Toothpaste? Mouthwash? Chewing gum? Desserts? Perfumes? You name it, and mint is everywhere! Such has been the benefits of this fresh aromatic herb that it has been significant to cultures and cuisines across the globe.
Mint is sweet and tangy with a cool aftertaste. It is used in a lot of recipes, curries, salads and chutneys, and even in jellies, candies, ice-creams and beverages. In India, it is commonly used to prepare ‘raita’ and ‘pudina chai’ and in the Middle East, it is added to lamb dishes. It is extremely popular in Vietnam and is added as garnish to nearly every dish.
The Mint chutney or Pudina chutney, very common in India, will give you a taste of its strong flavour. All it takes is some mint leaves, black gram, ginger, ghee, pepper and rock salt! The simplest way to make this chutney is to separate and clean the leaves and sauté black gram in ghee. Then put all the ingredients in a mixer and grind till smooth.
Mint for Health and Beauty
- It alleviates stomach and chest pain.
- Powdered mint leaves are used for teeth whitening.
- It is used along with camphor to treat insect bites.
- It is used for treating common cold.
- It is used in menthol shampoos.
- Menthol from mint essential oil is also added to many cosmetics and perfumes.
- Mint helps cool the skin and cures skin irritations.
A hybrid variety and cross between water mint and spearmint, peppermint too has numerous health benefits.
- Menthol in peppermint soothes the digestive tract and hence settles the stomach.
- Peppermint works wonders as a breath freshener and is also used in the treatment of gingivitis.
- It is popular for its sedative and calming effect.
- Menthol vapour relieves nasal congestion, sinus and chest congestion.
- A drop of Peppermint essential oil in water helps manage problems such as digestion, nausea and gas.
- Peppermint tea helps treat colic (Be cautious with infants as they may choke on the strong menthol.).
- Peppermint essential oil when applied on the temples helps relieve headache.
- Works as a stimulant (Try a drop to lift your mood.).
- Peppermint essential oil also has anti-inflammatory, analgesic and counter irritant properties.
Minty Kitchen Tricks!
- Add mint to the water that is used to steam vegetables.
- Chop some mint leaves and mix with butter for boiled new potatoes (or with parsley or dill).
- Sprinkle some mint leaves into cooked rice; stir and toss before serving.
- To make tea or lemonade, freeze whole mint leaves in ice cubes.
- Make a mint salad dressing by adding mint leaves, vinegar, and lemon juice with light oil.