Mint (Bo He)
Botanical Name: Mentha (Menthae haplocalyx, Mentha arvenis)
Mint has been historically enjoyed as a tea and food flavoring. It is a well known cooling herb that can promote sweating, ease colds and flus, and aide headaches, menstrual cramps and other aches and pains.
Below is an overview of mint, combining and interpreting the best of Western Science, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Shamanism, Folklore and more. Gain a balanced and thorough understanding of the healing properties of mint.
Western Name: Mint
Also Known As: Brandy Mint, English Mint
Organs/Systems: Head, Sinus, Skin, Stomach, Muscles
Key Western Actions & Medicinal Uses: Astringent, Antispetic, Antibacterial, Decongestant, Expectorant, Antiviral, Diaphoretic, Carminative, Stomachic, Stimulant. Stomach aches, chest pains, irratible bowel syndrome, aromatherapy, nausea, breath freshner, skin tonic, deoderant, gall stones, common cold, menstrual cramps, constricted muscles, aches and pains, hiccups, headaches, relieve stress.
Pin Yin: Bo He
Also Known As: N/A
Meridians: Lung, Liver
Key TCM Actions & Medicinal Uses: Cool Acrid Herb that Releases to Exterior/Disperses Wind Heat: colds due to wind heat patterns with fever, headache, cough, sore throat, and red itchy eyes. Vents Rashes: used in early stages of rashes (ie measles) to induce rash to surface and speed recovery. Frees Constrained Liver Qi with pressure in chest or flanks, emotional instability and gynecological problems. Considered strongest cooling herb to promote sweating.
Parts Most Frequently Used: Leaf, Tender Stalks
Flavors/Temps: Acrid, Aromatic, Cooling
Caution: Some people are allergic to mint. Not recommended for nursing mother’s as may lead to insufficient lactation.
History/Folklore: Known in Greek mythology as the herb of hospitality as it was one of the first herbs to be used as a room deodorizer. It was strewn across the floor to cover the smell of the hard-packed soil. Stepping on it helped spread the scent throughout the room. The name mint derives from the Greek name of the nymph Minthe (Pluto’s lover) who was transformed into a mint plant. The Greeks also used the plant to stop hiccups and clear the voice. Romans used it as a digestive aid and mouth freshener then introduced it to Britain. Likely taken to the U.S. by the pilgrims for cultivation and use. The ancient Pharisees received tithes of mint, anise and cumin, proving the herb’s high esteem in that culture. Culpepper said, “Rose leaves and mint, heated and applied outwardly cause rest and sleep.” He also said, “The decoction or distilled water, helps in the stinking breath proceeding from corruption of teeth; and stuffed up the nose, purges the head.” In the 14th century, mint was used to whiten teeth with the distilled oil used to flavor toothpastes; it was also added to candies and perfumed soaps. Mint is harvested at least two to three times a year, depending on the region.
Carvone, phellandrine, limonene, Dihydrocarvel acetate. Esters of acetic, butyric, and caprylic acid are also present.
Mints make excellent companion plants, repelling pesky insects and attracting beneficial ones. Often used as environmentally friendly insecticide to kill common pests like wasps, hornets, ants, and cockroaches.
To reduce the tannic and caffeine effects in your tea, use mint, spearmint, or peppermint sprigs while steeping your tea.
Three Chief Species
There are three chief species of mint in cultivation and general use: spearmint (M. viridis), peppermint (M. piperita), and pennyroyal (M. pulegium).
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