Medicinal and cosmetic
Mint was originally used as a medicinal herb to treat stomach ache and chest pains, and it is commonly used in the form of tea as a home remedy to help alleviate stomach pain. During the Middle Ages, powdered mint leaves were used to whiten teeth. Mint tea is a strong diuretic. Mint also aids digestion, in a way that it breaks down the fats. In recent years, it has been often recommended for treating obesity.
Menthol from mint essential oil (40-90%) is an ingredient of many cosmetics and some perfumes. Menthol and mint essential oil are also much used in medicine as a component of many drugs, and are very popular in aromatherapy. Mint is also used in some shampoo products.
A common use is as an antipruritic, especially in insect bite treatments (often along with camphor).
Menthol is also used in cigarettes as an additive, because it blocks out the bitter taste of tobacco and soothes the throat.
The strong, sharp flavor and scent of mint is sometimes used as a mild decongestant for illnesses such as the common cold.
In Rome, Pliny recommended that a wreath of mint was a good thing for students to wear since it was thought to "exhilarate their minds".
Mint leaves are often used by many campers to repel mosquitoes. It is also said that extracts from mint leaves have a particular mosquito-killing capability.
Mint oil is also used as an environmentally-friendly insecticide for its ability to kill some common pests like wasps, hornets, ants and cockroaches.
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