Tips, Tricks & Tales from the SESA Beverage Lab
Mint for Health
Did you know that aside from being a refreshing and uplifting flavoring, mint is actually loaded with potential health benefits?
While peppermint tea has been a staple of many pantries for years, we often just think about it as a refreshing beverage without taking into account the myriad health benefits mint has. From soothing upset stomach to improving alertness and focus mint can help heal from the inside out.
Mint tea can be bought at the local grocery store, from a specialty beverage producer like Sesa Pure or grown in the comfort of your own backyard and steeped into a healthful tisane. Peppermint and other mint varietals are hardy plants best grown in the shade. It can be grown indoors or outdoors and will thrive year-round, allowing you to make a delicious tea during every season.
Mint can be used fresh or dry and is popularly used as a seasoning, steeped into teas and tisanes, or in salads and desserts. Of the over two-dozen varietals of Mint, peppermint and spearmint are the most popularly used in contemporary cuisine and health applications.
1. Soothes Upset Stomach
Mint acts as a palate cleanser, making it perfect in application for appetizers and desserts. It activates the salivary glands, which produce digestive enzymes, thus facilitating quick digestion. One 2013 study found that Mint can help alleviate diarrhea and protect the gastric system without negative side-effects . Mint has also long been used as a treatment for Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) because of it's ability to help relax the cramped muscles of the digestive tract [2, 3]. Mint leaves also help relieve nausea and are best used freshly crushed to provide the quickest relief. Similarly, mint-flavored products can also help alleviate nausea, provided they are not artificially flavored.
2. Improves Alertness & Focus
Studies have shown that mint helps increase focus and mental alertness . It is unclear if it is the scent of mint or an internal compound within the plant that causes increased alertness. Additionally, studies have shown that mint stimulates the hippocampus area of the brain facilitating mental acuity and focus. Mint for focus is best consumed in the form of a tea slowly sipped, and don't forget to inhale all those good aromas for an extra boost.
3. Combats Common Cold
Mint is a powerful antiseptic and germicide. These actions help mint kill bad bacteria in the system. In one study, peppermint was proven to be effective in protecting against 22 different bacterial strains . While some folks believe mint to be a nasal decongestant, it actually acts to relax the nasal passages and to allow better airflow without actually acting as a decongestant . By subjectively improving airflow, the symptoms of common cold and flu are lessened.
Additionally, mint tea has historically been used to relieve sore throat through its cooling and relaxing properties. Mint is also loaded with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants which help the body maintain good health .
4. Reduces Stress
Mint has historically been used in Ayurvedic medicine and aromatherapy to help reduce stress and induce a state of calm. Its cooling effects help relax the system internally, allowing for enhanced relaxation. While also promoting alertness, mint has the added benefit of anti-inflammatory actions that help release and relax, in addition to natural sedative properties.
5. Treats Bad Breath
There's a reason most toothpaste is mint flavored! The antibacterial properties in mint help fight the bacteria that swarm in the mouth and its fresh scent helps mask the bad breath scent caused by halitosis .
A Final Note About Mint
Clearly, mint consumption reaps some proven + powerful rewards regarding one's overall health and wellness. While for the vast majority of folks mint is perfectly healthy and nontoxic, it is important to mention a couple of the common contraindications of mint consumption. Mint has been associated with increased sterility and risk of miscarriage as a result of its potent antiseptic qualities. As such, pregnant women or those trying to get pregnant should limit their mint consumption and not overdo it. Additionally, mint has been shown to increase stomach acid levels and thus is not healthful for those suffering from acid reflux. It can also interact negatively with drugs used to treat acid reflux, heartburn and can even interact with certain drugs for blood pressure and diabetes. That being said, it is always advisable to talk to your doctor before consuming a tea to treat ailments.
Want to try a fan favorite Mint tea blend? Try our Lavender Mint herbal tisane & enjoy all the health benefits of mint, with a hint of relaxing lavender!