Mint – health benefits

Mints exert a wide range of health benefits. Like other aromatic plants, their primary application has been as a carminative and digestant. The oil of the peppermint plant is an excellent example. It has been shown to relieve spasms of the gas­trointestinal tract and gas. In fact, an enteric- coated peppermint oil capsule has been shown to be very effective in relieving symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. (Enteric coating pre­vents the oil from being released in the stom­ach.) Peppermint oil relaxes smooth muscle. Once the smooth muscles surrounding the in­testine are relaxed, there is less chance of spasm and the indigestion that can accompany it. The menthol contained in peppermint may be a key reason for this bowel-comforting effect.

Peppermint contains a compound known as perillyl alcohol that has been shown to inhibit the growth or for­mation of cancer. It also contains the substance rosmarinic acid, a powerful antioxidant that blocks the pro­duction of allergy-producing leukotrienes. The high content of rosmarinic acid may be the rea­son extracts of peppermint have been shown to help relieve the nasal symptoms of allergic rhinitis (hay fever).

Source: Encyclopedia of Healing Foods