermint tea can make you feel relaxed.
3. May improve brain function
Both consumption leaves and inhalation of mint essential oil aroma can provide a wide range of health benefits, including enhanced brain function. According to a study, which was conducted on 144 young adults, it was shown that inhaling the aroma of peppermint oil for 5 minutes before testing can improve your memory.
4. Reduces bad breath
The test tube study results of drinking peppermint tea and chewing fresh mint leaves show that it has antibacterial effects, which can help in getting rid bad breath, and killing the bacteria which causes it. Mint flavoured chewing gums are also a people's choice to eliminate bad breath.
5. May help in breastfeeding
Breastfeeding mothers mostly have sore and cracked nipples, which can make the whole process very painful. Taking mint can ease the difficult symptoms of breastfeeding. Dr. Anjali said, "Mint leaves are also beneficial for pregnant women to deal with morning sickness. It is advised to drink peppermint tea or mint water to treat the symptoms of morning sickness during pregnancy".
6. May reduce stress
Mint can play the role of a natural stimulant and the aroma can help in reducing stress and uplifting your mood. According to a research conducted in 2014, it was stated that including mint in your diet may be an effective way to eliminate feelings of anxiety and depression.