Mint is a popular spice, used extensively in Indian cooking. It is an erect, branched perennial herb with underground modified stems. The shoots produced from these are four-angled, and bear oval-shaped leaves which are simple, delicate, thin, dark green in colour and fragrant.
Origin and Distribution
Mint is a native of temperate Europe. Ancient Romans and Greeks knew about this plant. Mint is commonly known as Minthae in Latin. The ancient Greek physician, Saufarsats used mint in the preparation of various carminative medicines. Even Muslim physicians were familiar with this herb. Chinese and Japanese knew this herb as long as two thousand years. Mint is now grown in all parts of the world.
Food Value Minerals and Vitamins
Moisture 84.9% Calcium 200mg
Protein 4.8% Phosphorus 62mg
Fat 0.6% Iron 15.6mg
Minerals 1.9% Vitamin C 27mg
Fiber 2.0% Small amount of Vitamin B Complex
Carbohydrates 5.8% Good amount of Vitamin D and E.
Value per 100gms edible portion Calorific Value – 48
Mint contains plenty of vitamins and is rich in several minerals. The fresh and dried leaves are used for mint sauce and jelly and to flavor foods. Mint oil is used in chewing gum, tooth paste and in confectionery and pharmaceutical preparations.
Natural Benefits and Curative Properties
Mint is much valued as a carminative which relieves gastric discomforts, stimulant, antispasmodic which relieves muscle strain and stomachic for improving appetite. It forms an ingredient of most drugs prescribed for stomach ailments because of its digestive properties. It is good for the liver and helps dissolve gravel in the kidneys and bladder.
Digestive System Disorders
Mint juice is a good appetizer. Fresh leaf juice of mint mixed with a teaspoonful of lime juice and honey is given thrice daily with excellent results in the treatment of indigestion, biliousness, flatulent colic, thread worms, morning sickness and summer diarrhea. According to father Kneipp, the well known Naturopath, “ A cupful of mint tea taken every morning and evening assists the digestion and gives a fresh and healthy appearance. The powder renders the same service, if one or two pinches are taken daily in the food or water.” He also considers that mint, prepared in milk or tea and drunk warm, removes abdominal pains. The seeds of mint are also beneficial in relieving severe abdominal pain due to indigestion in older children. The child may be given a quarter teaspoonful of the seeds to chew and swallow with water.
A teaspoonful of fresh mint juice, mixed with two spoonful of malt vinegar and equal quantity of honey is stirred in four ounces of carrot juice and given thrice daily as a medicated tonic during the treatment of tuberculosis, asthma and bronchitis. It liquefies the sputum, nourishes the lungs, increases body’s resistance against infection and prevents the harmful effects of anti tubercular drugs. It prevents the asthmatic attacks and reduces congestions in air passages.
Fresh leaves of mint, chewed daily is an effective antiseptic dentifrice (tooth paste). The chlorophyll combined with other antiseptic chemicals in the mint, kills all the germs causing harmful odour. It strengthens the gums by providing the requires nutrients and thus prevents tooth decay, pyorrhea , premature fall of the teeth etc., It also keep mouth fresh and improve the sense of taste in the tongue.
Gargling fresh mint decoction with salt cures hoarseness due to shouting or singing loudly. It keeps the voice clear if used before singing. Therefore it is a boom to singers and orators.
Application of fresh mint juice over face every night, cures pimples and prevents dryness of the skin. Juice is also applied over insect stings, eczema, scathes, and contact dermatitis.
Natural Birth Control
Powdered dry mint is regarded as a harmless herb for birth control. It is believed that a women who swallows 10grams of the powder a little before the sexual intercourse will be free from pregnancy as long as she continues this practice. The mint should be dried in a shade, avoid the bright light, then powdered and bottled..