Constituents: volatile oils (composed mainly of menthol, menthone, and menthylacetate), flavonoids, tocopherols, carotenoids, betaine, choline, azulenes, rosmarinic acid
How to Use:
We have had a long love affair with mints, as Pliny(23 AD – 79 AD) said:
“As for the garden Mint, the very smell of it alone recovers and refreshes the spirits”
Peppermint's uplifting aroma wafting up from a hot cup of tea can start to settle
an upset stomach even before you drink it. Peppermint's antispasmodic effect
calms nausea and helps prevent gas and bloating after a heavy meal. Peppermint
is often combined with caraway to help indigestion. Those with IBS, irritable
bowel syndrome, can find relief with enteric coated capsules of peppermint. 1
You most likely have some "minty" products in your home now, with the taste and
aroma of mint found in toothpaste, soaps, candies, and more. The menthol used
as a key ingredient in creams, cough medicines, decongestants,
and cigarettes sold at the drugstore is almost certainly manufactured in
a lab and not from natural sources. These artificial mint flavors are to mint what 'truthiness' is to truth, in order to reap the many health benefits
of mint you need the real thing. Luckily peppermint and spearmint are especially
widespread and easy to acquire, both as plants for the garden, and dried mint
leaf teas and essential oil from any natural product supplier.
Preparation Methods & Dosage :Peppermint is used as an essential oil, taken in capsules, extracts, and most often herbal tea.
For cramps try boiling peppermint leaves in hot milk.
Soak cotton balls or rags with peppermint (or clove) oil and place them
where ants may be entering or hiding out.
Take a quick whiff of peppermint oil for nausea.
Diffuse peppermint oil in aroma lamps to clear the air in stuffy rooms.
A few drops of peppermint essential oil in a cold compress cools the body
and relieves a tension headache.
Peppermint has a powerful, sweet, menthol aroma which, when inhaled undiluted, can make the eyes water and the sinuses tingle. Cooling and refreshing peppermint energizes the mind and mood, helping to improve mental clarity and memory.
Plant Class: Perennial Herb: Peppermint is a hybrid of M. aquatica x M. spicata so seeds do not breed true.
Flowers:Terminal spikes of lilac pink flowers.
Parts used: Leaves and essential oil
Leaves:Smooth, toothed, green,leaves
Distribution:Mint appears in every list of herbs passed down to us, Egyptian, Greek, Roman, medieval and American Colonial. There are some two dozen species, with hundreds of variations in the genus Mentha. All mints are native to Europe but are now grown the world over. In America by the turn of the century, 90 percent of the world's supply of mint oil came from an area within a ninety-mile radius of Kalamazoo, MI. Today most of the nation's peppermint is grown in the Pacific Northwest.
How to Grow Peppermint
Mints are hardy perennial plants, and they are very easy to grow. They require little or no maintenance, however, take over the garden if allowed. Mints are great in herb gardens, in beds along the house, or in containers. Harvest in the morning when the oils are strongest. Some of the most popular mints for the home garden are:
Mentha spicata Spearmint
Mentha pulegium Penny Royal
Mentha suaveolens Apple Mint
Mentha suaveolens 'Vargegata' Pineapple Mint
Mentha aquatica Water Mint
Mentha longfolia Horse Mint
Mentha arvensis Corn Mint
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History and Traditions & Folklore
Pliny tells us that the Greeks and Romans crowned themselves with Peppermint at their feasts and adorned their tables with its sprays, and that their cooks flavored both their sauces and their wines with its essence. Two species of mint were used by the ancient Greek physicians, but some writers doubt whether either was the modern Peppermint, though there is evidence that M. piperita was cultivated by the Egyptians. It is mentioned in the Icelandic Pharmacopoeias of the thirteenth century, but only came into general use in the medicine of Western Europe about the middle of the eighteenth century, and then was first used in England.
It was only recognized here as a distinct species late in the seventeenth century, when the great botanist, Ray, published it in the second edition of his Synopsis stirpium britannicorum, 1696. Its medicinal properties were speedily recognized, and it was admitted into the London Pharmacopoeia in 1721, under M. piperitis sapore. Among essential oils, Peppermint ranks first in importance. It is a colourless, yellowish or greenish liquid, with a peculiar, highly penetrating odour and a burning, camphorescent taste. It thickens and becomes reddish with age, but improves in mellowness, even if kept as long as ten or fourteen years. (Grieve, M.,537)
Peppermint's generic name, Mentha, is derived from the mythological origin ascribed to it, and was originally applied to the mint by Theophrastus. Menthe was a nymph, who because of the love Pluto bore her, was metamorphosed by Proserpine, from motives of jealousy, into the plant we now call mint. Mint was used by the ancient Assyrians in rituals to their fire god.
It is an herb of Venus. This herb has a strong, agreeable, aromatic smell, and a moderate warm bitterish taste, it is useful for complaints of the stomach, such as wind, vomiting, for which there are few remedies of greater efficacy. Nicholas Culpeper, 1653
Grigoleit HG, Grigoleit P. . Peppermint oil in irritable bowel syndrome , PubMed, ( 2005 Aug;12(8):601): Peppermint Oil (1-2 capsules t.i.d. over 24 weeks) may be the drug of first choice in IBS patients with non-serious constipation or diarrhea to alleviate general symptoms and to improve quality of life,
** Information on the traditional uses and properties of herbs are provided on this site is for educational use only, and is not intended as medical advice. Every attempt has been made for accuracy, but none is guaranteed. Many traditional uses and properties of herbs have not been validated by the FDA. If you have any serious health concerns, you should always check with your health care practitioner before self-administering herbs. **