Spearmint is one of the best-known medicinal herbs in the world. In addition to its medicinal use, it is also used in cooking around the world. Its consumption is highly recommended because of its many healthy properties.
Below you will find out everything about this plant -particularly what are its most common uses and its benefits.
Spearmint, garden mint or Mentha spicata is an aromatic herb belonging to the genus Mentha. It is used mainly as a culinary herb but also by traditional and natural medicine, due to its benefits for the body.
The term Mentha spicata comes from the serrated leaves that remind of a spear or spica, in Latin. This herb can reach up to 30 centimeters in length, and the flowers are large and showy due to its white, lilac or pink corolla.
Spearmint comes from Europe. As we said before, this aromatic herb has many uses. The first uses were discovered in the Middle Ages in Charlemagne's France. They cultivated extensive plantations of this plant for its natural medicinal properties and especially for bad breath.
Nowadays, we can find varieties of this plant all over the world, from Europe to Asia, because it is very easy to grow.
Traditionally, spearmint has been used as a remedy for a wide variety of conditions. Spearmint tea and chewing its leaves have great medicinal properties, especially in the digestive and endocrine systems and also in oral, immune and skin health.
The use of this plant on the skin has been a very common practice for centuries, especially spearmint oil —mixing the leaves with olive oil is a combination that has great healing properties.
Another important use of this herb is in cooking. It is an ingredient widely used in many dishes thanks to the intensity and freshness of its flavor and aroma.
The benefits of this herb are very appreciated by traditional medicine. Since natural remedies are becoming very popular in the West, its consumption for medical purposes is increasing.
Below we find the main spearmint properties:
Spearmint is one of the most common remedies for digestive problems of all kinds. This plant helps relieve bloating, gas, colic, abdominal distension, inflammations, and even irritable bowel syndrome. Its consumption helps relax the muscles of the digestive system.
The most common way to take spearmint is through tea or chewing its leaves, which facilitates the absorption of its properties.
Like many other medicinal plants, spearmint strengthens the immune system and helps to revitalize it when it is affected by a viral or bacterial infection.
Its usual consumption, especially during flu processes or bronchitis, can alleviate symptoms thanks to menthol, its active ingredient. Menthol reduces mucus in the respiratory tract and helps recover faster.
One of the best-known benefits of spearmint is to prevent bad breath. Again, menthol is responsible for this property, along with its antibacterial and antimicrobial functions —which at the same time also favor oral health.
This plant helps alleviate and calm skin problems thanks to its soothing and refreshing effect. It is commonly used for insect bites, allergies or burns.
A good healing remedy is made by mixing spearmint with olive oil and applying it directly to the skin.
It is also recommended to clean wounds with spearmint tea because of its antiseptic and analgesic effects.
Most people are not aware of the benefits of this plant for mood. It helps to relax and therefore, to reduce stress and anxiety, favoring a better mood.
For people who are usually in stressful situations, taking this tea can also help not feeling nervous and reduce pressure.
Like most herbal medicines, spearmint is an excellent remedy for sleeping problems, especially insomnia. Health professionals recommend taking this tea 15 or 20 minutes before dinner every day. The body will adopt relaxing habits before going to bed, falling asleep faster.
Spearmint also has antioxidant effects. Studies are currently underway on how consumption of this medicinal plant can improve the body's depurative processes.
Likewise, it is also very beneficial to the hormonal system. For example, it helps to regulate the release of testosterone into the bloodstream.
Grieve, M. (1971). A Modern Herbal: The Medicinal, Culinary, Cosmetic and Economic Properties, Cultivation and Folk-lore of Herbs, Grasses, Fungi, Shrubs, & Trees with All Their Modern Scientific Uses, Volume 2.
Hussain, A. I., Anwar, F., Nigam, P. S., Ashraf, M. & Gilani, A.H. (2010). Seasonal variation in content, chemical composition and antimicrobial and cytotoxic activities of essential oils from four Mentha species. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture. 90 (11): 1827–36.