Health benefits of peppermint

herb

■ Mint composes numerous plant derived chemical compounds that are known to have been anti-oxidant, disease-preventing and health promoting properties. Total antioxidant strength (ORAC) of fresh peppermint herb is 13,978 µmol TE/100 g.

■ The mint herb contains no cholesterol; however, it is rich in essential oils, vitamins and dietary fiber, which helps to control blood cholesterol and blood pressure inside the human body.

■ The herb parts contain many essential volatile oils like menthol, menthone, menthol acetate. These compounds effect on cold-sensitive receptors in the skin, mouth and throat, the property which is responsible for the natural cooling-sensation that it initiates when inhaled, eaten, or applied on the skin.

■ The essential oil, menthol also has been analgesic (painkiller), local anesthetic and counter-irritant properties.

■ Research studies have also been suggested that the compounds in the peppermint relax intestinal wall and sphincter smooth muscles through blocking calcium channels at cell receptor levels. This property of mint has been exploited as an anti-spasmodic agent in the treatment of “irritable bowel syndrome” (IBS) and other colic pain disorders.

■ Peppermint-herb is an excellent source of minerals like potassium, calcium, iron, manganese and magnesium. 100 g fresh herb provides 569 mg of potassium. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps control heart rate and blood pressure. Manganese and copper works as co-factors for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide-dismutase.

■ Further, it is rich in many antioxidant vitamins, including vitamin A, beta carotene, vitamin-C and vitamin E. The leaves of mint also contain many important B-complex vitamins like folates, riboflavin and pyridoxine (vitamin B-6); and the herb is an excellent source of vitamin-K.

Peppermint Peppermint has been one of the popular herbs known since antiquity for its distinctive aroma and medicinal value. The herb has a characteristic refreshing cool breeze sensation on taste buds, palate and throat when eaten, and on nasal olfaction glands when inhaled. This unique quality of mint is because of the presence of menthol, an essential oil in its fresh leaves, and stem.

Botanically, the herb belongs to the Lamiaceae family, in the genus; Mentha, and botanically named as Mentha piperita. It is actually a natural hybrid-cross between water-mint (Mentha aquatica) and spearmint (Mentha spicata).

Peppermint herb is originally native to Europe, and now-a-days cultivated in almost all the regions of the world. It grows well under shady conditions and feature lance-shaped purple-veined, dark-green leaves with serrated margins and purple color whirly-flowers.

In general, the mint plant is sterile; producing no seeds. However, its growth happens through vegetative reproduction, spreading laterally all along through its underground rhizomes. There exist more than 20 varieties of mint herbs with a wide range of color, fragrance, and flavor.

Source: Nutrition and you
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