Health Benefits Of Mint 


Mint is popular due to its distinctive taste and scent, as well as being relatively easy to grow. Most mint comes from the plant genus Mentha, which has several known species of mint. Mentha spicata is widely known as spearmint, while peppermint leaves come from the Mentha × Piperita. While there may be subtle differences in flavour, they usually have the same cool, refreshing profile.

Uses of mint and mint leaves include: 

  • Flavour food and drink 
  • Perfumed scents 
  • Flavouring chewing gum 
  • Hiding the bitter taste of some medicines1
  • Decoration 
  • Concentrated into mint extracts (for baking)
  • Concentrated into essential oils (both food grade and for aromatherapy)

About mint

Health benefits of mint

The health benefits of mint are plentiful, but the most important relates to the menthol in the mint leaves. Menthol makes your breath feel cool and fresh when you practice your oral care routine. It also has mild bacteria-killing properties that can help keep your mouth and teeth healthy and fight against cavities. Peppermint oil is a common component of toothpaste and other oral care products. This is because peppermint oil has a larger concentration of menthol than peppermint leaves.

Mint also contains an antioxidant called rosmarinic acid (which was first discovered in rosemary). This has mild anti-inflammatory properties which have been shown to reduce symptoms typical in hayfever and in other mild allergies.2 This could be why peppermint oil diluted in hot water is popular in this scenario.

Peppermint oil has historically been used to treat digestive problems, most likely due to the menthol in the leaves suppressing muscle spasms within the digestive tract. Studies have shown that peppermint oil is good for relieving pain in patients with Irritable Bowel Syndrome,3 but it doesn’t treat the underlying causes of the condition.

As a result of its antioxidant properties, peppermint essential oils have been recommended to treat morning sickness during pregnancy. However, there is no solid evidence that they improve symptoms of nausea and vomiting.4 Even so, there is no evidence that it worsens symptoms either. Interestingly, it is belived that percieved benifits of the oil may sustain atleast a placebo effect on individuals symptoms. This is where a patient’s symptoms improve because they believe the treatment will work.

Nutrients we can get from mint

According to the USDA, two tablespoons of fresh peppermint leaves provides 6.78 micrograms of Vitamin A5. Vitamin A (also known as retinol) helps your body fight infections, helps maintain healthy skin, and helps you see in dim light.6

Mint leaves are also rich in vitamin C (an antioxidant) and dietary fibre. Vitamin C is important for maintaining healthy skin and repairing wounds, while dietary fibre is good for your digestive health.

Drinking peppermint tea may provide beneficial nutrients to accompany a healthy and balanced diet. It is also very low in calories and is caffeine-free. Compared to other teas you can also gain relatively more calcium and potassium from drinking peppermint tea. Additionally, you can also drink peppermint water, where you put fresh leaves in cold water, or simply eat the leaves for similar benefits.

Ways to use mint in our health

Frequent tooth-brushing with mint flavoured toothpaste and mouthwash will ensure that your mouth stays healthy, and will keep your breath fresh and free from bad breath. Tooth brushing also culls the bacteria that deposit plaque onto your teeth, preventing the onset of gum disease and cavities. Peppermint and spearmint flavoured chewing gum can also keep your breath fresh. Notably,it is not a substitute for tooth brushing, as it is not as effective at removing the harmful bacteria in your mouth. Common advice from densits is to brush your teeth twice a day and to floss to remove anything in the gaps between your teeth.

Mint can also be used to season healthy meals to add a refreshing flavour, which can reduce the need to add salt or sugar to your dish. The mild antioxidants in dried and fresh mint can elevate a dish that already contains a lot of super foods.

One thing to bear in mind is that there are no manufacturing standards for herbal supplements, which include ones that contain mint leaves, mint extract or mint oil. Therefore, there is no way of knowing how much mint is in a supplement, if there is any at all. However, there are manufacturing standards for making herbal tea leaves,7 so you can enjoy your cup whilst knowing exactly what is in your brew.

How much is enough?

