Breathe deeply! Before you know it, your legs have walked toward the fragrant smell that may remind you of a favorite tea infused with peppermint or a soothing mentholated massage. With each breath, the senses grow stronger, the body feels energized, and ready to conquer the day.
“If any man can name all the varieties of mint, he must know how many fish swim in the Indian Ocean.” –Walafrid Strabo
As a favorite botanical herb, the mint family includes hundreds of varieties, such as peppermint, spearmint, catnip, basil mint, rosemary, and oregano. There are plenty of interesting names, which may lead you to consider growing pineapple mint, apple mint, lavender mint, and licorice mint.
Medicinal Benefits of Peppermint
One variety recognized by its dark red stem, broad green leaves, and purple flowers intended to extract menthol is peppermint. As a perennial herb, peppermint can grow in containers all year long or on the ground. Invasive as a species, the plant spreads to cover hills and extensive grounds while effectively deterring deer, mice, rodents and other animals. In prescriptions, extracts of mint may be an ingredient to relieve nasal congestion, indigestion, colic, headache, and gingivitis. Chewing the leaves aids in a fresher breath, and teas infused with peppermint, lemon, and honey sooth sore throats, and reduce symptoms of flu and colds. When the body needs a pick-me-up of spirit, unconsciously a decision to order a salad, soup, or sauce containing mint may be the ultimate answer to a satisfying meal.
Tip: Peppermint infused tea is an effective means to eliminate pain relief in place of an oral drug.
Tip: Applying mint oil as either a lotion or oil can produce the effect of calming and cooling the skin from irritations such as insect bites, stings, or rashes.
Tip: Peppermint oil is a safe, effective way to treat abdominal pain or IBS syndrome. Use of enteric-coated capsules, a preventative to heartburn, is an alternative method of applying a topical.
Pinching off a few leaves from a thriving mint plant is a worthwhile effort. The leaves are a rich source of an alphabet of vitamins, including A, B, C, E, and beta carotene. Digesting the leaves provides benefits including dietary fiber and a list of micronutrients such as calcium, iron, magnesium, and potassium. Oil from the leaves is rich in anti-oxidants, which promotes energy.
Tip: Place a few individual leaves in the freezer. Use them for a chilled drink, add to water, or chew for fresher breath.
Tip: Use spearmint for savory dishes and peppermint for desserts. Try apple or orange mint in fruit salads, yogurts, or teas.
Tip: Add mint leaves to a nylon pouch and hang in your shower. This effect will open sinuses impacted by hay fever or seasonal allergies.
Tip: To ease a headache, place a compress of mint leaves on your forehead.
Choose a location outdoors that thrives in direct sunlight with adequate drainage near a stream bank or embankment. Soil mixed with a hand full of stones will promote growth. Begin with plants approximately two feet apart. Mint will spread with ease, and grow to a height of two feet.
Tip: Buy only one healthy plant. Cut the stems and place in water. Once a strong root system is apparent, plant.
Tip: In thinking about the potential height of a mint plant, it is recommended to use a 12” pot. Kept outdoors in good weather, mint repels flies and mosquitoes.
Before picking leaves, examine to the same extent as if selecting greens from the produce department. Leaves are at their prime before the plant is about to flower; therefore, spray the night before and harvest in the early morning. Stems and leaves require washing and drying. Gather stems together and secure the ends with a rubber band to hang. When the leaves crumble when crushed, consider placing the leaves in a glass jar with an airtight lid, and store.
Growing and harvesting your plants ensures you always have mint for every need, every time!