What is Peppermint?

Just what is peppermint? Peppermint is a plant that's so easy to grow it's best to keep it contained so it doesn't take over your whole garden! It grows 1 - 3 feet tall and like all members of the mint family, it has a square stem. Harvesting the leaves right before flowering insures the highest quality and most flavorful herb. You can either use the fresh leaves or dry them for later use.

Peppermint is a plant that most people don't think about when medicinal herbs are mentioned but in reality, peppermint is very versatile and can be very helpful in treating a variety of complaints.

So what is peppermint good for?

  • Peppermint can relieve heartburn, nausea and indigestion
  • It can also ease symptoms of diverticulosis and irritable bowel syndrome
  • May help dissolve gallstones
  • It is anti-inflammatory and can help sooth sore muscles
  • It sweetens the breath
  • Eases coughs and congestion due to allergies or colds

Forms of Peppermint

Peppermint can be used in many different forms...

  • Capsules
  • Peppermint Essential Oil
  • Salve or Cream
  • Tincture or Extract
  • Dried or fresh peppermint leaves as a tea

(The traditional after-dinner mints were used not only to freshen breath but to aid in digestion also! Sadly, today most "after-dinner" mints contain very little real peppermint oil.)

Benefits of Peppermint Oil

Peppermints therapeutic effect comes mainly from it's high menthol content but it actually contains more than 40 different compounds!

Please note that not all essential oils are pure enough to be edible!

Getting back to the benefits of peppermint essential oil, here's some uses for it:

  • Place 2-3 drops on the back of the neck and/or temples to relieve headaches or nervous tension. (keep away from eyes!)
  • Dilute with a natural plant oil and use as a massage oil for sore muscles, to cool body temperature or to help with arthritis pain
  • Place a couple drops in the palm of your hand and rub hands together briskly then inhale deeply through nose to relieve congestion or simply to stimulate alertness!
  • Rub 4-6 drops in the palm and rub over stomach and around the navel to relieve indigestion, flatulence and diarrhea.
  • Add peppermint oil to food as a flavoring and a preservative.
  • Add a drop of peppermint oil to herbal tea, to aid in digestion and relieve heartburn.
  • To deter rats, mice, ants or cockroaches, place two drops of peppermint oil on a cotton ball, and place along the path or point of entry for these pests.
  • To kill aphids, add 4-5 drops of peppermint oil to 4 ounces of water in a spray bottle, shake well and spray the plants.
  • Diffuse peppermint oil in the room while studying, to improve concentration and accuracy. If you don't have a diffuser you can mix 10-15 drops of peppermint in a 4 oz spray bottle with a couple tablespoons of vodka or witch hazel. Shake well and spray the room or yourself! The cooling mix is great if you're overheated or prone to hot flashes!
  • I've used a couple drops in a small amount of water and sipped it to relieve sinus congestion. You could also use as a gargle or mouthwash.

What is peppermint tea good for?

To get the most benefits of peppermint tea, mix 1 - 2 teaspoons of dried peppermint leaves in boiling water and steep 5 - 10 minutes. Make sure to cover the cup so the volatile oils don't escape! Drink and enjoy 3 - 4 cups a day to help with digestion problems or congestion.

What is peppermint capsules good for?

If for some reason you can't stand the taste of peppermint you can try enteric-coated capsules available at health food stores. They release the peppermint right into the large and small intestines which is great for IBS, nausea, or gallstones. Follow instructions on the bottle and take between meals.

Now if anyone asks you, "What is peppermint", you can tell them it's so much more than a flavoring!

And there's so much more to say about peppermint so I hope you'll share your own peppermint remedies and recipes below! 

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