Mint comes in many forms, but I personally think Mentha piperita harbors the most magic. This variety is probably most well known. It grows in my garden. It makes a delightful tea and is a support for a very long list of everyday 'ailments'.
If you're growing mint you already know that it basically takes over whatever space is offered to it. I don't like calling it invasive, because I am so in love with it, so I never feel smothered by it. I just make sure in my garden to give it ample growing space, in fact it has its very own quarters.
It is a perennial and will grow under fairly neglected circumstances. It doesn't mind slightly disturbed soil. You might actually even see field mint growing where you live. Field mint can be identified by its square stem (a good mint identifier in general), its minty leaves and tiny purple blossoms.
If you take a mint leaf and squish it around between your fingers, breaking the surface, you'll smell its life force, and what the essential oil of mint is made out of.
Spearmint or Mentha spicata is another plant in the mint family, that is just as lovely, but doesn't pack quite the punch that peppermint does. If you're looking for something more gentle maybe this is your candidate.
Mint has a lengthy list of herbal actions. It is an anodyne, antispasmodic, carminative, cholagogue, diaphoretic, diuretic, stimulant, stomachic, and probably more (depending on who you ask). Let's dig a bit deeper. If you're looking for a gentle way to use mint, a tea is probably your jam. If you're looking for a bit more mint, in the moment, you might want to get your hands on an essential oil, but remember the oil is going to be very very concentrated so heed caution.
How do we use Mint in our family?
I've used mint for as long as I can remember. I love picking the leaves from our yarden and using them fresh in drinks and dinner. I also love drying the leaves and using them through the winter for tummy aches, colds, and comfort. I'd say at least once a week I use mint essential oil, down the hatch, because I ate something I shouldn't have or my stomach is having a hard time digesting. Warning: if you eat a drop of mint essential oil make sure you have a very safe and trusted brand AND make sure you know what you're getting yourself into. Your sinuses will clear immediately and you're in for a wild ride.
Aches and pains (anodyne and antispasmodic) are other ailments where I'll often look to mint for comfort. Headaches, migraines, and muscle aches are where I'll usually choose to apply mint topically instead of drinking a tea. I find the relief comes a bit more quickly when I apply a salve or oil of mint. A bath is also nice, with a minty tea bag, if someone has irritated skin in our family. Mixing mint leaves with a handful of oats is a nice soother. I use this for seasonal allergies.
If/when my kiddos have fevers, colds, flus and nausea, I also keep mint nearby. I like to put a drop on their pillowcases or in the diffuser if they're feeling nauseous, or congested. Sometimes if I have a fever I'd like to bring down a bit, I put a bit of mint of my feet.
I bring mint to births. If mama is feeling nauseous I've found that even giving her a small cloth with a dab of mint on it can be refreshing to smell and will often pop her out of a repetitive vomiting cycle.
Mint is a great exercise booster and additionally great if I need to focus on something. Check out our Achy Roller for post-exercise muscle rolling pleasure. I use this roller on cramps (abdominal and menstrual), and muscle spasms.
If someone has a belly ache in this house we'll usually use an essential oil, but a cup of Peppermint tea is one of the best cures. I think we've just found that the essential oil works very quickly. I didn't use Peppermint essential oil on my kiddos when they were really small, and if I used it as they got a bit bigger, I diluted it. It is powerful! On the other hand if I've got a stomach ache, I just drop a drop in my mouth and bam (10 minutes later) I'm all good. Or, I use our Belly Roller for a quick diluted topical application. It has lots of good stuff in it, like Ginger!
I like to use Peppermint when I practice yoga, maybe just a bit in the diffuser to enhance my experience. And, I love our Breathy Roller. This is actually the roller I find myself using the most frequently. I roll a bit on on my chest and it really supports my airways. I have small coughing fits from time to time, and this roller brings me the most relief.
Here is our educational video, if you're a visual person. xo