4 Plants That Will Give You Fresh Breath

The following four plants have been used for hundreds of years to alleviate aches and pains, enhance food flavor, and at the same time give you a fresh breath. Before Colgate started producing the first toothpaste in 1896 and Listerine hit the market in 1895, a good make out session was dependent on these four plants.

They contain essential oils found in Listerine mouthwash that remove the germs which brushing alone misses. Incorporating these plants into your diet will give you added protection from germs that cause bad breath, gingivitis, and plaque. Not only will these plants benefit your health, they will benefit your love life!

1. WINTERGREEN

Wintergreen Photo Courtesy of www.herbco.com

Wintergreen Photo Courtesy of www.herbco.com

The Wintergreen plant(Gaultheria procumbens) produces an essential oil that contains methyl salicylate, which is one of the active ingredients in Listerine. In addition to freshening your breath, the Wintergreen plant and its oil is used for various applications such as:

  • The leaves and berries can be relied on as a trail snack. However, the oil is toxic to humans if ingested internally in large quantities(over 6 milliliters) so avoid eating large amounts of the leaves. 
  • Methyl salicylate(active ingredient in oil of wintergreen) has similar properties to aspirin and is used as an anti-inflammatory natural remedy. 
  • An infusion of the leaves can be used to relieve flatulence and colic.
  • The essential oil can also be used externally to treat cases of rheumatism, sciatica, and sprains.
  • Also used in perfumes and as a taste additive in toothpaste, gum, and candy.
  • The leaves make an excellent wintergreen tea.
  • The fruit that is produced beginning in late summer can be used to make jams or used for pies.

2. EUCALYPTUS 

Eucalyptus Photo Courtesy of www.nativeamericanherbalism.com

Eucalyptus Photo Courtesy of www.nativeamericanherbalism.com

The Eucalyptus plant produces the essential oil Eucalyptol (also know as cineole). Although the E. kochii and E. polybractea species have the highest concentration of cineole, it is mainly derived from the Eucalyptus globulus species. Eucalyptol is one of the chemical compounds found in cineole oil which Listerine uses to help you have fresh breath and a clean mouth. In addition, the essential oil has therapeutic, perfumery, biopesticide, anitmicrobial and flavoring properties. Among some of the beneficial properties of the Eucalyptus plant and its essential oil are:

  • Tasmanian blue gum(E.globulus) leaves are used to make herbal tea.
  • The flowers of E. globulus are a good source of nectar and pollen for bees.
  • Eucalyptol is used to relieve symptoms of influenza and colds in such products as cough drops, ointments and inhalants.
  • Also used as a decongestant to treat bronchitis because of its antibacterial effects on pathogenic bacteria in the respiratory tract. 
  • When used as a topically applied balm, it has anti-inflammatory and analgesic qualities. 
  • Cineole based oil is used as an insect repellent and a biopesticide.
  • As a flavoring, it is used in low doses in baked goods, meat products, beverages and confectionary. 
  • Many soaps, detergens, perfumes and lotions use Eucalyptus oil for scent.
  • It even has a high enough octane rating to be used as a fuel.

3. THYME

Thymus vulgaris Photo Courtesy of www.paulbinghamherbalist.co.uk

Thymus vulgaris Photo Courtesy of www.paulbinghamherbalist.co.uk

An herb frequently used in kitchens, thyme has qualities which go beyond culinary applications. Thymus vulgaris is the scientific name of common thyme or garden thyme and is the main species which the essential oil thymol is extracted from. Due to its strong antimicrobial attributes, thymol is one of the compounds found in Listerine as well as toothpastes such as Euthymol. Not only can Thyme enhance your garden with wonderful scents, the thymol compund that's derived from the essential oil has numerous applications such as:

  • Thyme has properties which help in the fight against bacteria and fungi such as; 
    Staphalococcus aureus, Bacillus subtilis, Escherichia coli and Shigella sonnei.

  • As a naturally occurring biocide, thymol can reduce bacterial resistance to antibiotics, particularly against fluconazole-resistant strains.

  • Thymol is a common active ingredient in all-natural, alcohol-free hand sanitizers. 

  • Thyme has been found to both prevent contamination and decontaminate previously contaminated foods.

  • It is recommended to add thyme or basil to fresh greens in order to ensure fresh produce is safe to eat.

  • Thymol crystals are sometimes used to kill fungal spores which begin growing on old books.

INCORPORATE THYME TO YOUR DIET WITH THIS DELICIOUS RECIPE:
HONEY SALMON IN FOIL

salmon with thyme

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes

Yield4 servings

INGREDIENTS

1/4 cup honey
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 pounds salmon

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil.
In a small bowl, whisk together honey, garlic, olive oil, white wine vinegar, thyme, salt and pepper, to taste.
Place salmon onto prepared baking sheet and fold up all 4 sides of the foil. Spoon the honey mixture over the salmon. Fold the sides of the foil over the salmon, covering completely and sealing the packet closed.
Place into oven and bake until cooked through, about 15-20 minutes.*
Serve immediately.

NOTES
*Baking time may need to be adjusted depending on the thickness of the salmon. 

4. MINT

Mint Photo Courtesy of www.en.wikipedia.org/mentha

Mint Photo Courtesy of www.en.wikipedia.org/mentha

The genus Mint or Mentha is a group of plants in the Lamiaceae (Mint Family). Typically a perennial, they are aromatic herbs with numerous beneficial applications. Specifically, the Mentha arvensis species is widely used for its essential oil, menthol. An organic compound, menthol is a crystalline substance obtained from peppermint, cornmint and other mint oils. Menthol's aromatic qualities along with medicinal applications make it an active ingredient in many products, among them Listerine. Other applications of mint and its essential oil include:

  • Menthol is used for symptom relief of sore throat or throat irritation in products such as cough medicines and lip balms.
  • It is used to reduce itching.
  • As a topical analgesic to relieve muscle cramps and aches, headaches, or other similar conditions.
  • To relief chest and sinus congestion.
  • In after shave products to reduce razor burn.
  • In certain sunburn medications for a cooling affect.
  • In oral hygiene to promote fresh breath in products such as toothpastes, mouthwash and tongue-sprays.
  • As a flavoring agent in gums and candy.
  • Various natural beauty products utilize its beneficial qualities. (St.Ives)

I encourage you to incorporate these plants into your garden or to grow them individually in planters. With so many practical applications, cultivating these four plants will enhance your garden and provide you with fresh herbs year round!

P.S If you're still unable to achieve fresh breath after incorporating these herbs into your diet, click on the link to learn the secret of fresh breath!

-Shem R.