Botanical Name :: Minthe spicata
Indian Name :: Pudina
Mint is a popular spice, used extensively in Indian cooking. It is an erect, branched perennial herb with underground modified stems. The Shoots produced from these stems are four angled, and bear oval shaped leaves which are simple, delicate, thin, dark green in color and fragrant.
Origin and Distribution
Mint is a native of temperate Europe. Ancient Romans and Greeks knew about this plant. In olden days it was believed that Minthe, the damsel laver of God Pulto, was transferred into. this herb due the anger of Persephane, the wife of Pulto and Goddess of Wealth. Therefore mint is commonly known as Minthae in Latin. The ancient Greek physician, Saufarsats used mint in the preparation of various carminative medicines. Even Mohammedan physicians were familiar with this herb. Chinese and Japanese knew this herb as long as two thousand years. Mint has now been introduced in all parts of the world and it widely grows in Indonesia, West Africa etc. In India, mini grows widely in Himalayan plains and Kashmir valley in a number of varieties.
Food Value of Mint
Mint contains plenty of vitamins and is rich in several minerals. The fresh and dried leaves are used for mint sauce and jelly and to flavor foods. Mint oil is used in chewing gum, tooth paste and in confectionery and pharmaceutical preparations.
Minerals and Vitamins
|Moisture – 84.9%||Calcium – 200 mg|
|Protein – 4.8%||Phosphorus – 62 mg|
|Fat – 0.6%||Iron – 15.6 mg|
|Carbohydrates – 5.8%||Vitamin C – 27 mg|
|Fibre – 2.0%||Small amount of Vitamin B Complex|
|Minerals – 1.9%||Good amount of Vitamin D & E|
|Calorific Value – 48||* Values per 100 gm’s edible portion|
Natural Benefits and Curative Properties of Mint
Mint is much valued as a carminative which relieves gastric discomforts, stimulant, antispasmodic which relieves muscle strain and stomachic for improving appetite. It forms an ingredient of most drugs prescribed for stomach ailments because of its digestive properties It is good for the liver and helps dissolve gravel in the kidneys and bladder.
- Digestive System Disorders:- Mint juice is a good appetizer. Fresh leaf juice of mint mixed with a teaspoonful of lime juice and honey is given thrice daily with excellent results in the-treatment of indigestion, biliousness, flatulent colic, thread worms, morning sickness and summer diarrhea.
According to father Kneipp, the well-known Naturopath, “A cupful of mint tea taken every morning and evening assists the digestion and gives a fresh and healthy appearance. The powder renders the same service, if one or two pinches are taken daily in the food or in water.” He also considers that mint, prepared in milk or tea and drunk warm, removes abdominal pains.
The seeds of mint are also beneficial in relieving severe abdominal pain due to indigestion in older children. The child may be given a quarter teaspoonful of the seeds to chew and swallow with water in such conditions .
- Respiratory Disorders:- A teaspoonful of fresh mint juice, mixed with two spoonfuls of pure malt vinegar and equal quantity of honey is stirred in four ounces of carrot juice and is given thrice daily as a medicated tonic during the treatment of tuberculosis, asthma and bronchitis. It liquifies the sputum, nourishes the lungs. increases body’s resistance against infection and prevents the harmful effects of anti tubercular drugs It prevents the asthmatic attacks and reduces congestion in air passages.
- Oral Disorders:- Fresh leaves of mint, chewed daily is an effective antiseptic dentifrice i.e. tooth paste. The chlorophyll combined with other antiseptic chemicals in the mint, kills all the germs causing harmful odour. It strengthens the gums by providing the required nutrients and thus prevents tooth decay, pyorrhoea, pre mature fall of the teeth etc. It also keeps the mouth fresh and improves the sense of taste in the tongue.
- Hoarseness:- Gargling fresh mint decoction with salt cures hoarseness due to shouting or singing loudly. It keeps the voice clear if used before singing. Therefore, it is a boon to singers and orators.
- Skin Disorders:- Application of fresh mint juice over face every night, cures pimples and prevents dryness of the skin. Juice is also applied over insect stings, eczema, scabies and contact dermatitis.
- Natural Birth-Control:- In Ayurveda, powdered dry mint is regarded as a harmless herb for birth control. It is believed that the woman who swallows 10 grams of this powder a little before the sexual intercourse will be free from pregnancy so long as she continues this practice. The mint should be dried in a shady place and then powdered and bottled.