Yes, we’re talking about mint! The breath-saving, tummy-taming, taste-boosting mint. At Fantastic Gardeners, we love this refreshing plant and why wouldn’t we? It is fragrant, easy to grow, and has a myriad of beneficial uses in culinary arts, medicine, and cosmetics. Even bees love its rich nectar! Find out some of the most popular health benefits of this botanical wonder and see how to plant mint in the garden.
How to Plant Mint in the Garden
Growing a spearmint plant from seed is a daunting, almost impossible task. If you want to enjoy its refreshing aroma at home, you can either use a cutting from a plant, or purchase a seedling. The cutting should stay in water for a few days until it develops roots and is ready for planting. The mint plant is ideal for container gardening, whether you keep it on your kitchen window sill or outside on the patio.
Mint grows rapidly and easily spreads everywhere, so if you want to grow some in your garden, you have to place it in a container before planting to prevent it from taking over flower beds. Plants in containers should be positioned so that they get morning sun and afternoon shade and outdoor plants need moist soil and partial shade.
Sweet Mint Plant Care
Mint needs to be kept moist but not soaked. Trim the plant regularly to keep it in shape and stimulate more leaves growing to the side. Mint forms small buds in summer and we can’t think of a more suitable use for the expression “nip in the bud” than the mint plant. Buds need to be trimmed regularly to prevent uncontrollable growth. This also prolongs the harvesting season.
Re-plant mint every 2-3 years to prevent the plant’s roots from getting crammed in the container.
Harvesting Plant Mint Leaves
A rather straightforward job, to be honest. Simply pick the plant’s leaves as desired and needed from early spring until late autumn. Never harvest more than 1/3 of the plant’s leaves. You can pick all the leaves from an outdoor grown plant before the first frosts. Use them to season meat, in cocktails and desserts, or simply make yourself some tea. Crushed mint leaves will soothe both your skin and mind.
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Mint Will Rock Your Digestive World
There’s a reason mint is used as a condiment in meals and as a flavour in oral hygiene products. Chefs love adding it to their gourmet meals not just because adjusting a tiny leaf with tweezers looks fancy but because it lets food make an elegant passage through sophisticated palates and sensitive stomachs. The menthol contained in mint has a bowel-comforting effect, easing problems with non-ulcer dyspepsia and flatulence.
The refreshing aroma of the spearmint plant activates the salivary glands in our mouths and other enzyme secreting glands, making it a perfect palate cleanser and digestive stimulant. Those chewing gum manufacturers got their game on point. And pharmaceutical companies are stepping it up, too. Menthol oil, courtesy of yours truly — Mentha, is what they put in those pills that make the difference between instagramming clouds and asking the flight attendant for a paper bag. So, next time you have problems with indigestion or feel sick to your stomach, simply make yourself a nice cup of mint tea.
Mint Works against Nausea and Headache
One thing that can spoil the pleasure of a cruise, besides icebergs, is nausea. But here comes mint to the rescue again. Its strong and refreshing aroma makes its way swiftly across nasal passages to relieve the feeling of motion sickness. The smell of crushed mint leaves or mint oil is also known to relieve morning sickness in pregnant women. It has a muscle relaxing action and is a quick remedy for headaches.
Mint-based balms or basic mint oil have a soothing effect when rubbed on the forehead and nose, alleviating the inflammation and high temperature often accompanying headaches and migraines.
Mint Helps You Breathe Easily
Mint can help alleviate the symptoms of respiratory disorders from a common cold to hay fever to bronchitis and asthma. It contains rosmarinic acid, which has antioxidant properties and blocks the production of pro-inflammatory chemicals. It also enhances the production of substances called prostacyclins that keep the airways open, helping you breathe easily. It clears up the respiratory channels of congestions and relieves the symptoms of allergic rhinitis and irritations that cause coughing, so your body no longer has to doom its red blood cells to uneven battles with pollens.
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Mint is a Powerhouse in Skin Care
You don’t really have to be head of R&D of a cosmetics company to know mint is a valuable ingredient in skin and hair care products. Simply take a look at your bathroom shelves. Mint oil is known for its antiseptic and anti-pruritic abilities, and mint juice acts as a purifying agent, used in skin cleansing products. It has a soothing effect on the skin, and helps to cure infections while its cooling sensation relieves itchiness.
The anti-inflammatory properties of mint bring down the swelling caused by insect bites and various skin irritations. Mint is also a natural astringent often used in acne treatments. It is a source of vitamin A and salicylic acid which helps the skin shed dead cells easier, leaving it with a healthy natural glow. But mint will also reveal your inner glow, as its strong aroma is a powerful mood booster with a stress-relieving and nerve-relaxing effect.
So, if you’re now asking yourself questions such as how does mint grow and can I have one of those omnipotent herbs at home, we can assure you that growing mint is a rather uncomplicated process.