Refreshing and cooling, while mint may speak more to summer, it’s the perfect ingredient to usher in fall and keep illness at bay as we build up our immunity…
Every year, I tell myself I’m going to start growing my own herbs. Sometimes I succeed (a little), and manage to nurture a few pitiful plants on my windowsill before they inevitably succumb to my cacti-and-succulents-only black thumb. But most years, I don’t even try and continue schlepping myself to the market to pay too much for too little of those green sprigs of goodness. I dream of one day having the type of herb garden like that of my neighbor’s, with huge bushes of rosemary, sage and lavender growing in big, beautiful pots. Until that time comes, I’ll happily oblige when they invite me over to cut a few handfuls of their herbs. Most recently I found myself walking home with two big bunches of late-season mint complete with delicate purple flowers. This was the real deal, and the perfect ingredient for, well… I’d figure that out later. Refreshing and cooling, while mint may speak more to summer, it’s the perfect ingredient to usher in fall and keep illness at bay as we build up our immunity. Learn more about this gorgeous herb and how to use it below!
What is it?
Native to parts of North America, Australia and Southern Africa, mint now grows globally, with about 18 official species and a larger variety of cultivars and hybrids. With dark green leaves and purple flowers, mint is a common garden herb and spreads easily — sometimes prolifically (if you want to keep it contained, mint is great for a container garden for this reason). Highly versatile, it can be used in everything from natural remedies, to baking and cooking, to cocktails, to aromatherapy.
Benefits of mint
Mint boasts a wide range of benefits — most notably, mint has been used in traditional medicine to treat issues related to digestion and the stomach. Mint could ease digestion and decrease bloating by encouraging bile production – which is perhaps unpleasant to imagine but highly beneficial for the body as it speeds up digestion. Some studies have shown that peppermint could even help those with IBS. Feeling sluggish at work? The scent of mint could provide an energy boost in times of fatigue; in fact, simply inhaling the scent of peppermint essential oil has been found to give your brain a boost. The antiseptic properties of mint essential oil could be beneficial for those suffering from skin conditions such as acne and inflammation, and could help relieve the pain and itching caused by bee stings and bug bites. These same properties could also support immunity and shorten sick time for those suffering from cold and flu, while the menthol in mint helps clear airways.
How to use fresh mint
Mint is super versatile, whether you prefer peppermint essential oil or using it fresh. For those looking to harness the energizing, brain-boosting powers of mint, try keeping a bottle of peppermint essential oil at your desk or adding a few drops to a diffuser. Sipping mint tea, like the one below, could benefit brain power, aid in digestion, and support immune functions all at once. Fresh mint can be added to sweet and savory dishes, or simply torn up and tossed into water for a refreshing and beneficial drink. Try the tea below for a soothing and all-natural way to ease digestion, especially in the cold months to come.
Fresh Mint-Ginger Wellness Tea
Tear up the mint leaves and place in a large mug. Add the ginger slices and muddle a bit with a spoon to further break up the leaves and ginger. Carefully add hot water and allow to steep for 5 minutes. Remove the leaves and ginger if desired (you can leave them in and eat them as you sip too). Add raw honey to taste. Enjoy!
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