Peppermint has been one of the popular herbs known since antiquity for its distinctive aroma and medicinal value. The herb has a characteristic refreshing cool breeze sensation on taste buds, palate and throat when eaten; and on nasal olfaction glands when inhaled. This unique quality of mint is due to the presence of menthol, an essential oil in its fresh leaves, and stem.
Studies have shown that Peppermint can help with a number of health conditions. It is known to have analgesic, anesthetic, decongestant, astringent, antiseptic, antibacterial, antimicrobial, antispasmodic, and carminative properties. Therefore, it has been found beneficial in the treatment of many conditions including colds, flu, sinusitis, dry cough, fever with chills, nausea, digestive problems, Irritable Bowel Movement (IBS), menstrual cramps, muscular pains and aches, rheumatoid arthritis, acne, itchy, oily and irritated skin, dandruff, head lice, burns, insect bites, headache, stress, mood swings and emotional imbalance.
The link between peppermint and anti-cancer effects is still under research. A phytonutrient in peppermint has shown to stop cancerous tumors from growing in animals. These are tumors in the pancreas and liver, which are generally more difficult to cure. Protection against cancer using peppermint in animals has also been observed in the lungs, colon and skin.
A 2009 study found that inhaled essential oil of peppermint was able to rapidly regress tuberculous inflammation, leading the authors to conclude: “This procedure may be used to prevent recurrences and exacerbation of pulmonary tuberculosis.
Cold and Flu Remedy
Peppermint is commonly used in cold and flu remedies. Studies have shown that it kills bacteria and viruses. It also has a calming and numbing effect. It dulls the pain of an aching body. The menthol in peppermint effectively thins mucus and breaks up phlegm. It provides relief from coughs and congestion. You will find menthol as a common ingredient in decongestants. It is also a common ingredient in rubs used on the chest to relieve chest aches experienced during colds and the flu.
Source of minerals
Peppermint-herb is an excellent source of minerals like potassium, calcium, iron, manganese and magnesium. 100 g fresh herb provides 569 mg of potassium. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps control heart rate and blood pressure. Manganese and copper works as co-factors for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide-dismutase.
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
Although some older studies suggest that peppermint oil does not affect IBS, most research shows that taking peppermint oil by mouth reduces stomach pain, bloating, gas, and bowel movements in people with IBS.
Peppermint May Relieve A Stuffy Nose
One of the two biggest active ingredients in peppermint is menthol, the compound that gives so many of those over-the-counter cold and cough remedies their minty smell. There’s little evidence sniffing the stuff actually clears your nasal passages, but it seems to trick your brain into thinking it does. People report greater perception of an un-stuffy nose, even if little physically changed after inhaling pepperminty products. Sometimes when you’re really under the weather, that might be good enough!
Taking peppermint oil by mouth together with caraway oil seems to reduce feelings of fullness and stomach spasms. A specific combination product containing peppermint (Iberogast, Medical Futures, Inc) also seems to improve symptoms of heartburn, including severity of acid reflux, stomach pain, cramping, nausea, and vomiting. The combination includes peppermint leaf plus clown’s mustard plant, German chamomile, caraway, licorice, milk thistle, angelica, celandine, and lemon balm.
Peppermint oil may help relieve tension headache pain. For headache pain, try dabbing a few drops on your wrist or sprinkling a few drops on a cloth, then inhaling the aroma. You can also massage the oil directly onto your temples and forehead.
Preclinical research indicates peppermint protects against radiation-induced DNA damage and cell death.
Peppermint is known to relax constricted muscles. Therefore, drinking one cup of Peppermint tea 2-3 times daily during the menstrual cycle may help soothe menstrual cramps.
Early research shows that a specific combination of tea tree oil, peppermint, and lemon oil can improve breath smell when used for 3 minutes.
Peppermint oil has analgesic, local anesthetic and counter-irritant properties and has been used in the preparation of topical muscle relaxants, and analgesics.
Peppermint contains rosmarinic acid (also found in rosemary), which may help to reduce inflammation-causing chemicals in people with asthma.
Peppermint oil acts as an expectorant and decongestant, and may help clear your respiratory tract. Use peppermint essential oil as a cold rub on your chest or inhale it through a vaporizer to help clear nasal congestion and relieve cough and cold symptoms.
Peppermint is known to be a natural insect repellent. Therefore, applying Peppermint Oil thoroughly into the hair for about 30 minutes before taking a shower may help get rid of head lice. This should be repeated three times a week. If you experience any skin irritation, you can try diluting the Peppermint oil with a small amount of olive oil. To get rid of nits (lice eggs), use a very fine wooden comb twice daily especially right after taking a shower.
Peppermint and Liver
Peppermint supports liver function by improving the flow of bile from the liver to the gallbladder. By increasing the amount of bile flow, peppermint leaf positively supports digestion by helping to break down fats and reduce bad cholesterol. Decreased cholesterol levels reduce the work load required from the liver. If your liver is sluggish, peppermint may provide a boost.
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