August 12, 2015
If you've ever explored any of the creeks or rivers in San Diego, you may have spotted wild mint growing along the edges of the water. Mint can be easily identified by its scent, which we should all recognize either from our toothpaste or mint gum! Crush it in your fingers and give it a smell. You should immediately be greeted with that unique, refreshing scent.
Digestion: Mint is known for soothing stomach ailments and being very easy on our system. If you are having indigestion or inflammation, add some mint to your drink, brew as a tea or chew on some leaves. Not only will your breath smell better but your stomach should feel less achy as well.
Nausea & Headache: Mint is also known to help with nausea and motion sickness. Even just smelling it can make your nausea can go down. This is why many medicines have menthol ingredients in them. Balms with a mint base can relieve a headache by rubbing it on your forehead and temples.
Respiratory Disorders and Coughs: There is a reason why most effective medicines have mint in them. The strong aroma of mint is known to effectively combat congestion and phlegm in the nose, throat and lungs while giving relief to respiratory problems and cooling inflammation.
Asthma: Mint is great for asthma patients because it is a good relaxant and relieves congestion. Put some oil in a humidifier and breathe in the fresh air!
Depression and Fatigue: Mint is a natural stimulant and the smell alone can lift your mood. If you are feeling sluggish, anxious, depressed or simply exhausted, steam some mint leaves!
Skin Care and Pimples: While mint oil is a good antiseptic, mint juice is an excellent skin cleanser. It soothes skin and helps to cure infections and itchiness. It is also a good way to reduce pimples. Its anti-pruritic properties can be used for treating insect bites from mosquitoes, honeybees, hornets, wasps, and gnats. I personally use mint every week in a facial steam to sweat out toxins. I've noticed other herbs give me blurry eyes afterwards, but mint does not. It smells great too! Steam your face for 5-10 minutes with a towel over your head over a pot of boiling water. Keep your face at a safe distance though. You do not want to scald your skin, just sweat.
Oral Care: Improving the health of a person’s mouth is a well known benefit of mint. Since it has germicidal qualities and quickly freshens breath, it adds to oral health by inhibiting harmful bacterial growth inside the mouth and by cleaning the tongue and teeth. Mint used to be rubbed directly onto teeth and gums to refresh the mouth and eliminate dangerous forms of growth. In modern times, for the same reason, mint is one of the most common elements in toothpastes, mouthwashes, and other dental hygiene products. The easiest way to get these results is to simply chew on the leaves.
Mint is a very versatile ingredient in cooking. It can be used in soups to add a subtle flavor, chopped into salads both green or fruit, added to meat dishes or infused into drinks. I absolutely LOVE making fresh watermelon/mint smoothies. It is so simple, just add ice and blend! You would be surprised what a refreshing difference one small ingredient can make! I also love making fruit salads with vanilla yogurt and mint leaves added in. Drizzle some honey and sprinkle some cinnamon on top. Yum!