Mint has long been an aromatherapy crowd favorite. But a particular plant called Japanese mint has gotten more and more hype over the years for its potential to help with everything from weight loss to inflammation. Here’s what you need to know about it.
What is Japanese mint?
Japanese mint, which is sometimes called corn mint, is found in North America and Asia. Its parts are often ground up and pressed to form an oil that can either be applied to the skin or used for aromatherapy. It’s also added to various toothpastes, mouthwashes, and soaps because of its minty yet sweet scent and taste.
Japanese mint has been used in medicinal practices for hundreds of years, and it has a number of purported health benefits. Because it’s known for its calming and numbing properties, it can reportedly help with indigestion, flatulence, and stomach pain when applied topically to the area. While scientistic research is still ongoing, early studies show that like many mint plants, it could have anti-inflammatory and anti-swelling properties that soothe the body and the skin.
On top of that, Japanese mint has also gotten increasing attention as a potential weight loss supplement in the form of a transdermal patch. The patch itself wouldn’t directly cause weight loss, but the idea is that it helps suppress appetite, making it easier to stay on track with whatever diet or meal plan you’re on. Researchers say, however, that more work needs to be done to make a more definitive claim about it in this arena.
What are its side effects?
Because Japanese mint is often a topical or aromatherapy treatment, the most common side effect is an allergic reaction. If you’re using it on your skin, test it out on a small patch on your wrist before applying it elsewhere on your body. Similarly, don’t diffuse the oil for hours at a time at first; see how you adjust after only a few minutes.
Additionally, people who are pregnant or breastfeeding, as well as folks with asthma, should stay away from it since it could lead to irritation.
How do you take it?
Japanese mint most often comes in the form of a topical essential oil that you use on the skin (Buy on Amazon, $12.99) whenever you feel irritation, though you can also use it for aromatherapy. As with many other products, you may want to use a carrier oil, like coconut or avocado oil, to add a barrier between the Japanese mint extract and your skin. As with any other treatment, make sure you talk to your doctor’s first before incorporating it into your regimen.