Mentha piperita, commonly known as mint, is a versatile plant that has been cultivated and used for centuries for different occasions such as indigestion, vertigo, gas and more. Mouthwashes and toothpastes are among the largest applications of mint, thanks to its ability to limit the growth of bacteria. However, the relaxing and relieving properties of peppermint have placed it at the forefront of herbs that are beneficial for treating respiratory disorders such as colds, coughs, throat irritation and reddening of the sinuses.
How Mint Works
Mint leaves contain rosmarinic acid, a phenol and several flavonoids. Mint oil contains the desired and effective menthol and mentone ingredients. The quality of the leaves is determined by the amount of menthol they contain. Mint growing in the US usually contains 70% menthol and also contains magnesium, vitamin A and C, copper, potassium, niacin, iron, iodine, sulfide and silicon. When it is inside the human body, mint shows actions against harmful organisms, it is also an antioxidant and has the potential to aid in respiratory problems
Mint and Common Respiratory Distress
Allergies and other respiratory problems can lead to congestion in the throat, nose, bronchi and lungs. The mint has an antihistamine effect, which accompanied by the strong and refreshing action of menthol makes it a useful decongestant. The book, “Aromatherapy: A Complete Guide to the Art of Healing,” mentions peppermint oil as a ketone, which means it is able to dilute mucus. For these reasons menthol is often found in inhalers and therapeutic balms.
Mint and Asthma
According to research published in the July 2010 issue of the Journal of Ethno pharmacology, it was discovered that peppermint oil has anti-thickening properties, antispasmodic (it helps to relax the smooth muscles of the respiratory tract) and expectorants. This study found that between 100-300 microorganisms present in peppermint oil relaxed the trachea in rats.
When the symptoms of asthma arise caused by the performance of a physical exercise is given the name of “exercise-induced asthma.” Dr. David Kiefer, a well-known writer and promoter of alternative medicine, suggests that peppermint helps reduce irritation and acts as a bronchodilator by clearing the respiratory ducts, decreasing shortness of breath.
It is considered that mint is safe in its consumption, unless there are specific allergies. Care must be taken when consuming essential oils in large quantities, as it can cause indigestion. Although peppermint is usually grown in the USA. And Europe, we should not assume that all supplements are organic. Only supplements that come from natural, organic and recognized sources should be consumed.
Other herbs that offer benefits to cleanse the lungs are: osha root, eucalyptus leaf, pulmonary leaf, oregano leaf, major plantain leaf, lobelia flower and governor.