With the clear sky and the sun that burns everything, you certainly don't want to think about drinking hot tea in the summer… and yet… we should change our minds. In fact, the Bedouins know well that, to combat the hot climate of the African desert, it is important to prepare a special tea, mint tea. Yes, because mint is refreshing and thirst-quenching, it fights fatigue and pressure drops, which can occur on hot days. Therefore, mint can become a precious ally in these summer months, both in the form of an infusion, but also as a herb to add to dishes, as a drink to refuel with mineral salts or as an essential oil. Let's see what mint can do for us in the summer.
Mint against the heat
Mint is rich in essential oils with refreshing and invigorating properties, ideal in hot weather (Chiou et al, Molecules, 2020). In addition to this, menthol, an active ingredient in mint, has a vasoconstrictive action, useful against the effects of heat that, by dilating blood vessels, could cause drops in pressure and dizziness (Meamarbashi et al, J Int Soc Sports Nutr, 2013). Let's see how to make a fragrant mint tea according to the Bedouin tradition. Heat a liter of water up to 70° C. Remove from the heat and add 6 teaspoons of green tea and a handful of fresh mint leaves. Leave to infuse for ten minutes, then filter and drink a cup. But mint can also be used for invigorating showers or baths. When you're in the shower or bath, pour a little of your shower gel and a drop of peppermint essential oil over the sponge. Use for frictions on the skin and to cleanse the body.
Mint against motion sickness and seasickness
Mint helps to counteract nausea and can also be useful in case of motion sickness, seasickness or air sickness (Nunes et al, Curr Ther Res Clin Exp., 2020). You can put a drop of peppermint essential oil on a handkerchief and smell as needed.
Mint when you sweat a lot and to support the memory
In the heat we sweat a lot. It therefore becomes important to integrate the lost mineral salts. Mint can help with this, since it contains calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus and potassium. In addition to this, mint also provides vitamins such as C, which supports the immune system and counteracts free radicals, group B, which protects the nervous system and counteracts fatigue and tiredness, and A, which supports vision, especially in low light conditions (USDA Food Data Central - Christian et al, Am J Epidemiol, 2000). Mint also contains substances that support memory and protect the central nervous system, counteracting oxidative stress, inhibiting particular enzymes responsible for the degradation of neurotransmitters and thus improving mood (Lopez et al, Phytother Res, 2010). You can chop fresh mint on salads or vegetable side dishes, on gravies or sauces, or you can try making a remineralizing drink. Blend the pulp of 2 apricots, half a banana, 5-6 mint leaves together with half a glass of coconut water.
Mint for digestion
It is well known that on holiday it can happen to have many sins of gluttony, resulting in stomach pains and poor digestion. Mint also helps in this case, since it is digestive and counteracts bloating, relaxes the abdominal muscles and is analgesic (McKay et al, Phytother Res, 2006). Mint can also be beneficial in the case of irritable bowel syndrome, which can cause problems, perhaps when we change our diet on vacation (Nee et al, Am J Gastroenterol, 2021). Not only that, the essential oils contained in mint are effective in counteracting the proliferation of some strains of bacteria, such as that of Salmonella enterica (Valkova et al, Molecules, 2021). It becomes useful, therefore, to add mint to dishes or to sip an infusion after eating. Bring a cup of water to a boil, remove from heat and add a tablespoon of dried mint leaves, 4-5 leaves if fresh mint, leave to infuse for five minutes, then filter and, once warm, drink.
Mint against itching, irritation and insect bites
Skin irritation, itching and insect bites, an aid to all this comes from mint, which shows soothing, antimicrobial, anti-allergic and anti-inflammatory properties (Herro et al, Dermatitis, 2010). You can dilute a drop of peppermint essential oil in a tablespoon of carrier oil, such as sweet almond oil, and apply to the itchy area of your skin.
Mint can interfere with some medicines, such as cyclosporine, used to modulate the immune response in case of transplantation. Not only that, mint can interfere with the liver's ability to metabolize certain drugs. Therefore, if you are taking any medications, always ask your doctor for advice. Pay attention to taking mint in case of reflux, hiatal hernia or stones (McKay et al, Phytother Res, 2006). Do not use mint essential oil during pregnancy and breastfeeding, or even on children. Never exceed the dose, not even with regards to the essential oil to be used for baths or showers, in order not to excessively lower the body temperature and not to irritate the skin. Before performing topical applications of peppermint oil, which must always be diluted and never used pure, do a test on a small part of the skin to check that there are no allergic reactions.