Mint is a common flavor many of us associate with culinary dishes, herbal teas and beverages, confectionery and even toothpaste, gum and mouthwash. It is also used in perfumes and other related products, but what about its benefits and medicinal applications?
The Mint family is also known scientifically as the “Lamiaceae” plant family, which includes many plants that offer healthful benefits as well as culinary and cosmetic applications.
When it comes to coughs and colds, a nice, minty cup of herbal tea is refreshing while alleviating the annoying symptoms of various respiratory infections.
Also known as White Horehound, its scientific name is Marrubium vulgare L. This garden mint is distinctively bitter and the best quality Horehound is grown in the desert heat. Ancient Egyptian priests called it the “Seed of Horus” and it was used to ward off witches in medieval Europe.
Horehound is still used in lozenge form for irritating coughs but it is also taken as a tea, tincture and in capsules. It should never be used in pregnancy or while breastfeeding and extended use can be bad for blood pressure. The medicinal properties found in Horehound are good for:
- Treating coughs
- Soothing Bronchial pathways and tissue
- Loosening phlegm
Peppermint is a beloved ingredient in many confectionaries, such as the Candy canes we hand out at Christmas or hang on our Christmas trees. Peppermint tea is a mainstay for those who suffer with headaches and stress.
A hybrid of spearmint and water mint, it is used in countless foods and medicines. It is often paired with dark chocolate for the delicious contrasts in flavors.
Peppermint oil is apparently used in the air conditioning units of some Japanese companies to invigorate the workers, which increases productivity. The invigorating, cooling oil is used in toothpastes, cough drops, baked goods and chewing gum, to name a few.
There are no known precautions when using this herb, but consult with your doctor before using it, like any herbal supplement or tea. The uses for Peppermint when treating respiratory problems include:
- Soothing the throat and sinuses
- Acting as an antioxidant against coughs and colds
- Alleviating congestion with its antihistamine properties
This evergreen garden herb has a sweet scent and a warm bitter aftertaste that is also used in flavoring food and beverages. As a folk medicine, Hyssop has a long history of applications for lung infections and issues with the nose and throat.
Hyssop is native to the Middle East and Southern Europe, possessing many active ingredients. Made into a tea, Hyssop alleviates a variety of respiratory ailments, as well as helping with the regulation of the digestive system and supporting the immune system.
With anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antibiotic and antibacterial compounds, this floral and minty herb is a great go-to tea for relieving:
- Symptoms of the common cold and sore throats
- Pain and discomfort associated with respiratory infections
- Boosting the immune system
Holy Basil (Tulsi)
Holy Basil is also known as Tulsi and is scientifically known as Ocimum tenuiflorum. A native of the Indian subcontinent, this herb is cultivated for religious as well as traditional medicine uses.
Used in Ayurveda remedies, Holy Basil is also used in ceremonies involving male deities in the Hindu religion. As a medicine, this herb is great for reducing fevers and is incorporated in many Ayurvedic cough syrups. Other uses to alleviate the symptoms of respiratory illnesses includes:
- As an expectorant to assist with expelling mucus
- Relieving bouts of persistent coughing, including asthma and bronchitis
- Helping to relieve the symptoms of the flu
Used for thousands of years, Oregano is a popular ingredient in flavoring Mediterranean dishes, with its pungent aroma that is also useful in repelling insects. This herb contains potent antioxidants and antibacterial properties that are useful when battling infections.
If you have a mint allergy, like the other herbs mentioned, you might need to avoid it.
As an herbal medicine, Oregano was used as far back as the times of the Ancient Greeks, where Hippocrates used it as an antiseptic. Along with applications for menstrual cramps, gastrointestinal disorders and urinary tract infections, According to Medical News Today, Oregano helps the respiratory system by:
- Treating and soothing a sore throat
- Alleviating symptoms of sinus infections and colds
- Defending the body against infections and boosting immunity
There are many other herbs that help with symptoms in the cold and flu seasons, however this list of the 5 Best and Minty Herbal Teas for the Respiratory System is a great way to start if you’re interested in natural remedies. Besides, who doesn’t love a minty kick when they’re feeling poorly?