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Mint

Mint’s cool, refreshing flavor is a staple in Middle Eastern cuisine. Try it in tabbouleh and falafel. Indian cooks use mint in cooling sauces for spicy foods. Delicious in desserts such as chocolate mint ice cream or tossed with melon balls. Steep for tea. A beautiful garnish.

Potted herbs can be placed on a kitchen counter or windowsill and used throughout the season with proper care, great for last minute inspirations that add a special "wow" to any meal.

Fresh cut herbs are great for immediate use and can generally be stored for several days.

More on Mint (Peppermint)

  • Mentha piperita is most widely cultivated in the US and more that 3000 tons of peppermint oil is produced in the US.

    There are more than 34 varieties of Mentha. We will focus on 2 major commercial varieties:

    • Mentha x piperita – Peppermint
      It is a sterile triple hybrid between Mentha aquatic and Mentha spicata (this is a hybrid as well).
    • Mentha spicata – Spearmint (garden mint)
      It is a hybrid between Mentha suaveolens and Mentha longifolia.

     

    Features and Benefits (based on home remedies) of Mint

    Major constituents of peppermint are 30-40% menthol, 115-25% menthone and 10% menthyl acetate.
    Spearmint contains 50% carvone. Spearmint use is limited to oral hygiene and chewing gum flavor.

     

    • Treat digestive disorders
    • Mask unpleasant taste of other foods
    • Management of irritable bowel syndrome
    • Helps in the ailments of gall bladder. Can prevent formation of gall stones if incorporated in daily lifestyle. Fresh leaves (4) should be chewed after every meal
    • Useful in upper respiratory tract problems
    • Prevents the onset of colds and flu (fresh whole leaves)
    • The oil is antimicrobial
    • Oil is anti-viral
    • Mildly anesthetic. Peppermint oil is used to manage toothaches
    • Ointments containing peppermint oil are used to manage headaches and other joint aches
    • Fresh leaves are used to whiten teeth
    • Breath freshener (spearmint)
    • The potted herb repels insects and other pests
    • The crushed leaves and scattered around to alleviate moods and increase focus
    • Fresh leaves are used to enhance memory. Facilitates memory recall
    • Controls nausea and vomiting associated with pregnancies
    • Manages taste loss in chemotherapy
    • Peppermint oil had been used to manage acne. Reduces itching
  • Vitamin/Nutritional Content

    Ratio of DRIED to FRESH mint is 1:3
    Last column displays values of 0.5 gm of DRIED SPEARMINT. This is equal to 1.5 gm of FRESH SPEARMINT

    Nutrient Unit 10 FRESH SPEARMINT LEAVES (1.5g) 30 FRESH PEPPERMINT LEAVES (1.5g) 1 TSP DRIED SPEARMINT LEAVES (0.5g)
    Proximates      
    Water g 1.28 1.18 0.06
    Energy kcal 1 1 1
    Protein g 0.05 0.06 0.1
    Total lipid (fat) g 0.01 0.01 0.03
    Carbohydrate, by difference g 0.13 0.22 0.26
    Fiber, total dietary g 0.1 0.1 0.1
    Minerals      
    Calcium, Ca mg 3 4 7
    Iron, Fe mg 0.18 0.08 0.44
    Magnesium, Mg mg 1 1 3
    Phosphorus, P mg 1 1 1
    Potassium, K mg 7 9 10
    Sodium, Na mg 0 0 2
    Zinc, Zn mg 0.02 0.02 0.01
    Vitamins      
    Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid mg 0.2 0.5 0
    Thiamin mg 0.001 0.001 0.001
    Riboflavin mg 0.003 0.004 0.007
    Niacin mg 0.014 0.026 0.033
    Vitamin B-6 mg 0.002 0.002 0.013
    Folate, DFE µg 2 2 3
    Vitamin B-12 µg 0 0 0
    Vitamin A, RAE µg 3 3 3
    Vitamin A, IU IU 61 64 53
    Vitamin D (D2 + D3) µg 0 0 0
    Vitamin D IU 0 0 0
    Lipids      
    Fatty acids, total saturated g 0.003 0.004 0.008
    Fatty acids, total monounsaturated g 0 0 0.001
    Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated g 0.006 0.008 0.016
    Cholesterol mg 0 0 0
  • Medicinal/Pharmacological Uses of Peppermint (based on Research Papers)

