Mint tea is more than a flavored drink that we can occasionally savor due to its pleasant taste. Studies have shown that this plant has an incredibly powerful and diverse therapeutic potential.
Ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans used mint thousands of years ago, both for cooking purposes, as well as a healing ingredient. Due to its perfume and strong aroma, it is included today in numerous body products (toothpaste, soap, cosmetics, mouthwash), as well as various food products (ice cream, candy).
In traditional medicine, mint is used as a remedy for gastrointestinal problems (flatulence, nausea, indigestion, irritable bowel syndrome), depression, anxiety, menstrual pain, headaches, muscle pain, cold and neuralgia.
Research has shown numerous possibilities of using mint, either in aromatherapy, locally or internal treatments.
A new study has shown that mint tea is not only suitable for calming headaches, but also for improving short and long-term memory. The effect of memory stimulation is extremely fast (it appears 20 minutes after consuming mint tea)
What studies say
Researchers from the University of Northumbria, UK, randomly selected 180 healthy people to take part in their study. They were divided into three groups: one group drank mint tea, another drank chamomile tea, while the last one drank plain warm water.
The results of the tests showed that the participants consuming mint tea had the best memory out of them all. The tea increased not only short and long term memory but also their ability to focus compared to the other liquids.
Chamomile tea, which is known for its calming and slightly sedative effect, had the opposite effect compared to mint tea and warm water: it actually reduced the attention span and memory of those consuming it.
Another research from 2008, lead by one the authors of the study we just mentioned, has shown that simply smelling the mint flavor enhances memory and attention spans. Researchers have exposed 144 persons to two types of essential oils: ylang-ylang and peppermint essential oil. Cognitive tests revealed that inhaling the aroma of mint improved memory and vigilance, while ylang-ylang had the opposite effect.
Another study, done at the Leiden University from the Netherlands, showed that peppermint essential oil induces a notable ability to focus better after being used in aromatherapy.
Some of the main beneficial compounds in mint are menthol, menthone, menthyl acetate, methanofuran and limonene. These have digestion promoting effects, on top of providing slight antibiotic and antifungal abilities, calming the muscle and nervous pains, acting as anti-inflammatories when it comes to the digestive tract as well.
Essential mint oil is especially effective at reducing headaches caused by tension, working both for adults and children. It is used to massage the forehead and temples. Special care should be taken to dilute the oils and avoid consuming them unless it is specifically mentioned on the label that they are for internal use.
Overall, mint provides more benefits than you may have thought. Beyond the attractive scent and taste that makes it common in numerous products, there is a true medicinal plant to be found.