Health Benefits of Calamint
Calamint (commonly called for Calamintha) is a perennial herb of the mint family. The name Calamintha is derived from the Greek word Kalos because of its excellent power to drive away Serpents. It also goes by the name of lesser calamint. It belongs to the genus of plants belonging to the family Lamiaceae. It is commonly found in the northern temperate regions of Asia, Europe and America. There are about eight species in the genus. The flowers of this plant bloom in July and August. It is an erect plant and bushy by appearance and is rarely more than a foot high and has pairs of opposite leaves with soft hairs. The plant is heavily stemmed and its leaves are heavily veined with high texture. The plant is fairly common in dry areas. It is barely perennial and is cultivated by sowing seeds in the month of April. It may also be cultivated by division of roots between October and April. It mainly grows by waysides and in hedges.
The herb is commonly used as an aromatic substance. The herb has a sweet aromatic odour. The dried leaves of the herb are particularly useful for making tea that is used in the treatment of weaker stomach and flatulence. In addition to this, calamint was also used as a medicinal herb in medieval times. It helps relieve convulsions and cramps and can be used to kill worms when consumed with salt and honey. The herb has also been extensively as topical as well as endemic uses.
The lesser calamint contains a camphoraceous, volatile stimulating oil which can be extracted by distilled water. For better extraction results, generally rectified spirit is used. The oil extracted from this herb has a total of thirty five essential constituents as reported by experimental studies. Some of the constituents are
- gamma- and alpha terpinene and so on.
Due to its primary use as a medicinal herb, calamint is fairly popular for the following uses and applications in treatment of ailments.
Effective remedy for external injuries
The leaves of calamint have a high content of menthol. This makes them a potential effective remedy for bruises and cuts.
Remedy for respiratory problems
In addition to being a medicine for injuries, the herb may also be used to treat bronchial problems by using as a rub. People use it for respiratory illnesses as well. It is helpful in removing chest congestion and promotes sweating.
Treatment of cold and fever
It may also be used to treat cold and fevers.
Used as a flavouring additive
Traditionally, the herb has also been used to add flavours to meat to add a new taste to the food.
Effective internal usage
This herb, upon internal usage, benefits in treatment of depression, insomnia and other nervous disorders.
Primarily, the leaves are the most useful part of this herb. Hence, the leaves of Calamint are widely used for human consumption. The leaves of the herbs can be harvested in July and then dried so that they can be used in making tea. The leaves when crushed can also be rubbed on muscle cramps for providing subsequent relief. The plant being aromatic acts as a nerve tonic, increasing perspiration and relieves indigestion.
There are no particular side effects of the usage of this herb except for one. This herb should not be used by pregnant women as it increases the chances of occurrence of miscarriage. It may hinder the process of conception in women as well.