Uses and healing properties of mint
Mint is a perennial herb of an intense and aromatic scent and flavor, with a pungent aftertaste. Widespread across Africa, Asia and Europe, it belongs to the Laminacee family and to grow it needs sunny positions or at least to be only half in the shade; however, it has a great resistance to low temperatures.
Several species and varieties exist, that notably differ from each other because of their look. the color of the flowers and their height: in fact, the plant’s height is a few centimeters or maximum a meter. Mint is characterized by its erect stems, a remarkable root system and for simple leaves of a bright green color. Mint propagates through tufts division or trough cutting: In every pot the operation is done by the end of September by using small seedlings that form the stolon at the base of the plant. If it’s cultivated in full sunlight, the plant must be watered often; instead, if the soil has a low content of humidity, mint is less developed but richer, regarding its essence.
It flowers in mid summer or at the end of autumn. It’s an easy species to cultivate even in a pot or in the garden and the harvesting of its leaves happens during its blooming period: if it's meant for domestic use, you will need to take them to a cool and airy place to dry them. Instead, for industrial use, the leaves are taken to a distillery. Already widespread since ancient Egypt, it was widely used starting from roman times as it was classified by Galeno as a medicinal plant.
The nutritional and beneficial properties of the plant
Mint is a plant with notable beneficial properties as it contains many active ingredients with a healing action: in fact, it is a disinfectant and a scar healer. Moreover, it is suggested to take a mint tea when having gastro intestinal issues such as diarrhea, as this product favors digestion.
At the same time, mint helps with the correct working of the liver and protects the organism from bacteria and viruses. Moreover, it has a high content of Vitamin C, isovalerianate, limonene and menthol: this last one is an excellent vasodilator for the nasal mucosa.
Consequently its intake is advised to assist the classic remedies against the common cold and cough: it also has good sedative and spasmodic properties. However, if we are under homeopathic treatment, you must keep in mind that the use of products prepared with mint can have collateral effects. To prepare a mint tea you will need to infuse the dried leaves in boiling water for 15 minutes: the concentration must be equal to two teaspoons of product for a cup of mint mix. Before drinking it is necessary to filter the tea; if you can consume even half a liter a day. Its high content of menthol allows notable toning abilities, so that it will favor the digestion and bile secretion. However, it is not advisable to drink it in the evening as it can make it difficult to fall asleep or may provoke insomnia.
Use of mint in the kitchen
In the kitchen, mint is used fresh or dried, generally an aromatic herb to add to the dishes, for example salads, legumes, vegetable and cereals. If instead dried leaves are still whole, they can be added to zest or lemon juice so that you will have a tasty and refreshing drink, especially in summer. You need to keep in mind that all species can be used in the kitchen in a different way. For example, mentha pulegium is added to cold pasta and rice dishes, to fish, sauces and meat, particularly in lamb fillings.
These preparations are common especially on middle eastern and balkanic tables.
Alternatively, you can use it to prepare syrups, ice creams, liqueurs, cocktails such as mojito and Branca Menta, cakes and popsicles.
Peppermint instead, has a more pungent flavor and is therefore used in industrial fields especially to create aromatic candies. Instead Pencalieri mint is an italian variety with which an essential oil is produced, to alleviate rheumatism and herbal remedies.