Native to Europe and Asia, though now found on five of the world's continents, mint comes in as many as 15-20 variations and are part of a family of herbs that includes basil, oregano, rosemary, and sage. Many of these herbs, and the mints in particular, have been used for culinary and medicinal purposes by people around the world for thousands of years. Peppermint and Spearmint - two of the more well know varieties of mint - vary slightly in the strength of their effect. Peppermint is a hybrid of watermint and spearmint, and is the stronger of the two. Spearmint, being the milder of the two, is the one most commonly found in home gardens.
Known to relax the body and mind and cure bad breath, consuming foods and beverages infused with mint may also improve digestion, reduce pain, eliminate inflammation, optimize hormonal levels, aid in weight loss, increase circulation, boost the health of your heart and strengthen your the immune system. This is due to the key ingredients, Carvone in Spearmint, and Menthol in Peppermint, that are obtained from the oils of the mint plant and have local anesthetic and counter irritant properties. They cool down the body on the inside when consumed, thus reducing inflammation , irritation, and discomfort in many bodily systems. This is why drinking mint tea may help to cool and refresh you, even in the hottest months of the year.
Try this great recipe for making mint tea:
Mint Iced Tea - Cooling and Refreshing and Oh So Simple to Prepare.
Take a handful of fresh mint leaves (or use three herbal tea bags instead). Rinse and pat the leaves dry, then twist gently to release the delightfully minty oils from the leaves.
Place in pitcher and cover with filtered water. Let stand in refrigerator until cool. The water will have a slight color to it. Serve by pouring into glasses with filled with several ice cubes and enjoy.
The pitcher may be refilled several times before you discard the mint leaves.
Drink as desired to calm, cool, and refresh. Please note that some may have allergic reactions.
Health Promoting Properties Associated with Peppermint tea include:
Analgesic - meaning it decreases pain, which may help lessen the severity of arthritic symptoms and digestive upset.
Antibacterial - meaning that it may assist you in staying strong and healthy, even through seasonal changes.
Anti-inflammatory - may reduce symptoms of swelling in joints and irritation in many of the body's systems, including the throat and chest which may tighten due to allergies or cold and flu symptoms.
Antispasmodic - meaning that it may lessen the chances of nausea and vomiting, even in cases of motion sickness.
Calming - to body and mind. By calming the smooth muscles of the digestive tract it may improve the quality of bowel movements, including issues associated with IBS.
Carminative - meaning that it reduces flatulence by moving gas through the body, thus minimizing bloating and cramping.