Originally published March 11 2009
Mint is an Ancient Healing Food
by Sheryl Walters
(NaturalNews) The story of mint begins with an ancient Greek myth. When Pluto began showering a wood nymph named Minthe with his affections, Persephone, Pluto's wife, became enraged. She cast a spell on Minthe and turned her into a garden plant. Pluto could not undo the spell. The best he was able to come up with was a pleasant aroma, so that Minthe would always be noticed. A charming story that factually tells us mint has been used by humans since ancient times.
Mint has always been used as an aromatic. People rubbed it on their dining tables, spread it on the floor, burned it for incense, added it to their baths and served it in tea. The two primary types of mint include peppermint and spearmint, although orange, apple, water, curly, cat and Corsican also exist. All told, there are at least 25 different kinds of mint. Both peppermint and spearmint taste like a cross between pepper and chlorophyll, but spearmint is said to have a cooler, more subtle flavor.
Oil of peppermint has been proven to hinder growth of the stomach ulcer bacteria, heliobacter pylori. It helps control colon spasms as well. It can stop the growth of MRSA ([gram-negative] methicillin resistant staff aureus.) In animal trials, peppermint has been shown to inhibit pancreatic cancer and may lower the risk of colon cancer. Mint is beneficial for asthmatics because it blocks production of chemicals called leukotrienes, one of the major factors in upper respiratory allergies.
Considered nutrient-dense, mint contains good amounts of fiber, iron, copper, calcium, folic acid, omega-3 concentrates, and it is low in calories. It is also known as a good source of ascorbic acid, potassium and manganese.
Choose fresh mint over dried whenever possible. Fresh mint has a much better flavor and contains all the nutrients mint can offer. Fresh mint needs to be stored in the refrigerator, loosely wrapped in a wet paper towel and placed in a plastic bag. It will keep for five to seven days. If you do buy dried mint, be sure it is organically grown. Organic mint is not irradiated.
Two tablespoons of fresh mint contains about one calorie. Added to fruit salad or tomato-based soups, it provides a bright, new flavor experience. You can use peppermint oil in the bath for a calming soak. A cup of mint tea at the end of a meal is a good digestive aid. Just be sure to keep the tea covered while it steeps, to retain the oils.
Mint is easy to grow at home. In fact, it will soon take over your garden if not properly managed. It spreads by runners, so cutting three inches off a clean coffee can and planting that two inches into the earth around the plants will make it easy to keep the runners trim. Mint is delightful in the outdoor garden. Crushing a few leaves as you work in the garden will promote a pungent but pleasant fragrance for you to enjoy. Mint is a perennial, so it will return year after year. It can be grown indoors in a pot on a moderately sunny windowsill and you can enjoy its benefits year-round.
Edris AE, Farrag ES. Antifungal activity of peppermint and sweet basil essential oils and their major aroma constituents on some plant pathogenic fungi from the vapor phase. Nahrung 2003 Apr; 47(2):117-21 2003.
Fortin, Francois, Editorial Director. The Visual Foods Encyclopedia. Macmillan, New York 1996.
Wood, Rebecca. The Whole Foods Encyclopedia. New York, NY: Prentice-Hall Press; 1988. PMID:15220.
About the authorSheryl is a kinesiologist, nutritionist and holistic practitioner.
Her website www.younglivingguide.com provides the latest research on preventing disease, looking naturally gorgeous, and feeling emotionally and physically fabulous. You can also find some of the most powerful super foods on the planet including raw chocolate, purple corn, and many others.
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