Peppermint sure is an interesting plant with a one-of-a-kind flavor, isn’t it?
We use its minty flavor and/or fragrance to produce a bunch of products – from chewing gum to shampoos, teas, and toothpaste. It doesn’t stop there though.
Peppermint or Mentha Piperita is commonly used in every-day-products, and not so conventional products too.
Mint is really good for food dishes and drinks! Plates that have mint in it or which are decorated with one or several mint leafs have a totally different feel.
And how about that mojito? It wouldn’t be itself without the crushed mint inside, and a mint leaf on top.
Peppermint isn’t good just for its taste and fragrance, it’s also good for its health benefits on your body. Peppermint is full of minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium and manganese.
This minty herb is incredibly good for digestive problems, can help with headaches, and can even protect you against exposure to radiation and prostate cancer. Peppermint’s benefits on your body go far and wide.
Where Does Peppermint Come From?
This aromatic herb, native to Europe and Asia has been around for millennia’s. Peppermint is a water mint (Mentha Aquatica) and spearmint (Mentha Spicata) hybrid. It brings qualities from both of them.
We know for a fact that peppermint has been used by the Egyptians to help their troubled stomach. Archeologists have found dried leaves of peppermint in different Egyptian pyramids that go back to more than 1000 years B.C. The Greeks and Romans, are no different – they too have used peppermint to help with digestive problems.
In Western Europe, the plant became popular during Victorian times. At that time, this wonderful herb was being used not only for problems with digestion but colds and menstrual discomforts.
As you can already see already, there are many health benefits of peppermint. Let’s dig in and learn more about its curing properties.
Peppermint Health Benefits
Who hasn’t had a mint tea in an attempt to ease an upset stomach? Peppermint is incredibly soothing for digestive problems.
It helps treat everything from gas to nausea, to indigestion. It relieves pain and contractions, relaxing you and your gut.
One study showed that even people with irritable bowel syndrome benefited from the properties of this minty herb. You can use peppermint’s benefits by brewing it into tea or you can take peppermint oil capsules.
Headaches, and their more terrible sibling – migraines can really be a pain. These conditions can really get in the way of your day and make it hard to enjoy it.
Several studies have shown that peppermint’s anti-contraction properties can really calm your pulsating headaches. It’s all in the soothing and cooling effects of the plant, along with its ability to increase blood flow.
Cold and Flu
Peppermint’s main “ingredient” is menthol – a component that is also a very good decongestant and expectorant. This is great if you’re going through a terrible cold or flu. It will help your entire respiratory tract, including nose, throat, and lungs.
Peppermint won’t only help with easing your respiratory discomforts, but it’s also an antimicrobial. This plant won’t only make you feel better, but it will actually help treat your condition!
Inflammation is linked to so many health problems. From arthritis, joint pain, heart problems, strokes, and even cancer and lupus.
You can use peppermint oil to treat any exterior inflammation on your body. Rub some on the affected area and it will decrease the swelling.
You can also try peppermint oil capsules for internal problems. One study has shown peppermint to be helpful for people with gallbladder inflammation. This herb’s healing powers doesn’t cease to surprise!
Peppermint’s components also reach antimicrobial properties. They’re helpful against most bacteria and viruses including E-coli. However, peppermint’s antimicrobial benefits help with minor problems as well.
You can say goodbye to nausea or motion sickness with the help of mint. Skin infections and problems like acne can also use the help of peppermint.
Peppermint can also combat skin irritation. Its antimicrobial properties, but mostly its soothing effects help relax your skin. Our skin can often get disturbed because of different irritants – clothing detergent, skin care we’re allergic to or natural skin problems. Try applying some peppermint oil on the affected area. A cloth soaked in some cooled mint tea works as well!
Breathing and Breath Problems
Menthol in peppermint is a good odor neutralizer, which should explain why a broad range of toothpaste and mouthwashes feature the volatile extracts in small quantities. If you suffer from breath odor problems, peppermint can be your best friend. Choose minty toothpaste, mouthwash and try the occasional peppermint oil capsules.
Rosmarinus acid, another component found in peppermint, exhibits a range of positive actions towards asthma. Rosmarinus neutralizes free radicals in the body and efficiently stops production of leukotrienes, a chemical otherwise known to accelerate inflammation.
Finally, Rosmarinus acid in its own special way promotes cell level production of ‘prostacyclin’s’ which you need to keep the airways in your body open for easy breathing. Your respiratory tract loves peppermint, and you should too!
Peppermint has one nutrient that has drawn people’s attention. Why? Because of its anti-cancerous properties. Perillyl alcohol, a phytonutrient, has shown it’s powerful against certain types of cancer. It can act against pancreatic, mammary, and liver cancer.
We now also know that peppermint has powerful properties against prostate cancer. Menthol the most common component in peppermint has shown to regulate cancer cells found in the prostate.
One study showed how menthol regulates abnormal processes that take place in prostate cancer. Peppermint normalizes the processes and helps against this type of cancer.
Now that we’ve gone through peppermint’s main health benefits, we can have a look at some interesting facts about this minty flavored herb.
Peppermint Fun Facts
- Peppermint is one wild herb that cannot be fully contained. It has escaped constrictions and is growing wild in Europe and North America.
- Peppermint has two national days dedicated to it: National Chocolate Mint Day on February 19th, and National Peppermint Latte Day on December 3rd. Don’t miss out on these days and on some delicious chocolate or latte.
- Peppermint essential oil fits really well with rosemary, lavender, eucalyptus, and marjoram oils.
- The main producer of cultivated peppermint is the U.S. with a 70% production out of the total worldwide production. We sure love our peppermint!
Peppermint isn’t only for oil capsules and teas. Why not have some fun and try out some peppermint home cooking?
Peppermint cookies or brownies are delicious and can still provide a lot of peppermint’s nutrients. How about trying to make some home-made peppermint ice-cream during summer time?
Peppermint surely proves its worth every single day. This incredible simplistic herb with its many health benefits ranging from helping with digestive problems to breath odor issues is a true herbal gem. And researchers continue to uncover more health benefits all the time..
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