Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Mint-The super Herb.

Mint descends from the Latin word mentha. In Central and South America, mint is known as hierbabuena (literally, "good herb"). In Lusophone countries, especially in Brazil, mint species are popularly known as "Hortela". In the Hindi and Urdu languages it is called Pudeena.
Mint leaves, without a qualifier like peppermint or apple mint, generally refers to spearmint leaves.
The taxonomic family Lamiaceae is known as the mint family. It includes many other aromatic herbs, including most of the more common cooking herbs, including basil, rosemary, sage, oregano and catnip.
All mints prefer, and thrive, in cool, moist spots in partial shade. In general, mints tolerate a wide range of conditions, and can also be grown in full sun.
Mints are supposed to make good companion plants, repelling pest insects and attracting beneficial ones.
Harvesting of mint leaves can be done at anytime. Fresh mint leaves should be used immediately or stored up to a couple of days in plastic bags within a refrigerator. Optionally, mint can be frozen in ice cube trays. Dried mint leaves should be stored in an airtight container placed in a cool, dark, dry area.
The leaf, fresh or dried, is the culinary source of mint. Fresh mint is usually preferred over dried mint when storage of the mint is not a problem. The leaves have a pleasant warm, fresh, aromatic, sweet flavor with a cool aftertaste. Mint leaves are used in teas, beverages, jellies, syrups, candies, and ice creams.

The health benefits of mint include the following:
Mint essential oil and menthol are extensively used as flavorings in breath fresheners, drinks, antiseptic mouth rinses, toothpaste, chewing gum, desserts, and candies. The substances that give the mints their characteristic aromas and flavors are menthol. Menthol and mint essential oil are also much used in medicine as a component of many drugs, and are very popular in aromatherapy

Stomach Ache
Mint was originally used as a medicinal herb to treat stomach ache and chest pains. To cure stomach aches, put dried mint leaves in boiling water, then, when it cools drink it. This tea is called monstranzo. Mint tea is a strong diuretic.

Skin Care
A common use is as an anti pruritic, especially in insect bite treatments often along with camphor. And for pimples or acne it is very effective if you apply it as follows
1 teaspoon of curd
1teaspoon of mint paste (you can grind a few leaves in the mixer)
Few drops of lemon juice
Mix altogether and apply it for 20 minutes
Results- The final results are than you have a glowing skin with less impurities and after a regular application a clear skin it also helps to even out the skin.

Common Cold
Many people also believe the strong, sharp flavor and scent of Mint can be used as a mild decongestant for illnesses such as the common cold.

Mint is well known for its ability to sooth the digestive tract and reduce the severity and length of stomach aches. In addition, mint teas and other herbal preparations have shown great promise at easing the discomfort associated with irritable bowel syndrome, and even at slowing the growth of many of the most harmful bacteria and fungi. The well-documented anti fungal properties of mint are thought to play a role in the treatment of asthma and many allergy conditions as well.

Anti Cancer
It is even thought that mint may have benefits as an anticancer food.
Enjoy this herb as it is very refreshing loaded with health benefits.

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