You’re chewing mint gum or sucking on a peppermint candy and drink a sip of water and no matter how warm it is, the water feels icy cold. Why does this happen? It’s a trick mint and the chemical called menthol play on your brain that convinces your taste receptors they are exposed to cold. Mint contains an organic compound called menthol that binds to TRPM8, making the ion channel open as if the receptor was exposed to cold and signaling this information to your brain.
In fact, menthol sensitizes the neurons to the effect doesn’t wear off as soon as your spit out mint toothpaste or stop chewing a breath mint. If you take a sip of cold water right afterward, the cool temperature will feel especially cold. “There are neurons under the skin that can sense different sensations, like hot and cold,” Seok-Yong Lee, an associate professor of biochemistry at Duke University, told Live Science. These neurons monitor the environment using an array of specialized proteins embedded in the cell membranes. The proteins control tiny tunnels called ion channels that can allow matter to pass through the cell membrane. The ion channels stay closed until the receptor protein detects the stimulus it’s looking for.
Sugar free mints work a little differently. They have what’s called a negative heat of solution, meaning that when the candy dissolves in your mouth, it actually absorbs heat. With both types of mints, the temperature drop, or cooling, is very small. The sensation is quite noticeable because your mouth is loaded with nerve endings.
Importance Of Mint
Consumption of mint has also been linked with bringing in soothing effect of asthmatic patients. Mint is loaded with anti-inflammatory properties. It is a good relaxant and relieves congestion. However, make sure you don’t overdo your mint dosage, else it may irritate your air passages.
Treats Common Cold
Struggling with nasty cold and finding it difficult to focus and breathe? Try mint. Yes, there is a reason why your vapo-rubs and inhalers are often available in mint. Mint is known to clear congestion of the nose, throat, bronchi, and lungs. In addition to the respiratory channels, mint’s anti-inflammatory properties also relieve the irritation caused by chronic coughing.
As mentioned earlier, mint is a decently strong adaptogenic herb. According to the book ‘Healing Foods’, mint may help cure headaches too. The strong and refreshing aroma of mint could help ease headaches. Balms with a mint base or basic mint oil, when rubbed on the forehead and nose, are effective in curing headaches and nausea.
Aids Weight Loss
Mint could also play its own sweet role in weight loss, and the reason is tied with its much famed digestive properties. Mint stimulates digestive enzymes, which help facilitate better absorption of nutrients from food. When the body is able to assimilate and absorb nutrients properly, there is better metabolism. A faster metabolism aids weight loss.
Improves Brain Power
Mint could also rev up your brain power. According to various studies, consuming mint may up alertness, retention, and cognitive functions. One of the studies also tied effects of mint consumption with better memory retention.
Mint is a traditional remedy for treating acne and pimples. It has potent anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties which work wonders on acne prone skin. Mint leaves contain a high content of salicylic acid, which is excellent in combating acne action too. The juice obtained from mint works as an effective skin cleanser. The high quantum of antioxidants also help prevent free radical activity, giving you clearers and youthful skin. You can use mint in the form of face masks as well. Combine crushed mint leaves and honey. Apply on your skin and leave for 20 minutes. Wash off with warm water.
Help Ease Symptoms Of Morning sickness or Nausea
Mint is an excellent remedy to treat nausea. It is also effective for treating nausea that happens in morning sickness. According to Shilpa Arora, “Eating a few leaves or smelling some leaves of mint every morning, could help expecting mothers to get past the nauseous feeling and cope better.”