Corn mint benefits and side effects

Corn mint benefits


Corn mints comprise a group of species of the genus Mentha belonging to the family Lamiaceae in which Mentha arvensis L. (Lamiaceaea) is popular due to its pharmaceutical, flavor, food, cosmetic, beverage, and allied industrial applications. Another member of the Lamiaceae family is sage and peppermint. Corn mint benefits are it is used to treat liver and spleen diseases,  asthma, and jaundice.   Menthol is used in medicine for stomach disorders and in ointments for headaches. The infusion of leaves is used in indigestion and rheumatic pains.

Common name

Corn mint, Japanese corn mint, wild/field corn mint or pudina, methanol corn mint, Marsh corn mint

Part used

Leaves, flowering tops, and stems

Geographical distribution

Corn mint is native to Japan, and also available in western and central Asia (China, India, Brazil) Europe, North and South America, and Australia.

Nutritional value of Corn mint

Corn mint contains 90% corn mint oil which is rich in menthols (up to 80% menthol) and exhibits cooling, antipruritic, and antibacterial effects. It also contains some phytochemical compounds like monoterpenes such as (menthone, menthofuran, methyl acetate cineole, and limonene); sesquiterpenes (viridiflorol); flavonoids (luteolin, menthoside, isorhoi folin, rutin hesperidin); phenolic acids (caffeic, chlorogenic, and rosmarinic); triterpenes (squalene, a-amyrin, urosolic acid; sitosterol); phytol; tocopherols; carotenoids; choline; betaine; cyclenes; rosmarinic acid; tannin; and minerals (1).

Corn mint health benefits

Some of the important corn mint benefits are

1. Gastroprotective properties of Corn mint

It contains flavonoids, alkaloids, and terpenoids and its oil is a rich source of menthol which acts as a gastro-protective agent that shows inhibition activity against secretion and gastric ulcers and enhances the digestive enzymes in pancreatic tissue (1). Corn mint also helps in the treatment of indigestion, diarrhea, peristalsis, biliousness, flatulence, and colic due to its digestive stimulant action (2).

2. Treat nasal congestion

The menthol found in corn mint enhances the nasal sensation of airflow and prevents nasal congestion (3). Corn mint essential oil relaxes bronchial smooth muscles and suppresses bronchial asthma, and allergic rhinitis (4).

3. Antimicrobial properties

Corn mint leaves and its essential oil contain menthol and menthone which fight against various microorganisms such as Aspergillus flavus, Aspergillus ochraceus, Rhizoctonia solani, and Fusarium moniliforme, Candida albicans, Candida tropicalis, Candida parapsilosis, Candida glabrata, Candida krusei, ochratoxin, and aflatoxin production (5). Moreover corn mint enhances antibiotic activity against a multiresistant Escherichia coli thus useful as a weapon against bacterial resistance to antibiotics (6).

4. Anti-stress properties

Rosmarinic acid (polyphenol) found in corn mint exhibits antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that attenuate oxidative stress and regulate stress-related hormones (corticosterone, β-endorphin, and serotonin). Therefore, corn mint may be used as a natural phytomedicine for the treatment of oxidative disorders in humans (7).

5. Manage diabetes

Corn mint leaves inhibit α-amylase and α-glucosidase enzyme activity that causes type 2 diabetes mellitus, therefore, corn mint helps to reduce postprandial hyperglycemia and prevent or delay the development of long-term complications of diabetes mellitus (8).

6. Anticancer properties

Corn mint leaves contain various bioactive compounds that act as an anticancer agent that enhances antioxidant defenses in the body, induces apoptosis, and inhibits cancer cell growth (9).

7. Anti-inflammatory and sedative properties

Corn mint leaves are very inhibited by several inflammatory factors and reduce tension and anxiety and induce calm thus preventing inflammation and depression by fragrance and the cooling effect of the menthol (10).

8. Radioprotective properties

A cancer patient who is taking irradiation therapy may cause damage to the normal tissues however corn mint leaves have free radical scavenging, antioxidant, metal chelating, anti-inflammatory, and antimutagenic properties that protect testis, gastrointestinal, and other organs against the γ-radiation-induced sickness and mortality (11).

9. Treat the respiratory disease

Corn mint is a good source of natural phenols such as linarin, rosmarinic acid, and caffeic acid derivatives, which inhibit the growth of Chlamydia pneumoniae infection, therefore, corn mint extract would be beneficial against a universal respiratory tract pathogen (12).

10. Contraceptive properties

Corn mint leaf extract inhibits fertility without affecting sexual behavior. Moreover, it decreases sperm concentration, motility, and viability however all these changes back to normal within 30 days after stopping the consumption of corn mint leaves thus useful as a contraceptive drug (13).

Side effect of corn mint

1. Risk of infertility

Do not consume corn mint if you are pregnant because a research study proved that corn mint may induce abortion during 1st trimester of pregnancy. It also enhances the estrogenic effect that can lead to infertility (14).

2. Corn mint may cause mucous membrane irritation

Although the risk of mucous membrane irritation is very low still it is advisable not to apply near the face of infants or children.

3. Avoid corn mint essential oil in cases of cardiac fibrillation

Corn mint oil should be avoided altogether in cases of cardiac fibrillation and by people with a G6PD deficiency (15).