Cool fresh peppermint with its stimulating aroma is a popular flavouring for gum, toothpaste, and tea. This superfood is full of many health benefits from helping with digestion to increasing memory. Did you know it helps keep mosquitos away too? I always grow mint in my garden for salads, teas, and smoothies.
13 Health Benefits of Peppermint
1. Helpful for Digestion
The main ingredients in peppermint (menthol and methyl salicylate) are antispasmodic, which have a calming effect on the digestive tract.
- Dyspepsia (Upset Stomach with bloating, nausea and burping)
It was found that peppermint oil, along with caraway oil, gave relief to the symptoms of dyspepsia in a study at the University Medical Clinic, in Bochum, Germany.
- Effectively Moves Food From Stomach to Intestines
It was found that oil improved the movement of food called ‘gastric emptying’ which is very helpful for those with digestive tract disorders.
- Reduces Nausea Induced by Chemotherapy
The peppermint oil helps reduce nausea created by chemotherapy which is much less expensive than standard drug-based treatments according to research.
- Effective on Colic in Infants
Research says that peppermint is as effective as simethicone in the treatment of colic in infants.
- Lessens Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Symptoms
Peppermint oil was found to lessen spasms in the colon of IBS patients, the research found it reduced the symptoms more than the medication Buscopan.
- Has a Soothing Effect
The two main ingredients in peppermint have a soothing effect on the stomach helping the digestive tract to settle down, according to The University of Maryland Medical Center.
2. Good at Keeping Mosquitoes Away
When they tested Australian bush mint essential oil to see if it would prevent mosquitoes from landing on arms and from biting, they found it to be effective. It was more effective when there was a concentration of repellent action of the 8% essential oil which deterred the mosquitos by 97% for as long as 5 hours. When it was only 6% essential oil it did repel all mosquitoes immediately but it went down to 75% after 5 hours.
3. Prevents Breastfeeding Nipple Pain and Damage
It was found that peppermint water helped to prevent nipple cracks and pain in a study of one hundred and ninety-six breastfeeding mothers.
4. Tuberculosis Regression
It was found that when the essential oil of peppermint was inhaled there was a rapid regression of tuberculosis inflammation in the research; they believe it may prevent recurrence of the disease.
5. Helps with Pain Relief
Applying peppermint oil (containing 10% menthol) can help relieve pain. As an example in a study, a woman applied it to her skin and got very quick pain relief and it stayed away for 4-6 hours.
6. Inhibits Prostate Cancer
The menthol in peppermint was found to inhibit the growth of prostate cancer in clinical research.
7. Headache Relief
A combination of peppermint and eucalyptus oil were applied to the temples and forehead to help relieve headache pain in a study at the Neurological Clinic at the University of Kiel, Germany. They found it to reduce headaches.
8. Pest Control
In a study they found peppermint, lemongrass, and lavender essential oils help control houseflies.
9. Boosts Memory
Scientists in Newcastle upon Tyne, UK did a study with peppermint oil and ylang-ylang oil and found that peppermint oil increased memory and alertness whereas ylang-ylang impaired it.
10. Soothing for Skin Irritations
It can be helpful for skin irritations, like poison ivy.
11. Inhibits Herpes from Spreading
It has been found in studies to inhibit drug-resistant herpes simplex virus type 1.
12. Great for Teeth
Ever wonder why so often toothpaste is flavoured with peppermint? The oil has been found to inhibit the formation of plaque which is linked to creating cavities. Also, it is very useful for freshening the breath and whitening teeth.
13. Increased Hair Growth
Those going bald or with thinning hair now can use peppermint oil on their heads. A study in Korea found it had a positive effect on new hair follicles without any negative side effects.
Please Note: For children under 8 years of age it is best not to use peppermint oil (not inhaled, taken by mouth or applied on the skin).
Natural supplement precautions: Peppermint can decrease the absorption of iron when taken together. Take iron supplements and peppermint oil with at least 3 hours between the two. It also increases the absorption of quercetin, so again allow at least 3 hours between taking them together.
Fresh peppermint has small amounts of vitamins and minerals (vitamin A, C, folate, (calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium).
- Has been used as one of the oldest home remedies for indigestion.
- The United States harvested 71,300 acres of peppermint in 2010.
- Mint leaves were scattered on the synagogue floor by the ancient Hebrews so that each footstep would produce a fragrant aroma.
- In ancient Rome, it was believed that consuming mint would increase intelligence. The perfume of mint was also thought to keep temper in check so royal ambassadors carried mint sprigs in their pockets.
- Mint’s refreshing scent was used by the Romans and Greeks in baths and bedchambers for its clean, invigorating fragrance.
- In the Middle Ages, powdered mint leaves were used to whiten the teeth.
- Oregon, Idaho, and Washington are the top 5 peppermint-producing states with more than 1 million pounds each.
This herb has been found in the Egyptian pyramids and been around since 1,000 BC.
- It is added to food, used in medicine and the beautiful aroma is enjoyed.
- From India to Europe to the Middle East, mint has been used to clear the air in temples and homes.
- Many cultures mint symbolizes hospitality.
- Native Americans use mint for therapeutic purposes and as a tea beverage.
Choosing the Best Peppermint
Fresh mint is the best and has a greater flavour than dried mint. When selecting, make sure the leaves are vibrant, rich green without dark spots or yellowing.
Still, dried is good when you cannot get it fresh. Try to purchase it organically grown so that you can be sure it has not been irradiated.
A very good peppermint oil is good too.
Here is one that I like: NOW Peppermint Essential Oil, 4-Ounce
4 Delicious Fresh Recipes
Fresh Peppermint Pesto Is So Tasty on Pasta– I love this vegan pesto during the hot summer.
Lemon-Mint Salad Dressing– This a delicious and refreshing mint salad dressing.
Fresh Mint Tea– This recipe is a traditional tea in many desert countries like Morocco, Turkey, and Egypt.
Cucumber-Mint-Mango Lightness– Light, lovely green in color, not too sour.
Learn more about some of the healthiest vegetarian foods you will always want to have in your pantry or growing on your deck.
READ: Superfoods – Over 100 of the Healthiest Foods You Should Have in Your Diet and learn more about the variety of Superfoods we think you should have in your diet.