Yerba buena also commonly called mint posses aromatic properties and flavour that is widely used in varieties of cuisines. It is also used in traditional medicine since ancient times providing a long list of health benefits from skin to cancer prevention. Discover the many used this wonderful aromatic plant.
Scientific Name: Menta spicata, Mentha arvensis
Hierba buena (Spain.), Minta (Italy), Minze (Germany), Marsh mint (English), Mint, peppermint (Engl.), Po-ho (China.)
Yerba buena (Mentha arvensis Linn) is rambling aromatic herb of the mint family that is known and used as herbal medicine worldwide.
Yerba buena is a perennial plant that grows up to 1 meter in height with oblong shaped leaves with toothed margins. Flowers are hairy and the color is bluish to purplish with axillary head like whorls.
Yerba Buena are grown throughout the world from North America to Asia. The plant takes the form of a sprawling, mat-forming perennial, and is especially abundant close to the coast.
Yerba Buena is more popular for its culinary application because of its minty flavor. Used in salads and as flavor for cooking foods. Yerba buena aroma is also used for scents and fragrances.
☆ Yerba Buena Traditional Medicinal Uses
~ Yerba buena is also known for its medicinal properties. Yerba buena is used as herbal medicine for the treatment of many ailments which has been traditionally used since ancient times. Studies have shoown that Yerba buena contains pulegone, menthol, menthene, menthenone and limonene.
☆ COMMON HEALTH BENEFITS FROM YERBA BUENA:
● May Boost Your Immune System
~ Yerba buena Contains saponins which are natural compounds with anti-inflammatory properties.
~ In addition, it provides small amounts of vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium, and zinc. These antioxidants can strengthen your immune system and promote health.
● Digestive disorder – Yerba Buena has long been used to provide relief for abdominal pain, indigestion, loss of appetite, passage of gas, diarrhea and stomach ache. It is known to relax the digestive tract muscles.
● Aid Digestion – yerba buena aids easy food digestion, relaxes the gastrointestinal tract and prevents flatulence.
● Bad Breath – Yerba buena has this minty scent and flavour that can improve the foul odor emanating from the mouth. Yerba buena or mint is widely used in commercial mouth washes or flavouring for gums and candies.
● Skin tonic – Yerba buena has long been used to improve the tone of the skin and widely used to treat acne breakouts, removal of black heads, lightening of dark spots and dry skin.
● Insect bites – Yerba buena leaf is crushed over insect bites and stings to alleviate itching and pain and to hasten recovery.
● For Insects Bites – yerba buena leaves can be squeezed and applied on the body parts bitten by insects. The application relieves the
● Relaxant – Yerba buena tea is taken as relaxant to combat stress and anxiety. It is also used in vaporizers to calm the body and the scent mixed over bath.
● May Enhance Physical Performance
~ Caffeine is also known to improve muscle contractions, reduce fatigue, and improve sport performance by up to 15%.
~ Yerba buena contains moderate amount of caffeine, thkse drinking it can expect similar physical performance benefits. In fact, in one study, those given one 1-gram capsule of ground yerba buena leaves rigth before exercise burned 24% more fat during moderate-intensity exercise.
~ A higher reliance on fat for fuel during exercise spares your carb reserves for critical high-intensity moments, such as cycling up a hill or sprinting towards the finish line. This could translate into better sports performance.
● Nausea, Morning sickness, fainting – the scent from Yerba buena leaves can calm nausea accompanied to early stages of pregnancy. The leaves can also be crushed before the nostril thus the scent can be inhaled.
● Menstrual cramps – Yerba buena is taken to calm symptoms of menstrual cramps, dysmenorrhea and induce the flow of menstruation.
● Offers Relief from Menstrual Pain
~ Yerba buena tea can be taken during menstrual period to stop dysmenorrhea (painful menstruation).
● Can Boost Energy and Improve Mental Focus
~ at 85 mg of caffeine per cup, yerba buena contains less caffeine than coffee but more than a cup of tea. Therefore, just like any other caffeinated food or beverage, it may increase your energy levels and make you feel less tired.
~ Caffeine can also affect the levels of certain signaling molecules in brain, making it particularly beneficial for your mental focus.
~ Several human studies observed improved alertness, short-term recall and reaction time in participants who consumed a single dose containing 37.5-450 mg of caffeine.
~ Additionally, those who regularly consume yerba buena often rave that it enhances alertness like coffee – but without the jittery side effects
● Asthma – the minty scent of yerba buena is used to alleviate the attacks of asthma by calming the muscles in the respiratory system. The scent can come from extracted oil as used in vaporizers or by burning the leaves and inhaling the fumes.
● Rich in Antioxidants and Nutrients – the Rosmarinic acid found in yerba buena is a strong antioxidant. It can counteract the oxidation of free radicals that prevents the formation of cancer cells.
~ Yerba buena contains several beneficial plant nutrient, including:
¤ Xanthines – these compounds act as stimulants. They include caffeine and theobromine, which are also found in tea, coffee, and chocolate.
