Herb Spice:

The Health Benefits of Peppermint

Peppermint has long been known for both its great taste and its soothing medicinal properties. Many people use peppermint leaves, brewed in tea for example, to soothe stomach ailments and other mild illnesses. Fresh peppermint and peppermint leaves have long been used for these purposes, both in traditional medicine and in modern terms.

Traditional uses of peppermint
Peppermint teas, made from fresh peppermint leaves, have been popular preparations for many years, and they continue to be used today.

In addition to soothing the digestive tract and limiting indigestion, peppermint leaves have been shown to help alleviate the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. Fresh peppermint and peppermint leaves have long been used to treat stomach conditions like IBS.

Other uses of peppermint
Peppermint has also been shown to retard the growth of many varieties of bacteria and fungi. It's thought to help relieve symptoms of allergies and asthma as well.

When shopping for peppermint leaves it's important to find a source that uses modern manufacturing techniques, and who does as little processing as possible. If the peppermint leaves are too highly processed they could lose a good deal of their medicinal value.
Growing your own peppermint plants is the best option for the freshest leaves.

Peppermint is generally easy to grow, and on top of providing a great scent, growing peppermint around the perimeter of a home can help discourage ants from entering the house.

There are many ways to prepare peppermint leaves. But the most popular way to prepare fresh peppermint leaves is to brew it into a tea. The aroma of the peppermint as it steams can be just as therapeutic as the peppermint itself, so be sure to breathe in the scent of the peppermint to maximize its healing value.

One popular way to brew tea from peppermint is to use one or two teaspoons of dried peppermint leaves. Pour very hot, but not boiling, water over the leaves, and cover the cup to prevent the valuable volatile oils from being lost. Allow this mixture to steep for 10 minutes, then strain and drunk as tea.

Those who suffer from frequent nausea and other stomach ailments have a choice of drinking such a peppermint tea, or using one of the many enteric coated capsules made with fresh peppermint leaves. Both approaches work well, but it is important to know which approach is best for your particular condition. When drinking peppermint tea for chronic stomach problems, talk to your health practitioner or nutritionist and let them know what you are doing.

Editor's note: I can personally vouch for the power of mint. I attended a Christmas party in 2005. Bill of fare was fried turkey among other equally unhealthy choices. Needless to say fifteen minutes after dinner was over, I felt like I was going to explode from both ends. I sucked Altoids mints and about ten minutes later I felt fine. - Josh

Disclaimer: Throughout this entire website, statements are made pertaining to the properties and/or functions of food and/or nutritional products. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and these materials and products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.