Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Powerful Antioxidant You Can Eat, Drink or Apply to Your Skin

Food
Peppermint is a good source of manganese, copper and vitamin C. Shutterstock

By Nicole D'Alessandro

If you've ever grown mint then you know it spreads and spreads, and if not contained can easily take over a bed or garden. While my peppermint is contained, it is still… plentiful. My CSA share each week also includes a healthy does of peppermint, spearmint, orange mint, chocolate mint…


In a word, I am awash with mint.

So I've been thinking, other than delicious iced tea, how should I use all this mint? And just how healthy is it?

Turns out this perennial herb has been used since antiquity for medicinal, aromatic and culinary properties. Ancient Egypt, Greek and Rome used mint as an herbal medicine thousands of years ago and dried peppermint leaves, carbon dated back to 1,000 BC, have even been found in Egyptian pyramids.

With 20+ varieties, spearmint and peppermint are the most commonly grown today. Peppermint is a good source of manganese, copper and vitamin C. Mint also contains vitamins and minerals including vitamins A, B-6, C, E, and K, beta carotene, folate and riboflavin and the minerals calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium and manganese.

Fresh mint is a powerful antioxidant. Peppermint, for example, contains perillyl alcohol, which might be helpful in stopping the spread of cancer, and rosmarinic acid, which can help prevent and treat some allergies.

Mint contains the compound menthol, which is cooling when ingested, inhaled or applied to the skin.

Some of the many health benefits offered by eating or drinking mint include:

  • Promotes digestion by activating digestive enzymes and salivary glands
  • Soothes upset stomachs
  • Treats and relieves pain caused by irritable bowel syndrome
  • Helps lower blood pressure and regulate pulse
  • Eliminates bad breath and fights cavity-causing bacteria in the mouth
  • Helps with depression

Mint is also valued for treating a variety of conditions such as infantile colic, tuberculosis, shingles pain, breastfeeding pain and radiation damage.

There are the potential risks to consider in using mint:

  • Do not use mint in an attempt to soothe digestive issues if your symptoms are related to a gastroesophageal reflux disease, as it could worsen the condition.
  • Use caution with mint products if you have or have had gallstones.
  • Peppermint oil, if taken in large doses, can be toxic. Pure menthol should not be taken internally.
  • Do not apply mint oil to the face of an infant or small child, as it may lead to spasms inhibiting breathing.
  • Speak with your doctor to determine whether your medications could interact with mint or mint oil.

If you do not enjoy the potent flavor of mint, consider the many other uses for this easy to grow plant:

  • Keeps your garden buzzing with beneficial insects, including honeybees
  • Repels bugs like ants and flies
  • Essential oil can be a room freshener and added to homemade cleaning products
  • Keeps pets flea-free
  • Helps with hiccups
  • Peppermint steam helps fight infection and eases sinus congestion
  • Essential oil applied to the temples relieves headaches
  • Soothes aching feet and tired muscles
  • Eases sunburn pain and discomfort from insect bites
  • When inhaled, reduces nausea, including chemotherapy-induced nausea, and improves memory

So it seems to me that mint is the refreshing, plentiful gift that keeps on giving. If you have the same “problem" in your garden, here are some recipes to enjoy:

Cucumber, mint and apple coolers

Sugar snap peas with mint

Cucumber raita

Lemon-mint and tabbouleh salad

Mint julep pineapple

Roasted beets with cumin, lime and mint

What's your favorite way to use mint?

You Might Also Like

What to Avoid in Toothpaste, and How to Make Your Own

10 Healing Herbs and Spices for Optimum Health

Foods That Help or Hinder Sleep

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter


Democrats in the House and Senate have introduced legislation to ban some of the most toxic pesticides currently in use in the U.S. D-Keine / E+ / Getty Images

By Jake Johnson

Democrats in the House and Senate on Tuesday introduced sweeping legislation that would ban some of the most toxic pesticides currently in use in the U.S. and institute stronger protections for farmworkers and communities that have been exposed to damaging chemicals by the agriculture industry.

Read More Show Less
A British Petroleum petrol station on March 10, 2017, in Ciudad Satelite, Naucalpan de Juarez municipality, Mexico State. The company will reportedly start to offer electric vehicle recharging stations at its retail gasoline stations. RONALDO SCHEMIDT / AFP via Getty Images

BP, the energy giant that grew from oil and gas production, is taking its business in a new direction, announcing Tuesday that it will slash its oil and gas production by 40 percent and increase its annual investment in low-carbon technology to $5 billion, a ten-fold increase over its current level, according to CNN.

Read More Show Less
Recycled paper at the Northern Adelaide Waste Management Authority's recycling site piles up in Edinburgh, Australia, on April 17, 2019. Brenton Edwards / AFP / Getty Images

By Alex Thornton

The Australian government has announced a A$190 million (US$130 million) investment in the nation's first Recycling Modernization Fund, with the aim of transforming the country's waste and recycling industry. The hope is that as many as 10,000 jobs can be created in what is being called a "once in a generation" opportunity to remodel the way Australia deals with its waste.

Read More Show Less
President Trump displays his signature after signing The Great American Outdoors Act on August 4, 2020. The White House

The Great American Outdoors Act is now the law of the land.

Read More Show Less
The aftermath from the 2017 Tubbs Fire in Santa Rosa, which killed 22 people in California's Sonoma and Napa counties. The National Guard / Flickr / CC by 2.0

By Andrew J. Whelton and Caitlin R. Proctor

In recent years wildfires have entered urban areas, causing breathtaking destruction.

Read More Show Less
The Wildlife from Space project uses satellite technology to identify, count and monitor species such as emperor penguins in Antarctica. British Antarctic Survey / YouTube

New satellite images have revealed 11 new throngs of emperor penguin colonies, lifting the number of known emperor penguin colonies by 20 percent and their total population by 5 to 10 percent, according to The Guardian.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Saturn's moon, Enceladus, is one of three moons that appear to contain subsurface oceans underneath an icy shell. Marc Van Norden / NASA / Flickr / CC by 2.0

By Zulfikar Abbany

"We don't have a definition of life," says Kevin Peter Hand, one early California morning when we speak via video. "We don't actually know what life is."

Read More Show Less