Peppermint is a well-known flavouring for chewing gum, toothpaste, candy, and mouthwash. The flavour of peppermint is a cross between chlorophyll and pepper. Peppermint also contains medicinal benefits for curing a selection of mental and physical ailments. You can use peppermint in the form of oils, leaves, teas, pills and extract for medicinal purposes. Peppermint comes with a calming and cooling effect on the mind and body, mainly thanks to the high menthol content. Plus, it is known for its antioxidant, antibacterial, antispasmodic, antiviral, antifungal and carminative agents. Moreover, this herb is full of vitamin C, manganese, and copper. You can consume peppermint tea, or add this herb to your soups, salads, smoothies, sauces, juices, or other dishes.
Peppermint helps to reduce stress and alleviate mental fatigue mainly due to its invigorating smell. In addition, with a cooling and soothing effect, this herb promotes relaxation and enhances clear thinking. Place a few drops of peppermint essential oil on a handkerchief and slowly inhale the aroma to relieve stress – this will also rejuvenate the mind. Alternatively, beat stress by adding drops of peppermint oil or some peppermint leaves to your bathwater for a soothing soak.
One of the most common medical problems is indigestion; luckily, this can be treated with the help of peppermint. The herb enhances the flow of bile, helps to relax the stomach muscle, and promotes overall digestion. Peppermint’s soothing aroma also helps to trigger the production of digestive enzymes which aid digestion. In order to improve digestion, try drinking several cups of peppermint tea daily. Another option is to put a few drops of peppermint oil in a glass of warm water and drink after mealtimes.
Calm Muscle Pain
Peppermint can help to relieve muscle pain because it helps to improve circulation and prevents anti-inflammatory as well as analgestic effects. Thanks to its menthol, the herb soothes inflamed muscle tissues. For this purpose, mix peppermint oil with a carrier oil like almond or olive oil and gently massage this mixture onto the sore muscles several times per day. Alternatively, you can apply a muscle ointment containing peppermint.
Prevent Asthma and Allergies
Easing allergy and asthma symptoms is also one of the best health benefits of peppermint. Being an expectorant, this herb assists the body to remove mucus from the lungs, airways, trachea and bronchi, which in turn relieve asthma symptoms. In addition, it’s a good relaxant and eases congestion during allergy season. Furthermore, the herb prevents allergic reactions since it consists of anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and antioxidant properties. For this purpose, mix a few peppermint oil drops with coconut oil: rub this solution onto your neck, chest, and nose. This helps to relax breathing and unclog sinuses. You can also add a peppermint oil drop to one pot of hot water and then inhale the steam to treat a cough. Alternatively, you can consume several cups of peppermint tea every day to remove allergy and asthma symptoms.
Support Oral Health
Peppermint also helps to prevent tooth decay, gum disease as well as other oral problems because it can trigger the bacterial growth in the mouth due to its antibacterial property. Apart from that, it freshens up the breath. To get rid of oral problems, chew about five to six peppermint leaves every day. You can also prepare peppermint tea (one cup) and let it cool. Rinse your mouth with this tea once per day. Alternatively, you can use mouthwash or toothpaste consisting of peppermint to brush the teeth and rinse the mouth.
A study published in 1997 at Liverpool University, indicated that peppermint can relieve post-operative nausea effectively. Also, peppermint also helps to reduce nausea and vomiting. Peppermint activates the enzymes required for digestion, thus lessening nausea. Place a few drops of peppermint essential oil on a handkerchief and slowly inhale using deep breaths, this helps to minimise nausea quickly. Or, sip one cup of warm peppermint tea slowly to reduce nausea.
Generally speaking, peppermint helps to reduce various types of headaches, such as tension or stress-related headaches, and migraines. In addition, this herb helps to decrease sensitivity to pain because it contains significant analgesic effects. Moreover, it can relax tense muscles and improve blood circulation. A study published (1994) in Cephalalgia – An International Journal of Headache, reported that a combination of ethanol and peppermint oil can help to reduce significant sensitivity to headaches. Mix peppermint oil (three drops) in jojoba or olive oil or any carrier oil (one tablespoon). Apply this mixture on your temple and the back of the neck. Gently, massage for five to ten minutes. Also, consuming one cup of strong peppermint tea can help to alleviate headaches.
Cure Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Peppermint can deal with symptoms of IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), such as stomach bloating and cramps. It also helps to relax the esophageal sphincter, decreasing IBS symptoms. Besides, peppermint also helps food pass via the stomach easily. For this purpose, consume peppermint tea several times per day. Make this tea at home by adding dried peppermint leaves (one teaspoon) to one cup of boiling water. Alternatively, taking enteric-coated peppermint capsules two times per day for one month is an effective option – remember to consult a doctor prior to use.
Improve Immune System
As mentioned earlier, peppermint has known antibacterial agents, which are the main cause of so many health problems including coughs, fevers, and colds. Consuming peppermint tea helps you cure various symptoms and prevents the body from becoming sick. In addition, peppermint is a powerhouse of vitamin B, potassium, calcium and antioxidants, which can help the body uptake nutrients to beat the illness.
Fight Acne and Pimples
Peppermint can deal with acne-prone skin because it comes with potent anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antibacterial properties. Besides, peppermint helps to reduce sebum production. Moreover, this herb can be used to calm and soothe itchy and infected skin. For this purpose, take freshly extracted peppermint juice and rub it on pimples, acne, or other skin conditions. Wait for 15 – 20 minutes and rinse off using cool water. It is recommended to repeat once or twice per day until the skin improves. You can also apply a few drops of peppermint oil directly on affected areas two to four times a day.
Enhance Hair Growth
Peppermint is beneficial for hair; it improves circulation and boosts hair growth. In addition, peppermint combats dandruff and helps to balance the pH of the scalp. Add peppermint essential oil (a few drops) to coconut oil or extra-virgin olive oil or any other carrier oils. Use this mixture to massage your scalp and hair. Let it sit for at least 45 minutes and shampoo the hair as usual. You should do this once or twice per week. Two to three drops of Peppermint essential oil can also be added to shampoo.
Bearing all of these peppermint benefits in mind, remember that this herb can also have some side effects – so use with care.
About the author: Hang Pham, is a blogger with over 10 years experience of searching the most effective remedies for beauty and health issues. To read more of Hang’s posts please visit: effectiveremedies.com