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Mint or Mentha

Introduction:  Mint or Mentha from Lamiaceae family is of approximately 18 varieties distributed across Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia, and North America.  Though there are number of species around the globe, in particular peppermint and spearmint are used as flavouring agent and medicinal uses.  The essential oils of mint are strongly aromatic referred as "herb of hospitality" in Greek mythology and used in herbal medicine.  Peppermint, one of the mints cultivated widely across the globe is herbaceous, rhizomatous, perennial plant that grows to 30–90 cm tall with smooth stems and has square cross section.  The leaves are 4–9 cm long and 1.5–4 cm broad with dark green, reddish veins.  They grow in moist and shaded areas and spread as rhizome which are rich in vitamin E and beta-carotene.

Medicinal Uses:  This medicinal plant is used in many digestive disorders such as analgesic, anaesthetic, antiseptic, carminative, decongestant, expectorant, astringent, stimulant, stomachic, inflammatory diseases, ulcer and other stomach problems.  The peppermint oil has natural pesticides in it and known to repel from pests such as mosquitoes.  Apart from digestive disorder, it has good effect on muscle and nerve pain, acne controller, hair growth and scalp nourishment, respiratory and antiviral property, and also in oral hygiene.  Apart from the above benefits, we should also consider regarding the few allergic reactions one would have such as tremors, unsteady gait, mental confusion, depression, etc.  Also it is not recommended for those with hernia, gallbladder disease, pregnant or breast-feeding.

                       

Pharmacology:  Peppermint oil contains about 35–60% menthol (menthone (15–30%), menthylacetate (4–14%), and small amounts of cineole and other terpenes.  Peppermint oil also contains small amounts of many additional compounds including limonene, pulegone, caryophyllene and pinene.  They are used in hot flushes in women, irritable bowel syndrome, against herpes simplex virus, antimicrobial and anti-plasmid activities, larvicidal and mosquito repellent action, treatment of nervous disorder and mental fatigue, postoperative nausea, and indigestion.  Peppermint oil can be adulterated by cheaper cornmint oils.

                   

Home Recipe-Remedies:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cut piece of lemon
  • 2 pieces of cardamom-crushed
  • 2-3 mint leaves-chopped
  • 1 cup of milk/water
  • 2 spoons of tea leaves
  • 2 spoons of palm sugar.

Method:  Boil the milk/water with palm sugar, cardamom, tea and mint leaves and leave it for 2-3 minutes in medium flame.  Stir it continuously and filter it and can be served immediately hot or with ice.

Uses:  Because of its aroma, it is a good refresher that relieves stress and anxiety.  Also it has a vast therapeutic effect in digestive system as described above.

                                                     

Apart from the above recipe, there are many dishes in Indian kitchen where the mint is used because of aroma as well as its therapeutic effect.

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