One not only extremely popular but also infinitely loved herb – this is the mint (Mentha piperita, the spicy mint in Latin). It is surely the first synonym of the word “ freshness “ that at least 7 out of 10 questioned in an imaginary poll would give. Gums, sweets, toothpaste, refreshing drinks – the mint is everywhere around us. What is the winter without the mint tea or the summer without the breathtaking taste of mojito?
The mint is a herbaceous plant belonging to the Labiate family. Its aerial parts and more precisely the leaves are used with therapeutic or prophylactic purposes. They are rich in essential oils, mainly menthol. The pleasant aroma and the refreshing qualities are due exactly to it .
The ancient Romans found the great quality of the mint to give freshness and liveliness . That’s why they decorated the halls for feasts and ceremonial events with mint branches.
Today we know that the mint (and the menthol) can do much more than that. Here are some of its most popular uses:
- It acts against pain, nausea, relieves spasms, awakens the appetite. It is applied in case of gallstones, and problems with the bile duct. That’s why the chefs love the mint – not only because it gives a unique taste and aroma or because it complements the taste and flavor of the other products but because it facilitates the absorption of some foods that are more difficult to digest (for example the beans).
- It helps the treatment of bronchites and diseases of the upper respiratory tract. The inhalations with menthol are very useful in cases of cold, cough, inflammation of the sinuses.
- It reduces the nervous tension, the stress, the mental fatigue. According to the traditional medicine it is very useful in case of trivial headache or attack of migraine.
- The menthol is appreciated in the aromatherapy for its ability to soothe and refresh at the same time.
- The menthol is a regular ingredient of the products for local application against joint and muscle pain. It cools the painful areas, refreshes and increases the tone. It has an analgesic action, helps to reduce inflammations and swelling.