    1. Treats digestive disorders. Top are Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
    2. Research has shown that mint extract releases bile from the gall bladder and also increase bile production in the liver. All this aids in food digestion.
    3. Its anti-foaming action reduces flatulence and pains associated with indigestion.
    4. Peppermint oil is antimicrobial, antiviral and mildly anesthetic.
    5. Oil is used topically to relieve arthritis pain.
    6. Peppermint oil is used to manage toothaches.
    7. Consumption to teas prepared using fresh leaves has shown a decrease in cold and flu occurrence.
    8. Treat spastic colon
    9. Menthol in the form of balm has been used to treat headaches.
    10. Inhalation of peppermint oil placed in hot water aids in chest decongestion.
    11. Mint plants planted with tomatoes have a synergistic action. Mint repels insect attack on tomatoes and tomato plants provide sufficient shade to mints!

     

    Aromatherapy

    Menthol has been used to relieve chest congestion.

    Trending is the use of peppermint oil in memory enhancement and relaxing techniques.

  • Current Research

    Research suggests that:

    • Use fresh mint leaves at the end of cooking process. Try not to chop it, rather, tear it with fingers. This preserves the oils in the leaves.
    • Latest research is in the arena of cancer therapy. Because chemotherapy disrupts the digestive system, mint is being looked into as the rescue. Mint invigorates the weakened digestive system and help in the recovery process after radiation therapy.
    • Menthol's characteristic cooling sensation is due, in part, to the activation of sensory neurons generally termed transient receptor potential (TRP) channels, in particular transient receptor potential melastatin family member 8 (TRPM8) and transient receptor potential subfamily A, member 1 (TRPA1). Menthol acts upon TRPM8 receptors by rapidly increasing intracellular calcium and mobilizing calcium flux through the channels to induce cold response signals at the application site. Aside from its cold-inducing sensation capabilities, menthol exhibits cytotoxic effects in cancer cells, induces reduction in malignant cell growth, and engages in synergistic excitation of GABA receptors and sodium ion channels resulting in analgesia.

     

    Why Living Plant is More Useful Than Dried or Fresh Cut Mint

    • Menthol, the most important chemical in peppermint, has a melting point temperature of 87.8°F. As it happens with most drying processes, high temperatures are sometimes used to achieve optimum drying. In this scenario, most of the menthol is lost. Hence, the dried herb is almost useless for its medicinal value.
    • Given the chance, always prefer the fresh herb. It provides maximum menthol content and lower chances of fungal contamination. When herbs are incorrectly dried, they are bound to have fungal growth.
    • Beware of counterfeit fried peppermint. It will look like mint but is a similar variety with no menthol content! Therefore, in order to be 100% sure that you are consuming authentic mint, get it fresh from your own potted mint.
  • Ways to Use Fresh Mint

    rocket-farms-mint-chutney
    Mint Chutney
    1. Chop up some mint in salsa.
    2. Blend mint with cilantro and Thai peppers for “chutney”, to be used as dips.
    3. Add mint to beans. You might not need Beano.
    4. Fresh mint added to chocolate ice-cream for an authentic chocolate mint flavor.
    5. Crush fresh mint in your summer bath and help skin stay cool and fresh all day.
    6. Scatter mint around your porch/deck and keep insects away.
    7. Drink freshly brewed mint tea in winters to keep colds at bay. Don’t boil the leaves! Add at the end.
    8. Crush mint in honey and have a spoonful for relieving sore throat pain.
    9. Always serve iced tea with 4 leaves of fresh mint