Mints are hardy, rapidly growing perennial plants native to Europe and Asia. Peppermint, one of the most widely grown and used forms, is a hybrid of spearmint. It is also a type of mint called water mint and has stronger properties than either of its parent plants. Ancient Greeks and Romans used mint leaves to relieve pain, and mint has been used in natural medicine to alleviate indigestion for nearly as long. Modern scientific studies have uncovered a variety of potential health benefits for mint.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Mint leaves are widely used as a digestive aid. Peppermint leaf oil relaxes the muscular lining of the digestive tract, relieving cramps and gas and alleviating indigestion, according to naturopath Michael T. Murray, author of “The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods.” A double-blind study published in the May 2010 issue of the journal “Digestive Diseases and Sciences” found that enteric-coated peppermint oil significantly reduced abdominal pain and improved the quality of life for patients with irritable bowel syndrome. Participants took one capsule of the mint supplement three times per day for eight weeks. .
Mint may offer anticancer benefits by virtue of its peryllyl alcohol, one of its constituent compounds. A tissue culture study published in the August 2012 issue of the journal “Biochimie” found that peryllyl alcohol may inhibit prostate cancer cell growth and reproduction by destabilizing its DNA structure. The compound may also help prevent liver cancer, according to a study published in the August 2012 issue of the journal “Current Cancer Drug Targets.” Researchers theorize that this and similar compounds, including carotenoids and retinoids, may act by blocking the action of cancer-causing substances in the liver. Further studies are needed to confirm these preliminary results.
Mint contains high levels of rosmarinic acid, an antioxidant that quenches free radicals and reduces allergy symptoms by inhibiting COX-1 and COX-2 enzymes. A study published in the 2004 issue of the journal “Biofactors” found that 50 milligrams of rosmarinic acid per day for 21 days reduced levels of allergy-related white blood cells, called eosinophils, and inflammatory molecules and decreased allergy symptoms significantly. In a laboratory animal section of the study, topical application of rosmarinic acid reduced skin inflammation within five hours. Researchers concluded that rosmarinic acid may offer benefits for the treatment of seasonal allergies due to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects.
Mint may increase the effectiveness of medications used for yeast infections, also known as candidiasis, according to a study published in the March 2012 issue of the “Journal of Medicinal Food.” In the test tube study, mint extract showed a synergistic effect against several species of candida when used together with the antifungal drug metronidazole. Further studies are needed to confirm these preliminary studies. CoxHealth Medical Centers notes that while peppermint oil shows some effectiveness against candida in test tube studies, no clinical trials have been conducted to verify its usefulness in humans.
Juice of the Day:
50% Swiss Chard
1/2 cup Berry Blend (Strawberry, Blueberry, Blackberry)
1 inch size Ginger
1/4 cup Mint Leaves
1 Celery Stalk
1 Red Apple
1/2 cup Almond or Coconut Milk
1 Tbsp Agave
1 Tbsp Granola
1 Tbsp Goji berries
1 Tbsp Chia seed