Mint is one of the oldest and most popular herbs that is grown around the world. It belongs to the mint family along with basil. Lamiaceae or mint family includes 15 to 20 different mint species.  Peppermint and spearmint are popular varieties of mint known for their strong and refreshing flavour. 

Mint plant grows fast and doesn't need much care. It has small aromatic leaves and a slender stem. Mint plant can easily be grown in containers or pots and it thrives well in both indoor and outdoor environments.

 Mint grown in the Asiatic region is much more strongly flavored as compared to the most European mints, which carry a sweet and cool aftertaste. The sweet and fresh mint aroma is used in a variety of dishes ranging from stuffing to fruit salads. It is an essential ingredient in many Indian as well as Middle Eastern recipes. It is mixed with plain yogurt and is popularly called raita. Mint can also be brewed with tea making the famous Indian Pudina Chai. It is also added as a flavouring agent in soups and to some spiced curries in Thai cooking.

But this mint isn't just a flavouring agent. Mint has abundant amounts of antioxidants. The cosmetic and medical industry often uses the aromatic chemicals and essential oils extracted from the mint leaves. Mint leaves are an important source of menthol which has various pharmaceutical and cosmetic uses.

Some basic facts about Mint:

  • Scientific name: Mentha
  • Family Name: Lamiaceae
  • Common name: Pudina, Mint
  • Sanskrit Name:  Laksmigrha
  • Native Region and Geographical Distribution: The largest producers of mint and mint related products such as mint oil are the US, India, and China.
  • Interesting fact: Mint produces a fruit called nutlet. The fruit usually contains about 4 seeds.
  1. Mint nutrition facts
  2. Mint health benefits
  3. Mint side effects
  4. Takeaway

Mint is a popular herb that is rich in vitamins A, B2 and B9. It is also packed with other essential minerals such as calcium, potassium, and magnesium. It also has very high levels of antioxidants. Mint oil is usually used in toothpaste, candies and beauty products.

The nutritional value of mint (Spearmint) per 100 grams according to the USDA Nutrient Database is as follows.

Nutrients Value per 100g
Water 85.55 g
Energy 44 kcal
Protein 3.29 g
Fats 0.73 g
Carbohydrates 8.41 g
Fiber 6.8 g


Minerals Value per 100 g
Calcium 199 mg
Iron 11.87 mg
Magnesium 63 mg
Phosphorus 60 mg
Potassium 458 mg
Sodium 30 mg
Zinc 1.09 mg


Vitamins Value per 100 g
Vitamin A 203 µg
Vitamin B1 0.078 mg
Vitamin B2 0.175 mg
Vitamin B3 0.948 mg
Vitamin B6 0.158 mg
Vitamin B9 105 µg
Vitamin C 13.3 mg


Fats/ Fatty acids Value per 100 g
Saturated 0.191 g
Monounsaturated 0.025 g
Polyunsaturated 0.394 g

Mint for bad breath

Bad breath or halitosis is a common condition that is caused due to certain foods and lifestyle habits such as smoking. Certain oral diseases may also cause bad breath. A clinical study reported that regular use of peppermint mouth rinse can reduce bad breath significantly. Chewing mint leaves, gargling with mint water or sugar-free mint chewing gums could also be effective in preventing bad breath.

Mint for weight loss

There could be various reasons why someone gains weight. Some of the most common reasons include overeating, physical inactivity, and stress. So, one can easily lose weight by involving themselves in physical activities and making necessary changes to their diet plan. Including natural products and herbs such as mint to the diet can help one lose weight naturally.

A study shows that herbal teas such as peppermint tea increase fluid consumption which is very beneficial in maintaining a healthy weight. Furthermore, it increases the secretion of digestive juices which helps in weight loss by increasing metabolism.

Further research shows that including adaptogenic herbs such as mint can also aid in weight loss. 

(Read more: Diet chart for weight loss)

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Mint improves brain function

Mint essential oils are often used in aromatherapy as a revitalizer and mood booster. Aromatherapy is a type of alternative therapy wherein the extract from herbs are inhaled through the mouth or nose. Some molecules from essential oils can get absorbed in the skin so they are also be applied topically to reap their health benefits. Rarely, these oils are consumed although it is not considered very safe to do this.

Research shows that mint oil can help improve brain functions and boosts memory. A study done on 144 people claims that peppermint oil aroma helped increase the memory and improves mood. Another study showed that inhaling mint oils during driving improved alertness and decreased frustration and fatigue in drivers.

Mint possess antimicrobial activity

Several studies have been done to test the amicrobial action of mint and mint oil. It has been found that mint extracts exhibit potent antibacterial action against a wide range of bacteria including Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli. An older study suggests that mint essential oil has a chemical compound known as p-menthane which is an excellent antimicrobial.

According to a study published in the Arabian Journal of chemistry, the antimicrobial action of peppermint oil is similar to that of gentamycin (a well known antibacterial drug).

Candida albicans is a type of yeast that grows in the human gut. This fungus can cause urinary tract infection, digestive disorders, sinus infection and infection in the skin and nails. Peppermint oil is known for its antifungal properties. This activity of the peppermint oil is attributed to its inhibitory effects on yeast enzymes which play an important role in candida growth.

