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Mints - Medicinal Uses, Interactions, Side Effects, Dosage
Spearmint (Mentha spicata) and the related horsemint were well known in the Graeco-Roman era, and mint was used in biblical times. Peppermint (M. piperita) appeared in the 18th century in England as a hybrid between spearmint and watermint. It is less flavorful than spearmint, while Japanese mint or cornmint (M. arvensis) is more flavorful.
Uses and Benefits:
Over the ages, spearmint, peppermint, and other mints have been used as flavors, aromas, and medications.They have been taken mainly for digestive symptoms such as dyspepsia and irritable bowel, and for respiratory and dermatologic conditions. In general, all of the common mints have similar effects and are best known because of the popularity of their characteristic taste in candies, foods, and medications and for the refreshing effect they give to skin and mouth preparations. M. pulegium, pennyroyal, is a dangerous member of the mint family, and its oil should not be used in herbal therapeutics.
The most important of the over 80 compounds in mints is the essential oil menthol,3 also known as peppermint camphor. The I-isomer of menthol is found mainly in Japanese mint, constituting 70-95% of the essential oil; in peppermint, it may constitute 29-48%.2 Menthol, which can be synthesized from thymol, is a terpenoid alcohol; menthone, an
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