Origin: Mint, commonly known as Mentha belongs to the kingdom Plantae. The word mentha is originated from the Greek word Mintha. It gets its name after the Greek mythical character mintha. It is a genus of plants in the family Lamiaceae. There are about 25- 30 species of mint, out of which peppermint and spearmint being the most common one.
There are different varieties as well due to hybridization. Mint natively belongs to Europe, Asia, Australia, Africa, and North America. Though, it is a perennial herb but blooms beautifully in summer months.
Mint is an aromatic herb, with the wide-spreading square branches. The leaves range from dark green to light green with flowers in white/purple color. Mints usually grow 10-120 cm tall and can spread widely. Mint grows in wetland and moist soils. This is a fast-growing herb and grows with little care. Mint has a long history. The Greeks used to clean the tables with this herb and also added this herb to their bathing schedule. Romans used this herb for culinary as well as medicinal use.
They used to make sauces and used it for mouth freshener too. The Chinese monks also used mint for its medicinal value. In ancient Hebrew times, the mint was scattered on the synagogue floors because of its aroma. The traces of mint have also been found on the Egyptian tomb which dates back to 1000 BC. Mexicans refer to this herb as Good Herb. In some cultures, mint symbolized hospitality. Mint was given to the guest as welcome gesture.
Scientifically: Three commonly used mint herbs are Peppermint, spearmint, and watermint. Peppermint is a hybrid between spearmint and water mint. This has heavy scent with reddish lilac flowers. Spearmint has pink flowers. Water mint grows in ditches and has round spike flowers.
This herb is not only tasty but healthy as well. This herb is known for its anti-bacterial and cooling qualities. Mint is fully loaded with vitamins and minerals. It is rich in Vitamins A and C and also contains Vitamin B2 and minerals including calcium, zinc, copper, and magnesium.
Usage: Mint essential oil is widely used to make toothpaste, shower gels, antiseptic gels, teas, balms, oils, inhalers, and medicines. Mint is also used in making candies, chocolates, and gums. Because of its flavor and aroma, mint is incorporated into various dishes.
Mint helps in aiding digestion and soothes the upset stomach. Mint is full of anti-inflammatory properties, thus helps in dealing with cuts, irritated skin, and acne. Mint is an important part of aromatherapy. Due to its strong and refreshing fragrance, it helps in beating stress. Mint has adaptogenic properties which balance the cortisol thus relieving stress. Eating a few leaves of mint help expecting mothers get rid of morning sickness. Mint also helps in maintaining oral hygiene. Mint also helps in boosting memory.
Mint has amazing results on the skin and hair. Mint has a cooling effect on the skin and offers a plethora of benefits.
Below are some mint DIY for you:
- To treat acne, take a bunch of mint leaves, grind them into a paste. Add a teaspoon of rose water to it and mix well. Apply this mask on the face and let it dry for 10 minutes. Rinse later.
- Take a handful of mint leaves, grind them into a paste and extract all the juice. Apply this juice with a cotton ball. Leave it on for 10 minutes and rinse. This juice works as a great cleanser and toner for the skin.
- To exfoliate the skin, take a teaspoon of oatmeal and mix a teaspoon of mint paste in it. Apply this mixture in circular motions. Leave it on for 15 minutes and rinse later. This mask works wonder in removing dead skin and gives a refreshing skin.
- To fade blemishes, add a teaspoon of mint juice to a teaspoon of fuller’s earth (Multani mitti) and mix well. Let it dry for 5 minutes and rinse.
- Take a handful of mint leaves and boil them in some water. Let this get reduced to half and let it chill. Apply this concoction as a toner to the skin.
- Crush some mint leaves and add some lemon juice to it. Apply this on your scalp for about half an hour. Do this twice a week for best results. This hair mask helps in reducing dandruff.
- Mint oil when mixed with virgin coconut oil can be used to treat hair fall and stimulate hair growth. Take three spoonfuls of extra virgin oil and mix five drops of mint essential oil to it. Separate your hair into sections and apply this oil on the scalp. Gently massage so that your scalp absorbs the oil. Leave it overnight and wash your hair the next morning.
- To treat an oily scalp, grind some mint leaves and camphor together and add a teaspoon of lemon juice. Apply it on your scalp for about 20 minutes and rinse off with your regular shampoo and conditioner.