Mentha arvensis, popularly known as Vicks Tulsi or Wild mint is a plant that belongs to the Mint family. This plant grows in various climactic conditions and like many other species from the mint family, this has a variety of benefits for respiratory problems. In Ayurveda, vatham, pittam and kabham are the three most important aspects of human health. Of this, kabham that is related to respiratory system can be maintained in good halth with the use of Tulsi, mint and plants such as Vicks Tulsi.
The plant has a lovely fragrance, the leaves smell and taste like the popular ointment Vicks and hence its modern name. The leaves of Mentha arvensis contain about 70% of Menthol due to which it has such a strong flavour. It is a perennial plant and has tiny mild purple colour flowers. The leaves look a bit like that of Tulsi (Holy Basil) but are more, hairy, slender and pointed.
Essential oils are made of Mentha arvensis leaves and these can be inhaled for relief from cold and cough. A few drops of the essential oil can be rubbed on the forehead to get quick relief from headache.
Another way to get relief from common cold is:
- Take about 2 litres of water and boil it well.
- Switch off
- Add 4-5 leaves of Vicks Tulsi to the hot water.
- Inhale the steam from this water.
In Siddha and Ayurveda medicine, these leaves are also used to treat flatulence, heart burn, gastric problems and other digestive disorders.
Vicks Tulsi can be dried, powdered and used in making tooth powder. The presence of menthol in its leaves makes it a very good option for oral care.
This recipe uses Vicks Tulsi to make a concoction (kashayam in Tamil). Pepper powder and honey have been used in order to cure cough. You can also add dried ginger (Sukku) powder and Turmeric powder for added benefit. Here is the recipe.