Mint is a medicinal plant used in many parts of the world. Not only to treat health ailments, but also in food preparation. That’s why it works in sweet and savory recipes.
A curiosity is that there are more than 20 species of mint around the world, with most having very similar medicinal properties. In Brazil, the most used are common mint, Mentha Spicata, and peppermint, M. piperita .
All species belong to the genus Mentha . That’s why they are perennial plants, short and that grow well in hot and humid places. The leaves are usually small, simple and aromatic, which makes the herb very popular. See below the benefits of consuming it in the form of tea.
Benefits of Mint Tea
Mint has several health-beneficial properties. That’s why it is used in traditional medicine in several countries. It also has a presence in the pharmaceutical industry for its effects against respiratory problems and also has a pleasant aroma and taste.
Because of these characteristics, the most common form of consumption of it is through tea, which concentrates all the phytochemicals present in the herb’s essential oil.
Check out the main benefits of mint tea consumables and put the herb once in your life:
- Fights anxiety
- Natural anti-inflammatory
- It works in the treatment of respiratory problems
- It is a natural pain reliever
- It has antibacterial properties
- It is rich in antioxidants
- Improves digestion
- Helps control nausea and vomiting
- Reduces the risk of cardiovascular problems
- Controls blood glucose levels
- It has anti-cancer properties.
Mint tea has been used for centuries by native peoples of South America to treat anxiety, stress and sleep disorders.
The infusion contains components that act directly on the brain, inhibiting the production of substances released by the body during anxiety attacks.
This makes it can be used as an anxiolytic, a medicine used to treat anxiety problems, in milder cases of the disease.
For this same reason, the infusion prepared with mint leaves also serves as a natural tranquilizer. (1)
The infusion made with mint also has high levels of anti-inflammatory substances . A 2013 study by researchers in Bangladesh, India, found that the herb helps reduce the inflammatory process by up to 80% .
It also has the benefit of not causing side effects to the digestive system, as many of the synthetic medications used to treat this type of problem. Therefore, it is considered a healthier and more effective solution in some cases. (two)
It works in the treatment of respiratory problems
Mint is still rich in antihistamines. That is, substances that help fight the process of respiratory allergies . For this reason, the herb is widely used by the pharmaceutical industry as an ingredient in medicines for this purpose.
Alongside this there are anti-inflammatory properties, which can inhibit inflammation caused by the allergic process. Thus, they also ease the symptoms of colds and flu . (3)
It is a natural pain reliever
The herb is also a potent natural pain reliever. In other words, drinking mint tea can be very effective in relieving pain, especially those caused by inflammatory processes.
This effect is due to the presence of several components called phenolic compounds, which make up the majority of the herb’s essential oil. These compounds act in the body decreasing the perception of pain.
As the herb has anti-inflammatory effects, the infusion becomes a great alternative treatment for the relief of muscle and joint pain . (2, 4)
It has antibacterial properties
Mint tea also has antibacterial properties. The infusion works by inhibiting the proliferation of colonies of various types of bacteria and fungi that can be harmful to health.
An example of this is Escherichia coli , which lives in the digestive tract and can cause intestinal infections. In addition to Staphylococcus epidermidis , which lives on the skin and causes serious infections when it enters the body. (5)
It is rich in antioxidants
The herb is rich in several antioxidant compounds . These are substances that stop the action of free radicals, substances that cause damage to cells.
In addition, antioxidants also act to prevent different types of diseases and prevent premature aging of the body. (5)
Taking mint tea after meals is very effective in improving the digestion process of food. And this happens for two main reasons.
The first is that mint stimulates the production of stomach acid and bile. Two substances that act directly on the digestion of food.
The second reason is that the herb soothes the irritation of the mucous membranes in the stomach and reduces the formation of gas and discomfort . (6)
Helps control nausea and vomiting
Mint tea, especially when chilled, decreases the feeling of nausea and vomiting. That’s because the herb helps to stimulate digestion and has calming and antispasmodic effects .
This causes it to decrease the contraction that the stomach performs when you are nauseous. But it also speeds up the removal of the problematic food from the organ, thus preventing vomiting from occurring.
