Image via AS Phillips
Sprinkle it into a smoothie. Add a few leaves to steep in your coffee or tea. Cut it into tiny bits and blend it into your organic toothpaste. You can even include it in some steamy potpourri liquid or infuse it for added flavor and medicinal value to your organic medicine bases.
Mint of any kind, for those who love the flavor, is delicious. And for those of us who love chocolate with mint, there’s a variety of mint you can grow right in your yard that is a literal choco-mint-lover’s dream come true! Yup, this plant really does exist. It tastes and smells exactly like its name–rich chocolate and bright mint and its foliage tends to reflect that, being bright green in the leaf and having a darker, chocolaty-color through the stems and in the leaf veins. This may not be evident in all chocolate-mint plant varieties but it’s true to those growing in our yard.
Harvesting is a piece of cake (and you can add it to cake if you want it to taste like a choco-mint cake), which in my case means heading to the yard with a pair of kitchen scissors and snipping off however many sprigs I need.
The oil in the plant is very strong, so when you finish handling it, it’s a good idea to wash your hands in warm, soapy water.
As an organic medicine
Even though I’ve been a mint-junkie for years, loving it for both its flavor and because it helps me feel better, I didn’t know how it rated with other users until I got into the research for this article. Seems that mint is the favored herb of choice for folks who suffer from tummy-ailments, like IBS and persistent nausea, and it doesn’t stop there. To give that status the impact it deserves, per Dr. Mercola, when using mint oil capsules to treat IBS symptoms, a participating group comprised of both adults and children with IBS, reported a 50% reduction in TOTAL irritable bowel syndrome score. That alone would inspire me to grow it if I didn’t have access to it already.
If you don’t suffer from IBS trouble, you’re not left out. Mint has lots more help to offer!
Got a cold or stuffy nose? An ointment infused with mint oil will help ease your cough. When you do cough, it will help it be productive by reducing inflammation in your lungs, thinning, and loosening phlegm. It helps with sinusitis too, reducing the swelling and mucus build-up in your nasal passages.
Sore throat? Use it on the inside and outside to decrease pain and kill disease-causing microbes on contact. An herbal tea or alcohol toddy laced with mint will often decrease sore throat pain immediately and the effects can last for a good, long while.
Mint aroma is (for most folks) a mood heightener. If you’re prone to feeling low, mint-scent can bring on the feel-goods. A little potted mint plant, growing in a windowsill, or where it can get a good bit of sunlight, is an awesome, inexpensive and organic way to bring organic, bright and mood-lifting scent into a room. Added to its mood-heightening effect, it helps to clear away muzzy thoughts so you can think more clearly and feel more energized if a bout of fatigue sets in. It’s also known to enhance memory while it increases alertness. This is yet another reason for me to continue adding it to my coffee.
It makes for an easy and inexpensive air freshener to help folks who suffer from asthma. Mint contains rosmarinic acid (just like rosemary) which can help reduce inflammation-causing chemicals in asthmatics. I use it weekly in an essential oil diffuser. It smells soooooo good and does wonders to help me through allergy season.
Ever had shingles, or know someone who suffers from them? Regarding pain due to shingles outbreak, test results show a topical treatment of peppermint oil to shingles brought on near-immediate improvement with results lasting up to two months.
I’ve never had shingles but I’ve seen several cases of it and heard how painful they are. My sister, Nee, has had them. She described the pain as pretty much like what she’d imagine it would feel like to have a blow-torch sizzling her skin. So, I’m pretty sure, the mint oil therapy is definitely a good one to have tucked away into your pharmacopeia, especially if you’ve ever had chickenpox, which puts you at risk for shingles.
Nausea, even chemotherapy-induced nausea, can be helped with mint. It can be taken in an oil capsule, or, in another method that I learned while working in medicine, laced into cool or iced water and applied to the throat (and to the chest and stomach if desired) is almost immediately effective to stop, or diminish nausea. When you add mint to the water and you’ve just added menthol, which will increase the cooling action.
Menthol, which naturally occurs in mint, has also been shown to protect cells from damage due to radiation or chemotherapy and may inhibit the growth of prostate cancer cells.
In organic toothpaste, adding mint gives it an enhanced teeth-whitening attribute. It also freshens breath and kills the microbes that cause bad breath as well as those that climb onto your teeth and hang out there, breaking down the enamel and causing cavities. An easy, very effective, all-natural, and inexpensive toothpaste can be made from simple coconut oil or EVOO (extra-virgin olive oil). If you want mint in either, just cut some up into fine pieces and let it steep in the coconut oil or EVOO, and there ya go. You can add a bit of lemon juice to it as well, and even a bit of salt. Blend well and you’ve got a seriously awesome homemade toothpaste without any synthetic or harmful chemicals in it, such as fluoride!
Lice don’t like mint. Using mint oil in your shampoo is good head-lice prevention. Your hair will smell awesome, your scalp will tingle and if you have dandruff or an itchy scalp, it can bring relief of both.
Put it in its place, or not?
Mint is pushy and can take over a garden, lawn, field, mountain, whatever. It loves to spread itself thick. If you have trouble with erosion due to water-shed, mint makes a great ground cover to help soak up the fluid and keep your soil in place.
Mint (chocolate or otherwise) doesn’t need lots of tending to stay healthy and thrive. It means, in most cases, you won’t ever run short of it and will even have enough to share with your kith and kin! Thankfully, it’s a very pretty plant so wherever it spreads it’s little roots, and sprouts you get the added benefit of it being eye-candy and if it’s in spots that get direct sunlight, it has a wonderful scent. Yup, you can be on the lookout for visitors showing up to stand, sniff and maybe even roll around in your lawn or garden, just like those folks in the detergent and fabric softener commercials.
Consider fencing off your property when your mint starts gaining ground. If not, plan for consistent, impromptu lawn parties.
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