It Really is Worth a Mint to Me...
This year with the wet weather we have had an abundance of mint growing - wild mint, cat mint, spearmint, chocolate mint, strawberry mint, peppermint and another mint I was gifted last year from a friend's homestead.
Bruno by the Pots of Mint
On our land with the changing weather patterns and wet years we are seeing a succession of growth in the forest. In the low lying areas which was a black spruce forest, many of the old spruce and tamarack are falling over being replaced with the willows and red osier dogwood I planted and some mountain ash on the higher areas that the birds planted. In the under-story we are seeing fields of marsh marigold where we never even had one before ( they are quite beautiful) and the wild mint. I love the fresh smell of the mint along the forest trail and on the pathway to what I call my middle garden patch! In that garden patch I had left one of the garden beds to the wild mint and it was fabulous this year, full of blooms which the bees loved! The mint blossoms along with the clover flowers helped to attract the bees to my garden and increase the pollination of the other flowering vegetable crops.
Close Up of Wild Mint Blossom
Mint makes a wonderful addition for bee and butterfly gardens just beware that it spreads with runners and is best to have it contained so it will not take over neighboring plants. Cut the bottom out of a pot and sink it into the ground for your mint plants or put some sort of barrier in the ground to prevent the runners from going into areas you do not want it.
Bumble Bee in Wild Mint
I like to pick some mint for tea. My favorite for tea is the rich tasting chocolate mint. It kind of reminds me of peppermint patties!
Pot of Chocolate Mint
I also like the chocolate mint in smoothies.
Chocolate Blueberry Mint Smoothie
1 cup Blueberries
2 Tbsp ground cacao nibs (or adjust to your taste)
1 Tbsp honey or I grind some stevia powder in with the cacao nibs for sweetening
A good handful of hemp hearts (helps to make the smoothie creamy)
Small handful of fresh mint leaves, smaller amount of dried or a few drops of peppermint essential oil
2 cups of water
Place all the ingredients in the blender and blend on high til smooth. Enjoy!
Peppermint tea is great for tension headache - make a strong batch of ice peppermint tea, dip in a wash cloth and use that as a compress where you are experiencing your headache.
For migraine sufferers - you can find some relief by rubbing a few drops of peppermint oil on your temples.
The cooling and soothing effect of the menthol in peppermint can also be used to sooth sunburns. Use that strong ice peppermint tea on some cotton pads to gently apply to the sun burnt areas to give relief.
Probably the mint that most people are familiar with is the spearmint, often used in flavorings for gum, toothpastes and such.
I love to use spearmint for a nice refreshing drink, in my
Lettuce Pear Mint Smoothie
A big handful of lettuce leaves
4 or 5 big mint leaves or a few sprigs (adjust to your liking)
2 pears peeled, cut and cored
2 cups water
Place all the ingredients in a blender and blend on high til smooth. Enjoy!
Mint is wonderful to have around so you can pop a few leaves of mint in your mouth to chew for fresh breath!
I like to grow pots of mint (penny royal is best for this) by my door to help keep ants and flies away. You can also hang sprigs of mint by the doors and windows to deter the ants and flies or make an insect repellent by mixing 1 part essential oil of mint to 10 parts water and spray around the doors and windows or on a path ants have been following. This has the added benefit of freshening up your home with the lovely smell of mint. Mint is a lovely addition to potpourris too!
Try adding some essential oil of mint into your cleaners to freshen your home or car when you clean.
Homemade Mint Floor Cleaner
1 cup white vinegar
1 gallon water
3-5 drops mint essential oil
Combine and mix well and you will have a natural cleaner that fills your home with the wonderful smell of mint!
One of my favorite smelling mints is the strawberry mint! I just love to rub it's leaves and breath in it's wonderful aroma!
Strawberry Mint in Bloom
H-m-m! I think I'll check what benefits mint has in aromatherapy.
With a quick Google search I found from Ashley Miller over at Livestrong.com
Peppermint essential oil is commonly used by aromatherapists for its uplifting, invigorating properties.
I sure found that to be true when I breath in the aroma of mint!
Plus I found this tidbit from MightyNest
It also has antibacterial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, insecticidal, antispasmodic and carminative properties. The health benefits of peppermint oil include its ability to treat: Indigestion: One of the oldest and most highly regarded herbs for soothing digestion is peppermint.
We always keep some peppermint or the chocolate mint which is a variation of the peppermint, on hand for upset stomach.
Let's not forget that tantalizing cat mint that acts just like cat nip to your cats, making them all frisky, yet has a calming effect on humans - try a cup of calming catmint tea.
JJ Smelling the Catmint
A cool trick I learned was to sprinkle dried mint on your potatoes to help prevent them from sprouting! I learned this from the Hort and Ag people over at the University of Saskatchewan. They give workshops telling of their latest findings from their research and fruit and vegetable garden trials.
Other Uses for Mint
- Chop up some fresh or dried mint leaves to add to your peas, green beans, carrots or cauliflower when you are cooking them. Add them in in the last two minutes of cooking. Or add them to a chocolate chip cookie dough, a couple tablespoons of finely chopped mint will add a lovely mint flavoring!
- To clear up your sinuses and congestion try a mint steam treatment. Simply add some drops of essential oil of peppermint into some boiled water in a pot, place your head over the pot with a towel draped over it to capture the steam. Breath in the steam to help break up the congestion. Added bonus - this will give you a stimulating facial too! 2 in 1!
- For a lovely foot scrub which will also help to relive pain (the menthol in the mint has pain relief properties and also a cooling effect) try mixing 1 cup sea salt to 1/3 cup of olive oil plus six drops of peppermint essential oil and use this to scrub your feet then rinsing it off.
- For hiccups add to lukewarm water 1 tablespoon of fresh squeezed lemon juice, a pinch of salt and a few mint leaves. Sip on it and the antispasmodic action of the mint should relax the diaphragm and end the hiccups.
- Here is one for your pets - Homemade Flea Repellent - Use 2 parts spearmint, 1 part thyme, 1 part wormwood and pack the mixture into a small pillow to place in your pet's bed or favorite resting spot.
Thanks to Mother Earth Living for these extra uses for mint!
All photos were taken with my Canon PowerShot A495
Grateful for the curation and support of @tribesteemup