Wintery days, feeling ill, sore throat and a blocked nose. What do you do? Exactly, you make a cup of mint tea. But what is the deal with mint, you find it everywhere, in tea, sweets, oils, toothpaste and even soaps. What are the effects of mint on the body and mind?
Mint in general is known for varies health benefits such as curing a common cold, skin rashes, insect bites, indigestion and gas and the most known one, getting rid of a bad breath. This is because mint comes in various different species, roughly 15 to 20, from menthol to peppermint to spearmint. Each species with a slightly different health benefit. For example, menthol is a natural aromatic medicine for breathing, spearmint can relieve digestive problems and peppermint can even have a positive effect on your cognitive functions!
Let’s take a deeper look into mint and its effectiveness.
Firstly, breathing, doesn’t it feel refreshing and awaking when smelling some mint leaves?
Breathing in a scent of peppermint is not just nice, apparently there are proven positive effects of peppermint to your brain!
A study shows that inhaling peppermint oil has a positive effect on learning and memory. To understand this a bit better, you need to know that most of the learning and long-term memory is happening through signals between neurons within the hippocampus. The hippocampus is at the medial temporal lobe of your brain and is important for the limbic system. The limbic system is the area for learning, memory and regulating emotions. Peppermint has the effect of strengthening the signals between these neurons. Strengthening the neurons means that they work better, faster, more efficiently and therefore, learning and long-term memory will be improved!
Now you may be wondering, how do I start inhaling mint before I forget about this amazing blog!?
A very likely question, and I would recommend buying a mint plant and taking care of the plant. You will have continuously a fresh mint scent in your room to inhale. Another easy way, but maybe more expensive, is buying mint essential oil and putting a few drops in boiling water, then inhale the steam for 5 to 10 minutes.
So, inhaling peppermint has an effect on your mind, what about the mint tea?
Does consuming mint have the same effect as inhaling?
I can tell you immediately, inhaling mint or consuming mint, has a different effect. Nevertheless, there is still an effect! And regarding mint tea, you could always combine the two by before drinking the tea, inhale some of the steam. 😉
To back up what I am saying I would like to tell you about a research done by Abbas Meamarbashi and Ali Rajabi. This research shows that consuming 0.05ml peppermint essential oil with 500 ml water has a positive effect on exercise performance. It is believed that after consuming this peppermint mixed water, the bronchial smooth muscle relaxed, which created a better ventilation and brain oxygen concentration. Better ventilation and brain oxygen concentration lead to an improved gas analysis, blood rate and respiratory rate. It is all linked and just consuming some peppermint essential oil could start a chain reaction of improvements!
Besides peppermint essential oil drops, you can also take mint supplements such as Spearmint Phenolic Complex by Swanson.This supplement has the roughly the same effects of inhaling peppermint. These spearmint capsules improve memory, brain functions, regulates emotions and could even sharpen the mind! Try them yourself!
3. Topical use
Last but not least, topical application of mint. The are various ways of doing this, you have mint soaps but also mint oils. Mint soap doesn’t have a real effect besides feeling fresh and getting a cooling effect.
Mint oil, however, can improve headaches, nerve pain, itchiness, allergic rashes, mosquitoes’ bites and even muscle pain! The difference with minty soaps is that mint oils contain a much higher concentration of mint.
Mint oil has an anti-inflammatory, analgesic and anti-spasmodic effect. This means that it can relieve pain and inflammation but also relaxes the muscles which helps against muscle soreness. If you want to learn more about getting rid of muscle soreness please read this blog:
-------->5 Ways to reduce muscle pain!
Unfortunately, there has not been enough research to give exact numbers on its effectiveness and is a field to yet be researched more. However, it still is a very interesting herb which could be used for many problems.
So, now we know, mint has many different species and can be used in many ways, such as inhaling, eating and topical application. Each has a different effect, but the most effective ways of using mint is through inhaling mint scents, drinking mint through peppermint essential oil or using a spearmint capsule supplement. I highly suggest you try adding mint into your lifestyle and experience the potential improvements it may bring!
Written by; Sven Nicholson (www.HealthyChanges-PT.com)