Most of the time when we think of peppermint, the first thing that comes to mind is candy, chewing gum or ice cream. But what about the medicinal benefits of peppermint?
Yes, peppermint has long been used in the preparation of certain foods or as a tea, but many people are surprised to learn that it can be quite beneficial to your health as well.
Peppermint has a large index of health benefits such as calming digestive spasms and relieving gas. It also fights bacteria and acts as a decongestant as well.
Menthol, which is a component in peppermint, has antibacterial, antiviral, and analgesic effects, and it soothes the stomach, easing any pain.
In addition, when used in tea it offers relief for mild asthma attacks. It is used to increase the flow of digestive juices and bile while bringing the digestive muscles to a relaxed state.
Peppermint has an antispasmodic effect which can provide significant relief for abdominal pain, bloating, constipation, diarrhea and general abdominal discomfort associated with an intestinal condition such as irritable bowel syndrome.
Peppermint oil generates this antispasmodic activity and provides relief for liver and gallbladder conditions.
It should also be noted that in laboratory studies, peppermint oil was found to kill bacteria that cause urinary tract infections and the herpes simplex virus, and the oil has been used to reduce colic in babies.
For many people, just the aroma of peppermint helps with improved concentration, relieves headaches and reduces mental fatigue. In addition, when used topically it can act as an antiseptic for muscle and nerve pain.
Due to its cooling properties, this particular herb eases inflammation to tissue, and it has also been known to relieve insomnia, stress and anxiety.
Fortified with high levels of manganese, Vitamin C and Vitamin A, peppermint also includes properties such as fiber, iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium, omega-3, riboflavin and tryptophan.
Known to prevent gallstones, peppermint also soothes the lining of the stomach and relieves cramping. This accounts for some of the over the counter ointments and lozenges which have peppermint properties.
As mentioned earlier, you may be most familiar with peppermint as a tea. Did you know that you can also add peppermint tea to your bath to help treat skin conditions?
You can gargle with tea several times a day to treat a sore throat, and when used as a mouthwash, peppermint can aid in the prevention of gingivitis as well.
Up to four cups of peppermint tea per day can be consumed for the treatment of digestive disorders, morning sickness, or to ease congestion.
And though there have been no toxic side effects associated with its consumption, it’s always advisable to consult your physician when taking any herb or supplement.
Peppermint is found in many things that we eat and drink – from chocolate to ice cream – but most notably in chewing gum. However, there are many medicinal qualities derived from the use of peppermint, whether used internally or externally.
Add this wonderful herb to your garden and enjoy all the benefits of peppermint fresh, whenever you want.