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 application. 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.
Corn mint, Japanese corn mint, wild/field corn mint or pudina, methanol corn mint, Marsh corn mint
Leaves, flowering tops, and stems
Corn mint is native to Japan, 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 effect. It also contain some phytochemical compound 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 for the treatment of indigestion, diarrhea, peristalsis, biliousness, flatulent 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 prevent nasal congestion (3). Corn mint essential oil relaxes bronchial smooth muscles and suppresses bronchial asthma, 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 exhibit antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that attenuate oxidative stress regulates the stress-related hormones (corticosterone, β-endorphin, and serotonin). Therefore, corn mint may use 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 which act as an anticancer agent that enhance antioxidant defenses in body, induces apoptosis and inhibit 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 prevent 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 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 leave extract inhibits the 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).