Lahore: Mint or Mentha belongs to the Lamiaceae family, which contains around 15 to 20 plant species, including peppermint and spearmint. It is a popular herb that people can use fresh or dried in many dishes and infusions. Manufacturers of toothpaste, gum, candy, and beauty products often use mint oil.
Using fresh mint and other herbs and spices in cooking can help a person add flavor while reducing their sodium and sugar intake. Throughout history, people have used different species of mint plants in medicine.
Different types of mint plants offer a range of antioxidant qualities and potential health benefits, especially for people who have irritable bowel syndrome.
In this article, we provide a nutritional breakdown of mint and explain its possible health benefits. We also give tips on including more mint in the diet.
Mint is a calming herb that people have used for thousands of years to help soothe an upset stomach or indigestion. A 2019 review found that placebo-controlled studies support the use of peppermint oil as a remedy for a range of gastrointestinal conditions, including indigestion, IBS, stomach pain in children, and feelings of sickness after surgery.
The authors of the review found that mint works against harmful microbes regulate muscle relaxation, and helps control inflammation. A different review from the same year assessed 12 randomized controlled trials and found that peppermint oil was a safe and effective intervention for pain symptoms in adults with IBS.
However, a 2019 randomized, double-blind trial of 190 people with IBS found that peppermint oil did not significantly reduce symptoms.
Allergies: Mint plants contain an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent called rosmarinic acid. A 2019 study on rats found that rosmarinic acid reduced symptoms of asthma when compared to a control group that did not receive a supplement.
The mint plant family provides a range of plant compounds that have anti-allergenic effects, according to a 2019 review published in Frontiers in Pharmacology. However, the content of mint extract in oils and ointments may be far stronger than dietary mint. There is very little research into the effect of dietary mint on the symptoms of allergies.
Soothing common cold symptoms: Mint contains menthol. This an aromatic decongestant that might help to break up phlegm and mucus, making it easier to expel. Applying menthol ointments or vapor rubs may be a safe and effective treatment for children who have a common cold.
However, the American Lung Association (ALA) advises that scientific studies do not support the use of menthol for managing cold symptoms. Despite this, some people may find that cold symptoms reduce after applying a menthol vapor rub.
The Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) advises that peppermint oil may cause skin irritation and redness. They recommend that parents or carers do not apply the ointment directly to the chest or face of a child due to serious possible side effects after direct inhalation.