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Using peppermint in herbal medicine

Peppermint is used for most digestive problems

Peppermint (Mentha Piperita) – Peppermint is a common herb often used in chewing gum, mouthwash, toothpaste, and candy. It has many medicinal properties and is used in the treatment of stomach problems, headaches, congestion, muscle spasms, gingivitis, and irritable bowel syndrome. Peppermint is also used in the treatment of indigestion and intestinal cramps.

Peppermint soothes the stomach, represses gas, stimulates bile flow from the gallbladder, and stops nausea. It is used to treat vomiting, colic, and hiccups.

Peppermint boosts mental alertness while relieving anxiety

The herb is a natural stimulant. Peppermint contains menthol, a rich volatile oil that is considered a mild anesthetic. Peppermint also contains tannins and “bitters”. These compounds kill many harmful microorganisms and boost mental alertness. They are also known to ease anxiety and tension.

Peppermint is uplifting and relaxing

Peppermint can be taken internally in tea form or the essential oil vapors can be inhaled. The scent is uplifting and relaxing at the same time.

Like all herbs, peppermint is packed with nutrients

Peppermint contains high levels of manganese, vitamin C and vitamin A. The herb also contains trace amounts of fiber, iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium, omega-3 fatty acids, riboflavin, and copper.

Use peppermint essential oil with lavender or eucalyptus essential oil to stop headaches

For an excellent headache remedy, try combining peppermint essential oil with eucalyptus essential oil.  Dilute the mix with olive oil and apply to the temples every few minutes until relief is noted.

Peppermint improves blood flow

Peppermint tea can be used as a wash to sooth irritated skin. It can help reduce pain and improve blood flow.

Peppermint is a hybrid of spearmint and water mint

Records show that peppermint was first cultivated near London in 1750. It is a hybrid of water mint and spearmint. Peppermint grows abundantly almost everywhere. There are two types of peppermint.  Black peppermint has purple colored leaves and stems that contain high oil content. White peppermint has pure green leaves and a milder taste.

Honeybees love peppermint flowers

Peppermint flowers are heavy nectar producers and thus attract many honeybees. A mild, delicious honey is produced if there are enough plants.

Local mountain mint is kin to peppermint

All members of the mint family have square stems. In the North Georgia Mountains we have a near relative of peppermint that grows wild. Old timers call it horsemint or mountain mint. It is white looking and has tiny purple spotted blooms during August. (The white tint almost looks like a powdery mildew but is the plants natural coloring.) This wild relative can be used as a substitute for peppermint but is not as strong.

Most mints can be substituted for peppermint. There are many new varieties including lemon mint, chocolate mint, and pineapple mint.

Mint plant spread quickly but can be smothered out by grass and weeds

Peppermint loves the shade and spreads quickly by underground rhizomes. If you grow mint in the garden or flower border, it is best to plant in a container. Peppermint can rapidly take over and become a nuisance. The plants like moist soil.

For medicinal purposes, collect leaves and tops as soon as the flowers begin to open. Dry completely and store in air tight containers.

* Avoid peppermint in cases of chronic heartburn. Use caution when treating infants or children as the menthol may cause choking. Always consult with a physician before using any herbal remedy.

Peppermint tea in a blue cup

© Anna Romanova | Dreamstime Stock Photos

Peppermint is used as a herbal remedy to treat indigestion and digestive problems.