While the health benefits of mint are great and it tastes nice, you can have too much of a good thing. The NHS recommends against consuming more than 1.5 milligrams of Vitamin A, as it has been linked to brittle bones.6 Fortunately, you would have to consume 708 grams of peppermint leaves (or 221 cups of peppermint tea)4 to experience any side-effects related to vitamin A intoxication. You are more likely to experience symptoms of water intoxication from drinking the tea than you would from consuming too much mint. It is unlikely that drinking peppermint tea will lead to adverse health effects.

Peppermint and peppermint oils contain menthol, which relaxes the muscles in the digestive tract.8 While it can be beneficial for relieving pain related to digestive problems, it is important to not consume too much mint as it can lead to digestive tract issues such as stomach ache and diarrhoea.3 This is why chewing gum packets tell you not to chew so many sticks at once, especially if they are sugar-free as artificial sweeteners can also cause digestive problems. It is also recommended to limit the number of cups of peppermint tea consumed in one day.

Menthol cigarettes are more addictive than other types of cigarettes, making it harder to quit smoking. It has been shown that menthol binds to similar receptors as nicotine, which releases pleasure chemicals in your brain. There has even been a unique case where a patient was addicted to menthol mint sweets.9 The combination of menthol and refined sugars in the sweets resulted in the patient consuming around 100 mint sweets a day. This case emphasises the need to eat everything in moderation, especially when it comes to sweets.

Another thing to bear in mind is allergies. If you feel unwell after consuming, inhaling or applying mint to your skin, it could be because you are allergic to something in the mint. If you experience swelling in your mouth or airways, or have difficulty breathing, stop using mint until you are sure of what is causing the reaction.


Mint can be included as part of a healthy and balanced diet, as the menthol can help relieve pain in your digestive tract. While the health benefits of mint and its antioxidant properties are limited, it is also unlikely to cause any harm. Like with other placebos, just thinking that mint relieves your symptoms is enough to relieve said symptoms. So next time you’re drinking peppermint tea, chewing spearmint gum or adding peppermint oil to your diffuser, remember that the greatest benefit is the refreshing flavour and scent the mint leaves give off.


  1. Yusupova ZA, Baratjon o’g’li SF. BIOECOLOGICAL PROPERTIES OF MEDICINAL SPECIES OF THE MINT FAMILY (LAMIACEAE). Finland International Scientific Journal of Education, Social Science & Humanities. 2022 Nov 22;10(11):183-90.
  2. Luo C, Zou L, Sun H, Peng J, Gao C, Bao L, Ji R, Jin Y, Sun S. A review of the anti-inflammatory effects of rosmarinic acid on inflammatory diseases. Frontiers in pharmacology. 2020 Feb 28;11:153.
  3. Alammar N, Wang L, Saberi B, Nanavati J, Holtmann G, Shinohara RT, Mullin GE. The impact of peppermint oil on the irritable bowel syndrome: a meta-analysis of the pooled clinical data. BMC complementary and alternative medicine. 2019 Dec;19:1-0.
  4. Pasha H, Behmanesh F, Mohsenzadeh F, Hajahmadi M, Moghadamnia AA. Study of the effect of mint oil on nausea and vomiting during pregnancy. Iran Red Crescent Med J. 2012 Nov 15;14(11):727-30.
  5. FoodData Central [Internet]. Available from:
  6. Vitamins and minerals - Vitamin A [Internet]. 2017 [cited 2023 Mar 7]. Available from:
  7. ISO/TC 34/SC 8 - Tea [Internet]. ISO. [cited 2023 Mar 10]. Available from:
  8. Hiki, N., Kaminishi, M., Hasunuma, T., Nakamura, M., Nomura, S., Yahagi, N., Tajiri, H. and Suzuki, H. (2011), A Phase I Study Evaluating Tolerability, Pharmacokinetics, and Preliminary Efficacy of L-Menthol in Upper Gastrointestinal Endoscopy. Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics, 90: 221-228.
  9. Muñoz OH, Alba Maldonado JC, Jovanny Vargas Rodríguez L, Agudelo Sanabria MB. Craving for menthol sweets: a case report. Revista Colombiana de Psiquiatría. 2020 Dec;49(4):301-4.
This content is purely informational and isn’t medical guidance. It shouldn’t replace professional medical counsel. Always consult your physician regarding treatment risks and benefits. See our editorial standards for more details.

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