As soon as we see the fresh mint leaves in the market, the first and foremost thought that comes to our mind is the green (pudina) chutney. Specially when mixed with fresh green mango which is also widely available in this season, the chutney is very appetizing and activates our taste buds. Known as peppermint, these leaves are very refreshing and a glass of mint-flavoured buttermilk is one of the best cooling agents in the scorching heat of summer. It has a strong but unique aroma.
In earlier days, on the slightest complain of stomach ache a drop of pudinhara was diluted in water and given to drink. It used to be so strong that the pain would vanish but the taste used to linger inside the mouth for a long time.
Even today children love mint-flavoured chips, mint flavoured candy, chewing gum and many other mint based items. After a thorough research on mint-leaves, they have not only been found to be of use as medicines but many companies have also started to use it for their products like toothpastes, soaps, mouth fresheners etc.
Mint contains several vitamins and minerals that are essential for our body. For centuries people have been using mint for its medicinal benefits.
Medicinal benefits of mint leaves
Relief from indigestion: Herbal mint tea helps in curing indigestion, irritable bowel syndrome, acidity, heart burn due to gas and also helps cleanse stomach. Mint also promotes digestion and sooths stomachs in case of inflammation.
Skin Infections: Mint helps cure almost all types of skin diseases. Boil mint leaves in a glass of water until they are reduced to half glass. Now add this kashayam (juice) to lukewarm water and take bath. Due to its antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties, mint sooths and calms the itchy and infectious skin and also helps in treatment of insect bite. It is also beneficial in clearing blackheads, pimples and acne due to the salicylic acid found in mint. To keep your skin glowing, hydrated and free of sweat, apply mint paste on your face and wait for 15 minutes and then wash off.
Protects teeth and gums: We get a very refreshing feeling by chewing a few mint leaves. But it does more favour to our teeth and gums, than just a refreshing feeling. It protects teeth from decaying by killing harmful germs. It also protects us from bleeding of gums, swelling, forming of pus etc. It even keeps the tongue clean of all the infections. In short, mint takes complete care of your oral hygiene. Crushed mint leaves also helps in whitening of the teeth. To get the above-mentioned benefits we can even use mint-flavoured juice or we can even chew a mint-flavoured chewing gum.
Relief from fevers, coughs and Common colds: Owing to its analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties, mint gives relief from fevers caused by congestion in chest by clearing the nasal and respiratory tract. The strong aroma gives a soothing effect and gives relief from cough. It can even help prevent us from nasal allergies.
Protects the body from diseases like cancer: Mint is a powerful anti-oxidant. The enzymes that are present in mint protect the body against formation of cancerous cells.
Relieves headache: We can get instant relief from headache by inhaling the aroma of the mint leaves which gives a soothing feeling by relaxing our nerves. Alternatively, mint oil can be applied on forehead and at the back of the head to get quick relief from headache.
Relieves body pains: Apply the paste of mint leaves on the effected part to get quick relief from pain, minor aches, muscle cramps and sprains. Mint even gives relief from arthritis pain.
Repels insects: Mint leaves are known to repel mosquitoes and ants.
Nausea: By just crushing the leaves and inhaling them one can get over nausea and vomiting.
Eliminates toxins: Regular consumption of mint leaves helps eliminate toxins, fungus and harmful bacteria from the body.
Apart from mint tea and chutney, these leaves can also be used in raita, salads etc. Besides food items and medicines, mint is also used in cosmetics and non-alcoholic beverages.
By Nibhanapudi Suguna