Thursday, May 5, 2011
Mint (Minta Spacata) or Pudina is a plant that has been long known in diverse cultures, such as India, Middle East and Europe, because of its rich aroma, soothing flavor and curative properties.Mint was so revered by the ancient Greeks that they named the plant after the mythical character Minthe. It is cultivated all across the globe, in different forms of environments, and comes in many varieties, like peppermint, spearmint, etc. Generally, mint has a sweet flavor, with a cooling after-sensation. Both, fresh and dried mint finds its usage in preparing a large number of recipes, including curries, soups, chutneys, salads, juices, candies and ice creams.
Mint is known to have originated in Asia and the Mediterranean region. In many cultures, mint symbolised hospitality and was offered as a sign of welcome and friendship to guests as they arrived. In the Middle East mint tea is still served to guests on their arrival, whilst in ancient Greece, the leaves of mint were rubbed onto the dining table, which was a sign of their warm greeting.
Mint is widely used in commercially manufactured products, cooking and medicine for its aromatic and flavoursome qualities.
It is widely made into green chutney
and eaten with a variety of Indian dishes like dahi halle
and pakoras. Come Summers you'll find vendors selling mint flavored desi drinks
which make a great thirst quencher.
Peppermint, one of the most popular species of the mint plant, can be found in toothpaste, chewing gum, mouthwash, soaps, sweets, balms or creams and cough medicine.
Apart from peppermint, spearmint is probably the most widely used species of mint. It is not as strong as peppermint in flavour and is therefore used in cooking and added to sauces, dressings, cakes and can be added as a garnish to dish
Mint has high nutritional value.Mint contains a number of vitamins and minerals, which are vital to maintain a healthy body. Mint is rich in Vitamins A and C and also contains smaller amounts of Vitamin B2. Vitamin C is an important antioxidant and may help to decrease the risk of certain cancers such as colon and rectal cancer. Although mint may be consumed in small quantities, the vital nutrients obtained are still beneficial to one's health.
Mint also contains folic acid, thiamine and riboflavin, as well as, minerals such as, calcium, copper, fluoride, iron, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium and zinc.
Mint has always been used medicinally to aid digestion and relieve indigestion.
If you suffer from frequent indigestion, drinking a cup of peppermint tea
after your meal may help.
The chemical compound menthol, which is obtained from peppermint oil, is well known for its healing properties on the chest and respiratory system.
Mint is also said and in many cases proven to:
Dried mint leaves, boiled in water, form a strong concoction that helps in soothing the digestive tract and easing the severity of stomachaches.
Drinking herbal mint tea reduces irritated bowel syndromes and cleanses the stomach.
Mint is a strong diuretic and therefore, helps in eliminating toxins from the body.
When included in the diet on a regular basis, mint reduces the growth of bacteria and fungus in the body.
The antifungal properties associated with mint help in curing asthma and other allergic conditions.
Crushed mint leaves helps in whitening teeth.
Mint helps in getting rid of headaches and migraines.
Inhaling mint gives relief from congestion problems, like sinus infections and common cold.
Due to the presence of essential oil called menthol, mint finds its usage in preparing a variety of cosmetics and perfumes.
Inhaling essential oil of mint provides a sense of calm and thus, helps one relax the mind.
Menthol present in mint makes it an important component of many medicines and drugs.
Mint finds extensive usage in the field of aromatherapy.
Mint has antipruritic or anti-itch properties. When added with camphor, it helps to cure insect stings and bites.
Various researches indicate mint as having anti-cancer properties. The phytonutrient, called perillyl alcohol, in mint is believed to prevent colon, skin and lung cancer.
The best possible method to relish this herb is cut the leaves in minute portions
and garnishes the meals.
So this Summer include MINT in your diet and eat your way to good health!