By Nicole Tranchina and Rachel Breeding
‘Mint’ may conjure up images of Christmas, decadent desserts, and cute garnishes, but it’s so much more than that. This aromatic herb has been used therapeutically since ancient times, and it can even help alleviate chronic pain.
How Mint Can Ease Pain
When pain persists over time, science tells us that the sympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for the fight or flight response, is in a state of hyperarousal. Consuming mint can stimulate muscle relaxation, and it has an overall calming effect, both of which signal to the nervous system to shift from fight-or-flight to rest-and-digest. Speaking of digestion, mint is also known to soothe an upset stomach, and we all know that it’s easier to be calm and relaxed when we feel comfortable.
Inflammation is associated with chronic pain, so mint’s natural cooling effect and anti-inflammatory properties make it the perfect herb to incorporate into your life this summer.
3 Ways to Use Mint
1. Breathe It
When you inhale peppermint essential oil, you’ll be able to sense the coolness of it, and your nasal passage will feel clearer and brighter. Try either smelling it straight from the bottle, rubbing a drop or two into your temples, or use a diffuser to allow peppermint to fill the air. Mountain Rose Herbs is our favorite place to buy peppermint oil.
2. Drink It
Brew yourself a warm cup of peppermint tea (try this one) from Traditional Medicinals) or simply add a few fresh mint leaves to make your glass of water even more refreshing. To make it fancy, try this Lemon, Cucumber & Mint Infused Water. Shopping Tip: when buying fresh mint, look for bright, unblemished leaves.
3. Eat It
Mint pairs well with summer produce: gently chop it and add it to fruit salads, roasted vegetables, or green salads.
If you’re a sucker for mint chocolate chip ice cream, try this healthy dessert instead:
Healthy Thin Mint “Cookies”
Place a piece of parchment paper on a baking sheet.
Rinse and pat dry 10 mint leaves.
Place 1oz dark chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for 15 seconds at a time until the chocolate is melted.
Dip the tips of the mint leaves into the melted chocolate, and then lay them on the baking sheet.
Place the baking sheet in the freezer for 15 minutes, or until the chocolate has hardened.
Eat and ENJOY!!
If you don’t eat them all, you can store the remaining chocolate-covered mint leaves in a sealed container in your freezer.
Note: If you suffer from GERD, mint may not be the best option for you. Ingesting mint oils or any essential oil (peppermint, spearmint, etc) is not recommended. Speak with your healthcare provider to determine if mint interacts with any of your medications.
As a Certified Nutrition Specialist with her Masters in Clinical Integrative Nutrition, Nicole is able to provide 1:1 nutrition consultation for a variety of medical diagnoses. One of her biggest strengths is her ability to say “I don’t know” and then seek out the information. Nicole believes that staying curious, constantly learning, and treating everyone on an individual basis are valuable tools to have in healthcare. Nicole’s biggest desire is to empower people to be able to take charge of their healing while
connecting them back to themselves and the earth and bring joy to health and wellness.
For a free 30 minute consultation with Nicole please email her at firstname.lastname@example.org
or check out her website