The peppermint plant or “Mentha piperita” is a mixed breed of water mint and spear mint, and is indigenous to Asia and Europe, growing to a height of around 2 to three feet. It produces small purple flowers and aromatic leaves that are dark green in color. The plant’s leaves as well as its stems contain menthol, which is a volatile type of oil and is used for medicinal purposes, for food flavoring, and for fragrances. Peppermint is also loaded with essential vitamins and minerals. It is a good source of vitamins A, B2 and C, folate, iron, manganese, magnesium, potassium, calcium, and copper.
The Peppermint Leaf is usually used to prepare herbal tea that helps in resolving several kinds of digestive disorders. It does this by calming smooth muscles and increasing the production of bile. Peppermint is also used to treat indigestion, food poisoning, flatulence, and irritable bowel syndrome. The numbing effect that peppermint provides has also made it effective in treating headaches, nausea, depression from anxiety, menstrual cramps, flatulence, and diarrhea. It is also able to kill certain kinds of bacteria, viruses, and fungus, which shows that it could possess anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-fungal properties. In its topical form, peppermint can cure poison ivy as well.
Primary Health Benefits of Peppermint
There is a huge number of health benefits that Peppermint Leaf is able to provide. It is effective in treating several types of ailments as well as other very practical uses. It has been proven that mint leaves when dried and prepared with boiled water like tea can provide a calming effect on a person’s digestive system. It can effectively relieve stomachaches. Mint tea is also able to improve on the bowel function of the body.
The other kinds of digestive benefits that peppermint provides include relief from dyspepsia and indigestion, as well as the spasms that may occur on the muscles of the colon. Peppermint is able to calm the stomach muscles and improve on the movement of bile that the body makes use of for the digestion of fats. Because of this, the food is able to pass much quicker throughout the stomach. It is believed that the soothing effect of peppermint may come from its menthol content.
A lot of studies conducted on peppermint have revealed that peppermint capsules, specifically those that are enteric-coated, are able to treat the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome as well, including bloating, gas, diarrhea, and pain. Because of its ability to relax the muscles, peppermint allows gas to pass, thereby providing relief for feeling bloated and experiencing gas pain. In Taiwan, peppermint capsules are taken to reduce abdominal distention, flatulence, and the frequency of stool.
Ongoing studies are being done on using peppermint to slow down the development of tumors that are cancerous. According to “World’s healthiest Foods,” peppermint contains “Perillyl alcohol,” a kind of phyto-nutrient that could be essential in stopping tumors on their tracks, and preventing certain types of cancers such as those of the colon, the lungs, and the skin.
Peppermint is also proving to have a good effect in improving on asthma symptoms and other allergies because of the plant’s anti-fungal properties. It contains “rosmarinic acid,” a type of substance that is believed to possess an anti-inflammatory effect, and the capability of clearing the airways.
Peppermint is also a very efficient method of mouth care. It is nature’s antiseptic that is able to get rid of harmful bacteria inside the mouth. The Peppermint Leaf can be taken alone, steeped for tea, or used as a flavoring for cold drinks as well. Not to mention that peppermint does add great flavor to dishes as well.
Common Forms of Peppermint
You may take peppermint as tea, making use of the dried peppermint leaves that can be purchased commercially. Peppermint is also available as capsules that are enteric-coated, tincture, ointments, and creams.
Peppermint Leaf is an herb with a variety of credits to its name. Anyone facing one of the problems listed above would do well to give peppermint tea or capsules a try.