(NaturalNews) A seemingly humble herb, mint offers a variety of exceptional health enhancing features. Research has shown that certain varieties of mint have properties that help defend against cancer and damaging radiation. Not only does this herb offer protective benefit, but it also provides those who suffer from irritable bowl syndrome much needed relief.
Mentha piperita (peppermint) is native to the Mediterranean and nutrient rich. The fresh herb contains ample amounts of vitamin A, C, B12, K, along with folic acid, thiamine, and riboflavin. Mint also provides many essential minerals such as calcium, copper, fluoride, iron, potassium, selenium, and zinc. The essential oils found in mint include menthol, menthone, and menthol acetate.
Powerful relief for distressing symptoms
Peppermint oil offers new hope for individuals suffering from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Italian researchers found that 75 percent of patients participating in their study had substantial improvement in their IBS related symptoms when peppermint oil capsules were taken for four weeks. It is believed that the menthol in the mint blocks calcium channels, thus relaxing the muscles of the intestinal wall. This helps to relieve the abdominal cramping and pain, diarrhea, bloating, and constipation associated with the disease.
A broad spectrum protective herb
Peppermint holds promise as a potent herb against cancer and the effects of radiation. According to a study in 2010, liquid extracts of peppermint were shown to protect the gastrointestinal and hemopoietic systems from radiation. The healing properties in the extract are found to be metal chelating, antimutagenic, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory. Additionally, DNA repair processes are enhanced. Tumors of the pancreas and liver are particularly vulnerable to the bio-active components of peppermint. Cancers of the skin, lung, and colon are also inhibited by this herb.
In another study, researchers at the University of Salford found that the extract of Scutellaria barbata (Skullcap barbat) starves tumors. It attacks the blood vessels feeding the tumor, blocking the availability of oxygen and nutrients that allow tumors to grow. The extract is very selective in targeting only blood vessels associated with the tumor, leaving normal vessels that feed healthy tissue unharmed. As noted by a spokeswoman for Cancer Research UK, "Scutellaria barbata has long been used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat several illnesses including certain types of cancer." Scutellaria barbata is a member of the Lamiaceae (mint) family of botanicals and is native to China.
Whether seeking to alleviate the discomfort of IBS or protection against cancer and radiation, mint provides a simple, effective, and time-honored solution.
"Radioprotective potential of mint: A brief review" Manjeshwar S Baliga, Suresh Rao, Journal of Cancer Research and Therapeutics, 2010, Vol.6. Issue 3.pp 255-262. Retrieved on July 2, 2012 from: http://www.cancerjournal.net
About the author: Carolanne believes if we want to see change in the world, we need to be the change. As a nutritionist, natural foods chef and wellness coach, she has encouraged others to embrace a healthy lifestyle of green living for over 13 years. Through her website www.Thrive-Living.net, she looks forward to connecting with other like-minded people who share a similar vision.