Mint: One Plant – Many Uses

 

Over the summer, The Highchair Organizer family decided to plant a few items in a small garden in our yard. Of all the items we decided to plant, I must say that mint has been my favorite.  Now if you listen to my husband he would have you to believe that mint “is just a weed”.  However, after doing a little research and spending a lot of time with this beautiful green plant over the summer, I beg to differ. In fact, I have found my uses for mint including multiple learning opportunities for the kids.

1. Mint Infused Watermint 4

I purchased this infuser from http://www.kohls.com for less than $20.  I must say that it has been one of the best purchases that I have made in a long time.  About once a week I pull fresh mint from our garden.  I take about 2-3 sprigs of the mint, wash it well, and then put in the infuser. I then fill the pitcher with water.  My kids love the taste and it encourages them to drink more water.  The fresh mint infused water is energizing and tasty.  The kids like the fact that they grew the mint and that it “makes the water taste good”.

2. Learning activity for the kids

My 6 year old and 2 year old are very proud of their little garden. And since they are particularly fond of the mint, I decided to turn it into a learning activity.  With my 2 year old we discuss the color of the mint.  We talk about the texture of the mint and how it smells. While at the highchair, I let her glue (with a glue stick of course) pieces of the mint onto construction paper as a project.  She had a blast!

Growing the mint (which by the way is almost impossible to kill) was my 6 year old’s responsibility.  His summer science project was to water it and to pick it for mommy when I needed it.  We discuss how water, good soil, and sun shine are necessary for a healthy plant.

3. Healthy you-healthy kids

mint 2

I was courious about the health benefits of mint.  Did you know mint has long been used to ease stomach pains?  Simply steep in water and make into a tea.  Drinking mint infused water can be energizing and refreshing.  It is a natural stimulant.  The smell alone can aid in getting your brain functioning at a higher level. Take fresh leaves and sniff for a mild decongestant if you have a cold. And as I mentioned earlier, the refreshing flavor gives plain water a boost. This encourages you and the kids to drink more water.

4. Planting & Gardening

All mints thrive near pools of water, lakes, rivers, and cool moist spots in partial shade. In general, mints tolerate a wide range of conditions, and can also be grown in full sun.

I will warn you that mint is fast-growing, extending their reach along surfaces through a network of strong roots. Due to their speedy growth, one plant of each desired mint, along with a little care, will provide more than enough mint for home use. Some mint species are more invasive than others. Even with the less invasive mints, care should be taken when mixing any mint with any other plants, lest the mint take over. To control mints in an open environment, they should be planted in deep, bottomless containers sunk in the ground, or planted above ground in tubs and barrels. However, if you do not mind the spread, mint will make your back yard smell fresh and aromatic.

5. Aromatherapy

The smell of mint always reminds me of summer.  To get that summertime fragrance in the house take a hand-full of the mint leaves and put in a pot of simmering water.  The heat will release the mint oil and the refreshing scent of the mint will fill the room.

6. Favor

Mint adds a great flavor to cold or hot tea.  Simply drop a few leaves into your next cup of tea.  Chop up a few leaves and toss in your green salad for a bold flavor. Mix a couple of leaves into your lemonade for an refreshing twist.mint 3In closing, I hope that you have learned a little more about mint.  Let us know if you have any more uses for this beautiful plant that we have not listed above. Enjoy!