The vast majority of studies on mint were performed on oil extracted from this plant rather than the consumption of the leaves. This section will discuss fresh, dried or infused mint leaves. It is important to consider that studies on mint leaves use different varieties of mints, which are not all commonly consumed in the West.
Mint: understand everything in 2 min
Active Ingredients and Properties
Herbs are not usually consumed in large quantities. Used as seasonings, they can not provide all the health benefits attributed to them. The addition of herbs in a regular and significant way to food helps to contribute, if only minimally, to the intake of antioxidants from the diet. On the other hand, herbal consumption alone can not meet the antioxidant needs of the body.
The majority of herbal studies were conducted in animals from plant extracts. The extract is used to be able to isolate and concentrate the active ingredients, as well as to understand the mechanisms of action. In humans, it is difficult to evaluate the health effects of herbal consumption since the quantities consumed are generally low.
Infusion of Mint Leaves
Researchers have noticed that when the peppermint leaf is eaten as an infusion 75% of its phenolic compounds are found in the tea 8 . The infusions of mint leaves would therefore retain a good deal of their antioxidant capacity.
Antioxidants. Antioxidants are compounds that reduce the damage caused by free radicals in the body. These are very reactive molecules that would be involved in the development of cardiovascular diseases, certain cancers and other diseases related to aging. Some researchers have evaluated the antioxidant capacity of herbs and all agree that fresh herbs have a non-negligible antioxidant capacity, sometimes even higher than that of certain fruits and vegetables 1-3 . This shows that, indeed, the addition of herbs regularly in the diet contributes to the intake of antioxidants. More specifically, the main antioxidant compounds of peppermint are rosmarinic acid as well as various flavonoids .
Cardiovascular diseases. A study demonstrated that field mint delayed LDL cholesterol oxidation (bad cholesterol) in vitro . Interestingly, its ability to prevent the oxidation process would be superior to that of nine other plants, such as sweet potato and papaya. Let’s remember that the oxidation of LDL cholesterol in the blood is a major risk factor for cardiovascular diseases. Surprisingly, the inhibition of LDL cholesterol oxidation by the different plants under study was not related to their flavonoid content and the results obtained did not demonstrate which compounds were responsible for the observed effect. . We must be vigilant before concluding that mint protects against cardiovascular disease since no clinical study has yet been conducted on the subject.
Most Important Nutrients
Iron. Dried Spearmint is a iron source for the female and a good source iron for the man . As for fresh spearmint, it is a source iron for the man , but only fills 4% of the daily needs of a woman. It should be noted that the iron contained in mint, as in other plants, is not as well absorbed by the body as iron contained in foods of animal origin. However, plant iron absorption is favored if it is consumed with certain nutrients such as vitamin C. Iron is essential for the transport of oxygen and the formation of red blood cells in the blood. It also plays a role in the manufacture of new cells, hormones and neurotransmitters.
Manganese . Dried Spearmint is a source of manganese. Manganese acts as a cofactor of several enzymes that facilitate a dozen different metabolic processes. He also participates in the prevention of damage caused by free radicals. There is no recommended dietary allowance for manganese, but sufficient intake.
|What is a “serving” of mint worth?|
|Weight / Volume||Fresh peppermint, 15 ml / 2 g||Fresh green mint, 15 ml / 6 g||Mint dried green, 15 ml / 2 g|
|Proteins||0.1 g||0.2 g||0.3 g|
|0.2 g||0.5 g||0.8 g|
|Lipids||0.0 g||0.0 g||0.1 g|
|Dietary Fiber||0.1 g||0.4 g||0.5 g|
Source : Health Canada. Canadian Nutrient File , 2005.
Like tea, the mint tea would decrease iron absorption in the body 6 . In the intestine, the phenolic compounds of these drinks would form a complex with iron, preventing its absorption. The mint tea should preferably be consumed at least one hour before or after a meal , in order to allow optimal absorption of the iron contained in this meal. This is especially important for people with higher iron needs (anemia, pregnancy , breastfeeding , etc.).
There is insufficient scientific evidence to demonstrate the safety of various herbal teas during pregnancy and lactation. Health Canada therefore recommends that pregnant women exercise restraint on the consumption of various herbal teas, such as herbal teas or herbal teas. Women should use these products with caution and critically review information about their alleged benefits. Although mint (herbal tea or infusion) is commonly used against morning sickness, it should not be used in the first trimester of pregnancy unless medically indicated 7 .
Mint contains volatile acids that decrease the resting tension of the lower esophageal sphincter, thus causing reflux of stomach contents into the esophagus. People suffering from gastroesophageal reflux, esophagitis peptic or hiatal hernia should therefore avoid consuming mint or mint tea, particularly before or after a meal.
