Science-Backed Health Benefits of Mint Tea

Health Benefits of Mint Tea

Mint tea is a fresh, healthy, aromatic beverage that is delicious when served either hot or cold. It is mostly loved by everyone, as it is caffeine-free and too offers various medicinal properties that support your health.

Mint has been used for centuries to refresh you and soothe digestive issues. Mint not only aids digestion but also helps in relaxing. They are rich in aromatic menthol that helps wake up the senses and provides refreshment. It’s no wonder mint is one of the most widely consumed herbal teas across the world. Not surprisingly, mint tea is one of the most popular herbal teas used widely in the world. 

What is Mint?

Mint plants belong to the Lamiaceae family, which is also called the Mentha family. There are 24 different species of herbs are available in the world, among them peppermint and spearmint are the most popular.

Spearmint, scientifically called, Mentha spicata is a green, leafy herb native to Europe and Asia. It is adapted to temperate climates around the world. Spearmint got its name due to the presence of “spear-like” leaves in the plant. It has been used widely in cuisines for its scent and flavor. But now they were used in products like chewing gum, toothpaste, and shaving creams.

On the other hand, peppermint is a hybrid variety of spearmint and watermint. It has got its name for its “pepper-like” flavor. It was originated in the Middle East and Europe, but now it has spread throughout the world. Peppermint is used commonly in candies and baked goods.

Both peppermint and spearmint are like twin sisters, but peppermint always shines like a star in any recipe. We can easily distinguish them by their fresh scent and flavor. 

Other than refreshing flavors and aromas, mint teas offer several potential health benefits. Keep going to find out what are they!

Why is mint tea so special?

Mint tea is a traditional herbal tea that is celebrated in many cultures, including Morocco. In Moroccan culture, people commonly serve mint tea for guests. You can enjoy it at all times of the day. In earlier days, mint tea was prepared from the wild mint leaves to relieve stomach upset. But you can also prepare mint tea from any mint leaves like peppermint, spearmint, or orange mint. The aroma and flavor slightly differ in all of these. 

Mint tea can be consumed either hot or cold. Iced mint tea is very special during the hot summer months that provides cool refreshments. While hot mint tea is for the cold winter months. It offers great comfort and relaxation.

Nutrients Present in Mint Tea

The mint family is packed with aromatic essential oils that give a distinctive scent and taste to the tea. These essential oils such as menthol also offer many beneficial effects and have been in use over years. Menthol has a cooling, soothing, and calming effect on the digestive system, respiratory, and nervous systems. 

Mint leaves are loaded with high amounts of antioxidants, anti-inflammatories, vitamin C, and other vitamins and minerals. However, the amount of these nutrients found in a cup of tea is very low. Why does it happen? Because some nutrients are removed from the leaves when prepared into tea. So don’t steep the leaves for more than 10 minutes. 

How to Prepare Mint Tea

Mint teas are sold as loose-leaf, powders, or in the form of teabags. So you can choose any of them for preparing tea. Or simply grow a mint plant in a small pot or in your backyard. Mint teas are also available separately as green tea, peppermint tea, spearmint tea, etc. Green tea contains caffeine while other herbal mint teas do not include caffeine. So the choice is yours. 

Preparing mint tea from the fresh ingredient is more beneficial than the packed ones.  It is quite easy and takes just a few minutes to prepare mint tea. The steps are as follows;

  • Boil two cups of water.
  • Turn off the flame and add a handful of torn mint leaves.
  • Cover and steep it for five minutes.
  • Strain and drink.

Note: Don’t steep too long for more than 10 minutes, because it might start developing a bitter taste.

Health Benefits of Mint Tea

Both spearmint and peppermint leaves are used in equal proportions for mint tea. Depending on your personal preference, you can increase or decrease the proportions of mint leaves. 

Spearmint contains a natural chemical compound called carvone, which gives a mild flavor to the tea. This compound is also found in dill and caraway seeds. This gives a cool, sweet taste. 

On the other hand, peppermint is packed with menthone and menthol that give a sharp, spicy flavor. If you want to know personally about the health benefits of peppermint tea, then check out here.

Both the leaves offer various health benefits. But here we’ll deal with the common health benefits of mint tea containing both spearmint and peppermint leaves.

Eases Digestive Issues

The peppermint in tea helps in relieving stomach upsets. In some cases, it has been found that peppermint has the ability to relieve the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). 

How does it settle your stomach? This causes the stomach muscles to relax and improves the flow of bile juice, which helps in the digestion process. So that the food gets digested quickly and passes through the stomach faster. 

For this reason, mint tea has been used widely in the traditions of ancient Greece, Traditional Chinese Medicine, and Ayurvedic medicine. Now in the modern era, various human and animal studies have been done to prove this effect and it has gone successfully. 

One animal study has found that peppermint spearmint, both support healthy digestion as well as digestive comfort. They help in the relaxation of smooth muscle and eases unpleasant sensations. Thus it calms the digestive cramping and makes you feel more comfortable after a meal.

However, you should not consume mint tea, if you have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), because it might acts as an irritant and make it even worse.

Relief From Cold

Mint tea is a traditional remedy to relieve cold and flu symptoms. The aroma of mint tea has a unique ability to open nasal pathways. Menthol, a natural compound found in peppermint has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that contribute in relieving the symptoms of cold and flu. Some studies have observed that menthol has anti-viral properties too, but studies have not suggested that menthol can cure flu or the common cold.

