Image adapted from Courtbean, Flickr, (CC BY 2.0)

What’s cooling, refreshing, just a bit spicy, and sadly has become synonymous with just toothpaste and chewing gum? If you guessed peppermint, you’re right on the money. But why, you wonder, is it unfortunate that peppermint is associated with mouth care? Because it’s such a gem in the kitchen, and so often overlooked! Here are 5 reasons you need to get cooking with mint this season.

  1. Speed up your digestion. Eat one too many avocado tacos with dinner? Peppermint can boost your digestion by relaxing the stomach muscles and getting things moving smoothly again.
  2. Ease tummy bloat. Not only is that extra taco sitting like a brick ball in your stomach, it’s now giving you gas as well. Once again, peppermint can help. By relaxing the stomach muscles, tummy bloat and gas can help move flatulence along its due course, helping you to not only digest faster, but also get the gas out when need be.
  3. Help relieve cold, flu, and congestion symptoms. Peppermint contains menthol, which acts as both a decongestant and expectorant, so it can provide relief when you’ve got a cough, sore throat, or general chest uckiness.
  4. It’s incredibly easy to grow. Mint is unarguably one of the easiest herbs—and culinary plants in general—to grow at home. Toss it in a garden, a patio planter, or even a windowsill box, and watch it take off. Mint actually grows so proficiently that it has a habit of taking over the soil if planted with other greens, so bear that in mind if planting alongside other herbs or vegetables.
  5. There are several varieties to experiment with. There are other varieties of mint beyond peppermint, and they’re all equally delicious. Peppermint is the familiar flavor of mint candies, and has the classic menthol aroma you get with chest rub or cough medicine. Spearmint is the type that gum is fashioned after, and is a bit milder than peppermint. Use it with teas, jams, and savory dishes. Chocolate mint—does this really need any explanation?—can be used in all sorts of dessert recipes, as well as cocktails and fruit smoothies.

Sources:

https://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/peppermint

http://everythingmint.com/

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10 Growing Tips & Uses For Chocolate Mint

10 Unusual Home Remedies and Uses for Mint

Image adapted from Courtbean, Flickr, (CC BY 2.0)