Fresh mint contains significant amounts of vitamin K. This vitamin, which is necessary for coagulation of blood, can be manufactured by the body and can be found in certain foods. People taking anticoagulant drugs , for example those marketed under the names Coumadin ® , Warfilone ® and Sintrom ® , must to adopt a diet in which vitamin K content is relatively stable from one day to another. Herbs, including mint, contain vitamin K and should therefore be used as seasoning only . It is advisable for people on anticoagulation to consult a dietitian-nutritionist or a doctor in order to know the food sources of vitamin K and ensure a daily intake as stable as possible.
Health Profile Section
Research and Writing : Caroline Trudeau, Dt .P., Nutritionist, Institute of Nutraceuticals and Functional Foods (INAF), Laval University
Scientific Review : Louise Corneau, RD M.Sc., Institute of Nutraceuticals and Functional Foods (INAF), Laval University
Mint over time
The term ” mint ” appeared in the language in 1275. It comes from the Latin mentha , which borrowed it from the Greek minthê . Legend has it that it was, originally, the name of a nymph that the god Hades pursued his assiduities. But the wife of Hades did not hear it in this way and planned to kill the young Mint, which Hades saved by turning it into a plant.
The word “mint” is sometimes misleading because it can refer to plants belonging to a different kind, or family, botanical. So is the Vietnamese mint , which sometimes refers to a kind of mint, sometimes a polygonaceae. As for the mint cock , it is a balsamite, while the mint cats is actually the catnip. True mints belong to the genus Mentha .
Unwise, the hybrid mint
Many hybrid mints do not produce seeds. In the tradition, this has given rise to a certain suspicion towards them, a seedless plant being like a childless bride. “Do not listen to mint,” says a proverb, “because it flowers without making seeds. Listen instead to sage, which with its many seeds, is much better advice.
We do not know much about the origins of mint, except that it comes from a vast region encompassing northern Africa, the Mediterranean basin and the West of Asia, that it was known of the Egyptians, Hebrews, Greeks and Romans, and that it was cultivated from the IX e century in the gardens of the convents and monasteries of Europe. Nor is it certain of the exact number of species belonging to the genus Mentha , because they easily cross each other and have given rise to many natural hybrids. peppermint is one of these hybrids; it was born spontaneously from the cross between Aquatic Mint and Spearmint and was cultivated for the first time in England in the eighteenth century e , then in the rest of Europe and North Africa.
Mints have spread to all the temperate countries of the world and in many places are considered weeds. Peppermint and spearmint are grown on a large scale, but other species are produced marginally. Depending on the variety, their flavor is vaguely reminiscent of pineapple, apple, orange, banana, grapefruit, chocolate or … cologne.
An essential oil is extracted from mint and is used in the manufacture of confectionery and liqueurs, or used for the production of menthol, which is widely used in the pharmaceutical industry.
Choosing the Right Choice
Spearmint is the most commonly used cooking and it is therefore especially she found in the trade. Its leaves should be very fresh, green, without spots or yellowing.
Discover our recipe for taboulé with mint .
Too many varieties for monks?
At the IX e century, so many varieties of mints were known, that a monk wrote that he preferred to have to count the sparks of the Vulcan furnace rather than to try to count them.
- Add some fresh mint leaves to fruit salads , juice or shakes. Use in ice creams, sherbets or frozen yogurts.
- It is also excellent in vegetable salads, for example in a salad of green beans cooked a few minutes and cut into sections, to which will be added thin slices of red onion, feta cheese, some dry roasted nuts in the pan, and a good amount of chopped mint leaves. Sprinkle with the vinaigrette of your choice.
- Taboulé. This salad is made with bulgur, diced tomatoes, chopped onion, lemon juice, olive oil, mint and chopped fresh parsley. In the absence of fresh mint, we will take dried mint.
- Season baked potatoes, carrots, peas or small braised onions. Mint will also enhance green pea soup .
- Raita Indian . Finely chop fresh mint leaves, onion and a small red or green pepper, and mix with plain yogurt. Salt, pepper, chill and serve with a curry of meat or vegetables.
- Sprinkle with dried mint on hoummos or spreads.
- Jelly or mint sauce is a classic accompaniment to lamb and mutton.
- Chorba . This Algerian soup has many variations. Sauté chopped onions and garlic in butter or olive oil, add, if desired, cubes of lamb (neck or shoulder), and brown well. Add water, peeled and seeded tomatoes, a few spoonfuls of tomato paste and pre-soaked or canned chickpeas and cook until tender. Then add bulgur, chopped coriander and mint leaves, and cook for about 20 minutes.
