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Mint: What you should know

Mint, also known as mentha, is a member of the Lamiaceae family, which includes 15 to 20 plant species such as peppermint and spearmint. It is a commonly used herb that can be used fresh or dried in a number of dishes and infusions. Mint oil is commonly used in toothpaste, gum, candy, and beauty goods.

Fresh mint and other herbs and spices can be used in cooking to add flavor while lowering sodium and sugar intake.

Different varieties of mint plants have been used in medicine throughout history. Mint plants come in a variety of antioxidant properties and potential health benefits, especially for people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

In this article, we break down the nutritional value of mint and discuss its potential health benefits. We also give advice on how to incorporate more mint into your diet.


Mint can have a variety of health benefits.

Managing gastrointestinal problems

Mint image
Mint has been shown to assist in muscle relaxation.

Mint is a soothing herb that has been used to help soothe an upset stomach or indigestion for thousands of years.

According to a study in 2019 , placebo-controlled trials back up the use of peppermint oil as a treatment for a variety of gastrointestinal issues, including indigestion, IBS, stomach pain in infants, and post-surgery nausea.

Mint works against harmful bacteria, controls muscle relaxation, and helps control inflammation, according to the review’s authors.

Peppermint oil was found to be a safe and successful intervention for pain symptoms in adults with IBS in a different study published in the same year.

Peppermint oil, on the other hand, did not significantly reduce symptoms in a 2019 randomized, double-blind trial of 190 people with IBS.

To confirm the benefits of mint products in managing IBS, further research is required.


Rosmarinic acid, found in mint plants, is an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent.

When compared to a control group that did not receive a supplement, a rat report released in 2019 discovered that rosmarinic acid decreased asthma symptoms.

According to a 2019 study published in Frontiers in Pharmacology, the mint plant family contains a variety of plant compounds that have anti-allergenic properties.

Mint extract in oils and ointments, on the other hand, can be much stronger than dietary mint. There has been very little studies conducted on the impact of dietary mint on allergy symptoms.

Soothing common cold symptoms

Menthol is present in mint. This is an aromatic decongestant that may aid in breaking up phlegm and mucus and making it easier to expel.

Applying menthol ointments or vapor rubs to children with a common cold can be a safe and successful treatment.

Scientific research, however, do not endorse the use of menthol to treat cold symptoms, according to the American Lung Association (ALA).

Despite this, some people can experience a reduction in cold symptoms after using a menthol vapor rub.

Peppermint oil, according to the Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS), can cause skin irritation and redness. They advise parents and caregivers not to apply the ointment directly to a child’s chest or face because direct inhalation can cause serious side effects.


Mint leaves have delicate stems and are a tender herb. Add them raw or near the end of the cooking process. This ensures that their delicate flavor and texture are preserved.

When purchasing mint, look for leaves that are bright and free of blemishes. Keep them refrigerated for up to a week in a reusable plastic container.

Mint is a sustainable way to add spice to meals because it is relatively easy to grow and cultivate at home.

Use a sharp knife and cut mint gently while preparing it. Using a blunt knife or overchopping the herb can bruise it and cause flavor loss on the cutting board surface.

Mint is commonly used in Middle Eastern cuisines, such as lamb, soups, and vegetable salads.

Other suggestions include:

Mix lime juice with sugar or stevia and muddled mint leaves to make a mint limeade. Top it off with filtered water and ice cubes.

Incorporating mint into a fresh fruit salsa with chopped apples, pear, lemon or lime juice, jalapeno, and honey. Serve with pita chips dipped in cinnamon or on top of baked chicken.

  • Jazzing up your water by adding mint leaves and cucumber for a refreshing treat.
  • Adding a few chopped mint leaves to your next chocolate chip cookie dough.
  • Pouring hot water over mint leaves and steeping for 5-6 minutes for homemade mint tea. Try using chocolate mint leaves for a twist.
  • Chopping mint and tossing with fresh pineapple for a quick snack.

Alternatively, try these registered dietitian-created safe and delicious recipes:


Mint, like many other herbs, has the potential to cause harm to certain people.

Mint should not be used to relieve stomach problems in people who have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Mint is a common cause for GERD symptoms, according to a 2019 study.

Big doses of peppermint oil can be harmful. It’s important to adhere to the prescribed peppermint oil dosages.

Simple menthol is poisonous and should not be eaten. To disperse gases, it should only be applied to the skin or a nearby surface, such as a pillow.

Mint oil should not be applied to the face of an infant or small child because it can cause spasms that make breathing difficult.

Consult your doctor to see if any of your prescriptions can have an adverse reaction to mint or mint oil.


A 2-tablespoon serving of fresh peppermint, or 3.2 grams (g), provides:

Mint also contains trace amounts of:

Although mint contains a variety of nutrients, the quantity used in a typical meal is insufficient to meet a substantial portion of a person’s daily requirements.

Mint is best used in the diet to substitute salty, sugary, or calorie-dense flavorings. The bulk of the benefits of mint come from ointments or supplements.