Mint is an herb that is used in summer dishes from lamb to iced tea and even as a garnish on pies.  This little herb is also contains a bevy of benefits.  Mint contains good amounts of Vitamin A, C, B12, folic acid, thiamine and riboflavin, as well as, minerals such as, calcium, copper, fluoride, iron, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium and zinc.

Vitamin A, when converted into the retinal form, is vital for healthy eyes.  It effectively maintains healthy bones and teeth.  Vitamin A fights against oxidative stress within our bodies, thus protecting us from health problems such as cataracts, atherosclerosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and cancer. 

Vitamin C is an important antioxidant and may help to decrease the risk of certain cancers such as colon and rectal cancer.  Mint is known to contain a phytonutrient call perillyl alcohol, which animal studies have shown it prevents the formation of colon, skin and lung cancer.

Vitamin B12 helps in healthy regulation of the nervous system, reducing depression, stress, and brain shrinkage.  It is needed to convert carbohydrates into glucose in the body, thus leading to energy production and a decrease in fatigue and lethargy in the body.  It’s essential for healthy skin, hair, and nails. It helps in cell reproduction and constant renewal of the skin.

Mint brewed in tea or hot water has been a remedy for digestive problems and stomach cramps for centuries. Of course it is a natural breath freshener. It is also a natural diuretic and has been used to relieve IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) and colitis. The oil may reduce and relieve the pain of hemorrhoids.

Its main oil contains menthol which is excellent for the sinuses when inhaled. The oil may also be used as a muscle rub. It is found in many over the counter products from antiseptics to sun burn relief to cough drops and nasal sprays.

Herbalists believe inhaling mint oil incense helps open the mind and calms the nerves. It has some antioxidant properties and can be used as an anti-itch relief for bug bites or other skin irritations.  Some believe that, due to its fluoride content, crushed dried mint leaves can whiten the teeth and remove tough organic stains like wine and coffee.

Mint can be served as a fresh garnish or dried and crumbled into soups, especially cold summer ones. Add a little to your salad or toss it in summer fruit for a fresh flavor enhancer. Brew it in teas and even fresh squeezed citrus drinks.

 

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