7 Surprising Health Benefits Of Mint

From boosting memory to repelling mosquitos, this herb has you covered.

March 15, 2016
mahathir mohd yasin/shutterstock

If you decide to grow mint, you know it sometimes takes over the whole garden if you don’t contain it to a pot. So what do you do with an abundance of mint leaves? You can only drink so many mojitos and mint juleps, and you’ve already cooked all the Dishes That Taste Better With A Touch Of Mint. Here’s what else you can do with a bevy of this easy-to-grow herb. 

1. Halt Hiccups
Downing a glass of mint water is another oft-touted home remedy for curing hiccups. Simply submerge a few sprigs of mint in an eight-ounce glass and drink up. Alternatively, you can try chewing on mint leaves themselves. In the book Backyard Medicine, it’s noted that mint helps suppress hiccups because the menthol in it helps to calm muscle spasms (as corroborated by the University of Maryland Medical Center), though scientists have not yet done any research on the direct relationship between the two. 


2. Control Pests + Parasites
Parasites and other insect pests can be a headache for anyone with a chicken coop. But growing mint right outside the pen can help. A Canadian study says that allowing birds to munch on peppermint leaves is an effective organic treatment for internal parasites. Some coop keepers also swear that planting mint can help keep other pests like ants, rodents, and flies away. Research shows that the essential oil in peppermint is an effective deterrent. 

Related: Mint: A Growing Guide

3. Aid Digestion
A soothing cup of peppermint tea after dinner may be just what indigestion sufferers need, according to information from The University of Maryland Medical Center. The menthol and methyl salicylate in mint can sooth stomach spasms, helping to settle the gastrointestinal tract.  

4. Promote Hair Growth
Worried about thinning hair or premature balding? A 2014 study revealed that applying peppermint essential oil topically had a positive effect on new hair follicles. If you’re looking to encourage increased growth, it may be worth trying an organic hair repair serum with rosemary and mint.

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5. Soothe Poison Ivy
Mint can have a soothing and cooling effect on skin irritations, like those caused by poison ivy. Next time you have an encounter with this not-so-favorable plant, try applying cold mint tea bags, a rag soaked in peppermint tea, or a solution of water and peppermint essential oil. 

Related: Remove Poison Ivy In 5 Steps; No Herbicides Required

6. Repel Mosquitoes
One lab study found that bush mint (or Australian bush mint) essential oil was very effective at both preventing mosquitoes from landing on arms and from biting. You can also try rubbing the leaves directly on your skin if you don’t have a bottle of the essential oil, though the potency will be decreased. 

7. Boost Memory
Scientists found evidence that using peppermint in aromatherapy increases memory and alertness. Try it yourself by adding a few drops of peppermint essential oil to a bath. If you’re looking to use up fresh mint, boil the crushed leaves in a pot of water and let the scent waft through your home. It’ll leave the house smelling fresh and clean, even if you don’t notice a difference in your memory.