Mint as a painkiller

Painkillers are over-the-counter drugs that are effective against headache, menstrual cramps, body pain etc. But, like all other medicines, these medicines also come with side effects. Regular use of these painkillers can cause problems to the liver and kidneys. Due to side effects of these drugs, there has been a growing trend towards alternative therapies and herbal treatments.

Wild mint has been used as a painkiller by the local people of Turkey. Research suggests that mint can be an effective analgesic (painkiller). A study done on animal models showed that the menthol content of mint is responsible for its analgesic properties.

In a double-blind placebo, mint consumption has been found to be very beneficial in reducing period pain. which shows the potential of mint to be used as a painkiller without many side effects.

Mint for irritable bowel syndrome

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a condition that is characterised by abdominal discomfort, diarrhea, gas, and constipation. Research shows that mint can be effective to cure the symptoms of IBS. A review published in Phytomedicine suggests that peppermint oil is effective to ease the general symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. Another study claims that peppermint oil helps relieve the pain caused due to IBS by interfering in certain pain stimulating pathways in the body.

Mint relieves stress

Stress is a normal reaction of the body towards a threat or fear. But when someone feels stressed all the time, then that is something to worry about. Too much stress could lead to problems like hypertension, anxiety, headache etc. A preclinical study done to evaluate the effectiveness of mint as a stress reliever showed that there was a significant drop in the anxiety levels on consumption of mint extracts There was also a significant increase in the happiness hormone dopamine and mood-regulating hormone serotonin. However, more studies are needed to understand the effects of mint as an anti-stress agent in humans.

Mint for allegies

According to NIH, there has been an increase in the cases of common allergies in the last few decades. Allergies are the response to common airborne allergens like dust, pollens, and mold and it leads to symptoms like coughing, sneezing, and sinus infections.

Hay fever or allergic rhinitis is one such condition. It is caused by an allergic reaction to pollens or dust present in the air in certain months of the year. A preclinical study was conducted to identify how mint helps in relieving or reducing the nasal symptoms of allergic rhinitis. The results suggested that mint inhibits the release of allergy-causing compounds (histamines) thereby relieving the symptoms of rhinitis.

Another study suggests that the menthol present in mint helps in reducing nasal congestion, common cold, asthma etc. Additionally, the rosmarinic acid (RA) present in mint has also been reported to exhibit anti-allergen properties against seasonal allergic rhinoconjunctivitis that affects children.

(Read more: Types of allergic reactions)

Mint for breastfeeding mothers

Nipple pain and cracking are common among first time feeding mothers. This condition usually occurs in the first few weeks of breastfeeding and can be painful. Mint is a rich source of menthol which has been found to possess calming and numbing properties when applied externally.

Mint water is also known to exhibit some antibacterial property. Because of these properties, mint water is usually used externally to quickly heal skin wounds, itching, burns, and inflammation.

A study done on breastfeeding mothers showed that regular external application of peppermint water resulted in less or no nipple pain and it was also helpful in the prevention of nipple cracks. Since mint water is a natural substance, it is less likely to have adverse effects on the mother or the baby.

(Read more: Post pregnancy diet chart)

Mint as an anticancer agent

Cancer is a disease marked by an abnormal proliferation of body cells. In spite of so many available therapies, it continues to be one of the leading causes of death around the world.

Radiation therapy and chemotherapy, as treatments for cancer, are accompanied by their own set of side-effects. One major drawback of radiation therapy is that this method also harms the healthy tissues. A preclinical study showed that mint extract possesses radioprotective properties that can help protect the healthy tissue. This is attributed to the fact that mint possesses high levels of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties.

Another study showed that mint contains rosmarinic acid (RA), a natural antioxidant that is effective against different types of ailments and was particularly effective against human colon cancer cells.

  1. May cause asthma in patients sensitive to mint
    A few people may be hypersensitive to mint, although this is rare. A case study of a 54-year-old asthmatic woman showed that inhaling the scent of mint aggravated her condition. (Read more: Asthma symptoms)

  2. Mint may cause miscarriage in pregnant women
    Mint has been proved to have muscle relaxant properties. This is due to the stress relieving properties of mint. The menthol present in mint tends to relax the uterine muscles inducing miscarriage or premature delivery. Therefore, pregnant women are advised to consult a doctor before consuming mint.

  3. Peppermint oil may cause skin allergy
    People who are allergic to mint may develop skin rashes and irritation on topical application of peppermint oil.

  4. Peppermint oil should not be given to infants
    The menthol present in peppermint oil is considered unsafe for children and infants. As per the NIH, menthol inhalation may cause some serious side effects in infants.

Mint and mint derivatives have innumerable health benefits for human beings. It also adds a special flavor and aroma to the food. Mint prevents bad breath, reduces stress, aids weight loss and can help prevent allergies and asthma. However, one should be careful not to consume too much mint, since this might have adverse effects. It may cause skin allergy in people who are sensitive to mint and it is recommended that pregnant women consult a doctor before consuming mint.

Medicines / Products that contain Pudina


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