Mint is the name for over a dozen plant species, including peppermint and spearmint, that belong to the genus Mentha. These plants are particularly known for the cooling sensation they impart. They can be added to foods in both fresh and dried forms. Mint is a popular ingredient in several foods and beverages, ranging from teas and alcoholic drinks to sauces, salads and desserts. While eating the plant offers some health benefits, research shows that several of mint’s health benefits come from applying it to the skin, inhaling its aroma or taking it as a capsule. Joanne Washburn, Food.news, reflects on impressive health benefits of spearmint:
“Spearmint (Mentha spicata) is a species of mint used in all kinds of personal care products, such as toothpaste, mouthwash and lotion. It gets its name from its bright green, spear-shaped leaves. But there’s more to this Mediterranean herb than its pleasant aroma and astringent mouthfeel.
Europeans have used spearmint for centuries to treat issues like gas, bloating and indigestion. In India, natural healers also used spearmint to soothe skin problems and relieve headaches. Like other herbs, spearmint is now also available as an essential oil, which is steam-distilled from the flowering tops of the plant.
The benefits of spearmint essential oil
Some of the main active components of spearmint essential oil are alpha- and beta-pinene, menthol, limonene, carvone and cineole, to name a few. Experts believe these compounds are responsible for the health benefits of spearmint essential oil. These include:
- Speeds up wound healing – Spearmint essential oil has antiseptic properties thanks to caryophyllene, menthol and myrcene. Therefore, the oil is great for cleaning wounds and preventing them from becoming infected while also helping them heal faster.
- Relieves spasms – The menthol in spearmint essential oil helps relax nerves and muscles. This effect is particularly beneficial in case of spasms, abdominal cramps and muscle strains.”
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