- Soup with lettuce. An ideal recipe for using withered lettuce. Sauté onions in oil or butter, add minced lettuce and mint, cook for about 10 minutes then add a little flour to thicken, milk and broth. Season with salt and pepper, cook for about 15 minutes and blend in the blender. Serve with a dollop of crème fraîche, sour cream or yogurt.
- Khmeli suneli. The composition of this spice blend from Georgia varies from region to region. The following blend is a classic: pepper, saffron, savory, basil, marjoram, parsley and dried dill, to which are added fresh leaves of mint and coriander. It is used in many dishes – stuffed cabbage leaves, grilled meats or beans dishes – and for making a sauce with walnuts and sour fruit that is served with fish or eggplant fries.
- Cheese and mint omelette. Separate the egg yolks from the whites, beat them and add them to the first ones. Pour the mixture into a buttered or oiled pan, add grated cheese and chopped mint, salt and pepper. Cook a few minutes then fold the omelette and finish cooking.
- Spicy Thai chicken salad. Mince finely chicken breast and sauté in oil. Put in a salad bowl, add fish sauce and lime juice and mix well. Add chopped coriander and mint leaves, green onion, a paste of crushed garlic and pepper and a spoonful of grilled rice flour (if not, dry some rice in a stove and we will go to the coffee grinder). Serve on lettuce or thin strips of Chinese cabbage.
- Vietnamese spring rolls. Stuffing rehydrated rice cakes with lettuce leaf, large cooked shrimp, carrot strips, soy sprouts, spring onion and fresh mint leaves. Roll the cake, taking care to fold the sides to enclose the filling. Serve with a sauce made of soy sauce, lemon juice, minced garlic, salt and pepper.
- Honey with mint. Add 1 tbsp. mint in 250 ml honey. Let macerate for three weeks in a warm place. Then put on the fire to melt, pass and return the honey in his jar.
- mint green tea is surprisingly refreshing during the summer. It can be drunk hot or cold. Put 1 tbsp. topping green tea in a small teapot, add a little boiling water, then a bundle of fresh mint and fill with boiling water. In the Maghreb, we add a good amount of sugar to the preparation, but we can replace with honey or omit entirely the sweeteners.
- Mint is a perfect match for chocolate . It can therefore be added to any dessert where it is used. Just infuse it for ten minutes in the hot liquid – water, milk, cream – from the recipe. Decorate the dessert with chopped leaves.
Fresh: from a few days to a week in the refrigerator. The most efficient way to preserve the leaves is to wrap them in a damp paper towel, which is then placed in a plastic bag. They can also be frozen by spreading them on a plate before enclosing them in a plastic bag. Or, chop them and put them in an ice cube tray with water.
Dried: in an airtight container, cool, dry and protected from light. Your extra fresh mint can be easily dried by ridding the stems of their leaves and putting the stalks on a nylon mosquito net. Do not powder them until they are used to preserve their aroma longer.
Macerated: chop the leaves and put them in oil or vinegar. Let macerate one or two weeks, then filter.
Since seeds do not always work well, mints are usually vegetatively propagated (division of roots or plants, rhizome planting). Garden centers offer seedlings of various varieties.
Choose a damp, but dripping, place in a partially shaded part of the garden.
In good conditions, mint spreads quickly and can become invasive. It can be contained by planting it in large pots or by surrounding it with a 5 cm to 10 cm deep strip of metal in the soil and protruding 12 cm to 15 cm.
It is recommended to change the place to three or four years. Divide the roots in the spring or fall.
You can harvest some leaves throughout the season. The main crop will be when the plants begin to bloom. Freeze or dry the surplus.
Ecology and the Environment
The mint against the weevil
Studies indicate that menthone, one of the constituents of field mint, could replace chemical fumigants used in the fight against rice weevil, an insect that causes significant damage to rice, wheat and of flour. Menthone leaves no toxic residue, does not affect grain quality, is neither flammable nor corrosive and can easily be removed by ventilation.
The fight against the mosquito that causes malaria is a real challenge. The use of chemical insecticides is tricky, partly because they are the cause of major pollution in areas where malaria is epidemic, secondly because the insects eventually become resistant and it is necessary constantly changing products.
However, Indian researchers have discovered that mint oil can repel and kill insects. It is enough to spread it on the ponds in which the adults reproduce so that in the space of a day, 85% of the larvae are destroyed. Although the quantities needed to treat infested areas are high, mint has the advantage of being very easy to grow.
Moreover, the extraction of gasoline, which requires rudimentary and inexpensive means, can be done on site by the villagers themselves. According to the researchers, the essence of mint could also protect against the Nile virus, filariasis and dengue, all diseases transmitted by mosquito bites.