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Once in a while I like to discuss various ingredients that may benefit your exploration of tea. It just so happens that the most reoccurring question this week has been about mint. It’s an ingredient used in a lot of herbal teas and tisanes and is a popular choice for many when it comes to soothing the stomach or simply relaxing. Yet it seems many tea drinkers don’t quite know what mint is really all about. There’s nothing wrong with just liking things for the sake of liking them, but did you know for example, that peppermint is not advised to be consumed in the evening because of its unique, simultaneous, paradoxical relaxant and stimulant properties? Many peppermint consumers often assume that since it’s an herb, it does not contain caffeine and thus safe to consume before bed. Which is true, but there are many plants and herbs that act as stimulants even though they are caffeine free. Peppermint’s dual qualities are dependent on each and individual body and thus, some people can consume it before bed and some simply can’t (if your body doesn’t prefer peppermint at night, switch to spearmint).

Interesting fact is that peppermint is a type of hybrid, a cross between two mints: watermint and spearmint. The unique thing about this hybrid is its high content of menthol, present in the mint oils. Menthol has counter-irritant qualities and helps sooth internal discomfort by providing a cooling sensation. Mint oil is used for a variety of treatments, including stomach pain, headache and spasm relief. Peppermint in particular has been around for quite some time, used as far back as ten thousand years ago to treat stomach related irritation.

Spearmint on the other hand is a milder, sweeter type of mint due to its low content of menthol. Native to the European region, spearmint is mostly used in food preparation and flavouring. Spearmint is rich in minerals such as calcium, magnesium and iron and many antioxidant vitamins, including Vitamin A. Spearmint is great for evening time consumption, helping relieve headaches, calm the nerves and improve respiratory system.

Overall, mint is an amazing ingredient when it comes to adding richness to tea’s taste and aroma. It is pleasant to smell and even more pleasant to consume. I highly recommend herbal mint blends during this cold season. Mint teas are the perfect choice when it comes to relaxing your tense muscles and soothing your organs.  And luckily, our store carries an amazing selection, all yours to explore!