For this reason, the infusion is very suitable for patients undergoing chemotherapy, exams such as colonoscopy and even for pregnant women . (7)
Reduces the risk of cardiovascular problems
Consuming peppermint or herb tea daily in food also has long-term effects. That’s because it is rich in substances that reduce the risk of cardiovascular problems.
When consumed in adequate amounts, the plant lowers blood pressure and inhibits the action of the hormone norepinephrine, which causes this problem. Thus, they improve the heart rate.
On top of that, the infusion prepared with mint lowers blood cholesterol levels. Thus preventing cardiovascular accidents resulting from hypertension, high cholesterol and action of norepinephrine. (8, 9)
Controls blood glucose levels
This happens, according to the study, because of the presence of antioxidants that reduce oxidative stress. That is, they prevent the cell from becoming overloaded, which increases blood glucose.
However, it should be noted that it should never be used as the main medication for controlling diabetes. It is an ally, which must act together with traditional remedies. (9)
It has anti-cancer properties
Finally, mint tea also has important anti-cancer properties. This is because the substances present in the herb’s leaves prevent the uncontrolled proliferation of the body’s cells.
This makes the diseased structures unable to multiply, thus helping to inhibit the creation of tumors . (5)
How to prepare the infusion?
The way to prepare this infusion is very simple and it can be consumed either hot or cold. But the ideal is that the drink is made with fresh leaves of the herb.
However, if you can’t find it in your city, dehydrated herb or ready-made teas in sachets can also be consumed, but without all the essential oils present. See how to prepare!
- 2 tablespoons of fresh or dried mint leaves
- 1 cup of filtered water
First, bring the water to the fire until it boils. When that happens, turn off the heat and add the mint. Cover the pan and let the mixture steep for 15 minutes. Finally, strain the leaves and drink the hot tea or wait for it to freeze.
And beware: never leave the leaves boiling with the water, as this can destroy all the medicinal properties of the herb.
How often to take?
Mint tea can be consumed frequently as there is no health risk in daily consumption. However, this must be done respecting the maximum amounts allowed per day.
The ideal is to consume a maximum of two cups a day . It can be consumed after meals, to aid digestion or before bedtime. In the latter, the infusion serves to improve sleep quality.
Finally, if you experience any negative symptoms, it is important to stop drinking immediately and seek medical assistance. Also, if you are going to undergo any treatment with tea, it is important to stop drinking it for a few periods of time.
Mint tea helps you lose weight?
Yes, peppermint tea can be an ally in weight loss for several reasons. The first is that it lessens anxiety. In this way, the infusion can inhibit the urge to eat, which many people do when they get anxious.
Second, spearmint is a powerful anti-inflammatory, a condition that causes bloating and is quite common in overweight people. Also, the herb stimulates digestion. Thus, it improves absorption of nutrients and reduces swelling.
Finally, the herb can be used as an ingredient in food preparation. Because of its strong flavor, you need to use less salt and fat in your food for it to taste good, thus lowering your calorie intake.
However, it is important to note that mint tea is not the only factor that leads to weight loss. That is, it is necessary to combine the use of the herb with a balanced diet and the practice of physical exercise. (1, 2, 6)
Contraindications and care with mint tea
Like any medicinal herb, mint also has some contraindications and precautions when consumed. The first precaution is about the amount consumed daily.
This is because, when ingested in amounts above the safe, which is up to 9 grams, mint has toxic effects . These effects are concentrated in the kidneys, preventing blood filtration and may even cause organ failure.
The herb can also irritate the liver, cause hormonal problems, hypotension (low blood pressure too much) and even laxative effects.
For these reasons, it should be carefully consumed by those who already have a history of the aforementioned problems.
Another important care is with children. You should never use peppermint essential oil directly on their nose, as this can cause glottal spasms and even respiratory arrest.
Finally, tea should not be taken by people who have problems related to the gallbladder, such as obstruction, cholecystitis or severe liver damage. Because it can serve as aggravation for these problems. (1, 6)