Best Refreshing Agent

When Pitta becomes aggravated during the summer months, consume mint tea to keep yourself cool. As it possesses cooling properties, it cools your body, refreshes, and keeps you more energetic throughout the day. So try to add fresh mint, not only in tea but also to all other drinks, especially in the summer.

Supports Memory and Concentration

According to some studies, both peppermint and spearmint may support cognition and healthy brain function. In a study of older adults, researchers have found that people who have been given spearmint extract have shown a remarkable improvement in memory. 

A mouse study has also shown a large increase in working memory. Here, the mice were given a spearmint extract and they performed better in a maze test which indicates better memory.

And in the 2018 trial published in the journal Nutrients, 24 young, healthy people were selected and they performed better on cognitive tests than those who’ve taken a placebo. After taking peppermint oil capsules they had also experienced less fatigue. 

The aroma of mint tea has also been shown to be beneficial. It has also been proved scientifically in a study with 144 subjects. In that study, researchers found that smelling the fragrance of peppermint essential oils has supported alertness and memory.

Most of the research was performed with mint essential oils instead of mint tea. However, mint tea also offers these beneficial effects, but more scientific evidence is needed regarding mint tea.

Supports Fresh Breath

Nowadays, both peppermint and spearmint are used as common flavorings in many products. Do you know why? The reason behind it is both peppermint and spearmint have a sweet, powerful aroma, which immediately freshens up your breath. Also, it boasts anti-bacterial properties that can kill harmful bacterias. And so, these mint leaves are used in commercial products like mouthwash, toothpaste, and gum. 

In a study, young women who used a mouth rinse containing peppermint for one week had fresher breath compared to those in the control group.

Supports Healthy Immune Function

Peppermint also contains rosmarinic acid, which is a natural compound found in herbs like rosemary and various other mint species.

Human and animal studies suggested that rosmarinic acid in peppermint tea may support healthy immune function as well as the body’s natural anti-inflammatory response.

Packed full of Antioxidants

Both peppermint and spearmint plants are loaded with full of antioxidants that help to protect your body from damages and also repairs it. Also, eating plant-based antioxidants may support cell signaling, cell survival, and a healthy metabolism.

Spearmint is highly rich in natural antioxidants including flavones, flavanones, rosmarinic acid, including menthol, limonene, and vitamin C (ascorbic acid).

While peppermint holds rosmarinic acid, caffeic acid, menthol, menthone, flavones, flavanones, terpenes, and vitamin C. Therefore, mint tea prepared from any of the leaves can support cell damage and improves body metabolism.

Treats Hormonal Imbalance

Both spearmint and peppermint tea may support natural, healthy hormone levels, especially in women. The cooling and soothing properties of mint tea can treat women’s health issues such as menstrual cramping. They calm and soothe your pain by giving complete relaxation.  

Clears Nasal Congestion

Mint tea was traditionally consumed hot to treat respiratory infections. Inhaling the steam of mint tea can help you clear nasal congestion. So don’t forget to inhale the steam while drinking the tea.

Other Possible Health Benefits

Mint tea also has other benefits, but this is just a belief and has not been proved scientifically. In most cases, these benefits are achieved only by peppermint oil or its capsules. Studies have not determined the same results with mint tea. Some of these benefits include:

  • Enhances sleep
  • Relieves from stress, tension, anxiety, and frustration
  • Treats headaches
  • Soothes muscular soreness and menstrual pain

Peppermint vs. Spearmint

As we have just learned the health benefits of mint tea containing both peppermint and spearmint, both are not always mutually exclusive. However, the respective flavors of both are very distinct.

Spearmint has a sweet, cool, and subtle flavor. That’s why spearmint is used in culinary cuisines that accompany savory dishes like tzatziki sauce in Greek cuisine. While peppermint has a tingly, spicy flavor and so it is added to many recipes like candy canes, mint bark, etc.

Their flavors differ due to the presence of different natural compounds that occur in each mint species. The most abundant compound in spearmint is the carvone, which gives a distinctive smell to the spearmint. It is also found in the seeds of dill and caraway. And along with carvone, it also boasts dihydrocarvone and limonene that too help prominently in the scent and flavor profile of spearmint.

In contrast, peppermint is an abundant source of menthol, which is 40 times more than spearmint. Menthol and its related compounds such as menthone and menthyl acetate give a powerful, punchy character to peppermint.

But perhaps, neither peppermint nor spearmint in mint tea gives you side effects. So you can add it to your diet without any confusion. 

Side Effects

As mint tea is a healthy herbal tea, it does not cause any side effects. But if you’re primarily interested in having this refreshing minty taste treat, consult your medical advisor for the proportions to use daily. 

Mint has the ability to cure nausea which is often experienced by pregnant women. So mint tea can support during pregnancy, but it is always better to consult the doctor before using it.

Closing Thoughts

Both peppermint and spearmint are flavorful herbs, yet delicious with various potential health benefits. The antioxidants and other natural active compounds present in them may support digestion, dental hygiene, cognition, hormonal balance, and healthy immune function.

If you want to treat your taste buds with mint tea, then just go for it and gain all its health benefits. Mint tea is available in the form of dried mint leaves and tea bags. You can also grow it on your own. It is quite easy and inexpensive. 

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