¤ Caffeoyl derivatives – these compounds are the main health-promoting antioxidants in the tea.
¤ Saponins – these bitter compounds have certain anti-inflammatory and cholesterol lowering properties.
● Polyphenol – this is a large group of antioxidants, linked to a reduced risk of many diseases.
~ Interesting, the antioxidant power of yerba buena tea seez to be slightly higher than that of green tea.
~ Yerba buena may contain seven out of nine essential amino acids, in addition to nearly every vitamin and mineral your body needs.
● Anti-Allergy – the romarinic acid in yerba buena inhibits the formation of leukotrienes, an agent responsible for allergic reactions. Yerba buena is used to treat hay fever.
● Cough and colds – the minty scent and flavour of yerba buena is used in vaporizers to unclog the nasal passage due to accumulation of phlegm and helps to relieve inflammation. It also acts as an expectorant.
● Treatment of Cold – fresh or dried yerba buena herbs can be used for preparing yerba buena tea for tackling cold, fever and cough.
● Antibacterial and antifungal properties – yerba buena oil is used to treat various skin infections and conditions that include eczema, insect bites, scars and wounds, burns, scabies, ringworms and other skin infections.
● May Protect Against Infections
~ Yerba buena may prevent infections from bacteria, parasites, and fungi. One test-tube study found that a hogh dose of yerba buena extract deactivated E. coli, a bacteria that causes food poisoning symptoms like stomach cramps and diarrhea.
~ Compounds in yerba buena may also prevent the growth of Malassezia furfur, a fungus responsible for scaly skin, dandruff, and certain skin rashes.
~ Finally, research suggests that compounds in it may provide some protection against intestinal parasites.
~ Nevertheless, most of these studies were done on isolated cells, it’s currently unclear if these benefits are the same for humans, and more research is needed.
● Pain reliever – the minty and relaxing effect of yerba buena is used as a topical aid in alleviating the pain associated with arthritis, gout, headache and other body and joint pains.
● Anti-spasmodic Properties – the leaves can serve as an antispasmodic herbal drug and as such can be used to relieve the body from spasm of involuntary muscle.
● Tooth and mouth diseases – yerba buena is chewed to treat toothache and decoction can be gargled to treat mouth sores and ulcers, gum diseases and even swollen tonsils and sore throats.
● May Help you Lose Weight and Belly Fat –Yerba buena tea or mint tea is usually taken after meal to improve digestion and burning fats.
~ Animal studies show that yerba buena may reduce appetite and boost metabolism, which can help with weight loss. It seems to decrease the total number of fat cells and reduce the amount of fat they hold.
~ Human research suggests that it can also increase the amount of stored fat that’s burn for energy. Furthermore, in a 12-week study in overweight people, those given 3 grams of yerba buena powder per day lost an average of 1.5 pounds (0.7kg). They also reduced their waist-to-hip ratio by 2%, which indicates lost belly fat.
~ IN comparison, the participants given a placebo gained an average of 6.2 pounds (2.8 kg) and increased their waist-to-hip ratio by 1% over the same 12-week period.
● Lowers Blood Sugar Levels
~ Yerba buena may help lower blood sugar and reduce the complications of diabetes. In fact, a recent animal study reports that may improve insulin signaling.
~ It may also reduce the formation of advanced glycation end-products (AGEs), which are involved in the development and worsening of many diseases.
● Stimulating Properties – yerba buena stimulates the body for increased activity.
● May Lower Your Risk of Heart Disease
~ Yerba buena contains antioxidant compounds, such as cafteoy derivatives and polyphenols, which may protect against heart disease.
~ Cell and animal studies also report that yerba buena extract may provide some protection against heart disease. In humans, yerba buena seems to reduce cholesterol levels.
~ In one 40-day study, participants who drank 11 ounces (330 ml) of yerba buena each day lowered their “bad” LDL cholesterol levels by 8.6-13.1%.
● Tackles Dizziness – the leaves can be squeezed and placed over the nose for 10 to 20 mins. During this period, the fresh droplets from the leaves are gradually inhaled to stop dizziness.
● Wound Healing – the stem of yerba buena can be crushed to form a poultice. The poultice can be applied on wounds, bruises, abrasions and cuts for healing.
● Treatment of Rheumatism – the leaves can be squeezed and used for treating rheumatism and arthritic pain. The squeezed leaves can also be mixed with eucalyptus essential oil before being applied to the affected body parts.
● Act as a Repellent – yerba buena can serve as a natural repellent for warding off insects and rodents away fro house.
● Cosmetological Use – due to the distinctive minty flavour and chemical compositions of yerba buena, it is often used for producing cosmetics, scents, body creams, fragrances and body wash.
☆ CAUTION WITH YERBA BUENA
Be careful while taking yerba buena as large dosage can be harmful to the body.
References: medicalhealthguide.com / healthline.com