[a medicinal cooking blog: using food as medicine to treat whatever may ail you]

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Mint for the Mind

In all this summer heat and madness, a little mint goes a long way. Not only is it cooling and relaxing but it (Bo He) specifically targets the lungs and liver in Chinese medicine. Some symptoms or conditions that mint targets are : early stage fever, red eyes (especially from allergies), sore throat, menstrual irregularities or pain, rashes (it will "vent" them - especially in the early stages so they resolve quicker), irritability, depression, heat stroke or summer heat, or if you just simply get the feeling you need to "cool yourself off".

The especially great thing about mint is that it is considered a weed and grows easily anywhere you put it (sometimes to the detriment of the surrounding plants - beware). You can grow it in a pot on your windowsill, or plant some in your garden, or if you can't grow it then go to the store and buy some. Using it fresh or dry is fine. I prefer fresh because it evokes a much mintier flavor, but medicinally speaking, dried works well too. Buy mint tea bags if you can't do any of the above!

The key to harnessing the most medicinal quality out of mint is to ONLY steep it in boiled water for 5 minutes and no longer. I usually like to use a whole stem of mint with the branches and leaves attached and stick it in a big jug of just boiled water with a little honey and just let it sit. Depending on the mint (the one pictured below is cherokee mint) the water may turn a beautiful greenish hue. You guzzle this down in a day if you're really feeling any of the symptoms mentioned earlier, or you can keep it for a few days in the fridge and enjoy some minty cool water on a daily basis while you sweat your way through the summer.

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