Here’s an herbal remedy that could help you this flu season. In the latest health news, researchers have just discovered that mint could help fight respiratory infections that lead to pneumonia.
You may be familiar with some of the health benefits of mint tea. It’s good for your digestion, helping to break down food into nutrients that your body can use for the important tasks it needs to perform. Peppermint tea also makes an excellent herbal remedy for soothing an upset stomach. In fact, it can help eliminate some of the painful symptoms associated with irritable bowel syndrome.
Peppermint in and of itself contains some special nutrients. Menthol, one of its active ingredients, could help to ease diarrhea and reduce the pain associated with headaches (See the article Headache Treatments from the Far East). Peppermint also contains B-vitamins, calcium, and potassium. The B-vitamins in menthol are thought to help improve concentration and performance in the brain and nerves.
In a recent clinical trial, the phenols in mint have been found to be beneficial in treating respiratory infections. One natural phenol, called “flavone glycoside,” along with other substances called “caffeic acids,” seems to have disease-fighting properties against respiratory tract infections. In particular, mint helps to stop the respiratory tract pathogen “Chlamydia pneumoniae.” This nasty form of bacteria can cause pneumonia to set in.
For the clinical trial, a research team first determined that a mint extract completely inhibited the growth of “Chlamydia pneumoniae” in vitro. They then infected mice with the pathogen. The mice were given a mint extract once daily for three days prior to inoculation. The mint extract treatment was continued for 10 days post-infection.
The research team found that the extract was able to diminish the inflammatory markers related to “C. pneumoniae” infection and significantly lowered the number of “C. pneumoniae” bacteria present in the mice.
Try drinking a little mint tea this fall and winter. It could help to stave off respiratory infections associated with colds and flu. When making mint tea, follow this health advice: use loose tea instead of bags — the healthful ingredients will be more potent this way.
When Should You See a Doctor?
You want to see the doctor as soon as you suspect something more is going on after a flu or cold. If symptoms aren’t fading and others are lingering and cropping up after a week, see your doctor right away. Getting diagnosed and treated will help you recover and prevent spreading the illness any further to those around you—pneumonia is contagious, after all.