Peppermint (Mentha piperita), a European indigenous plant, is now cultivated all over the world, making mint leaves available throughout the year. Typically used for flavoring candies and dental hygiene products, peppermint has long been used as a traditional folk remedy for a number of common ailments and modern research has confirmed the amazing healing abilities of this plant.
The Health Benefits of Peppermint:
Soothe Upset Stomachs
Peppermint is celebrated for its ability to ease a number of digestive issues, from indigestion and nausea to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), thanks to the menthol found in the leaves and oil. Use peppermint leaves, fresh or dried, in teas for a quick solution. A more potent and time-intensive option would be to create a simple peppermint tincture that can be taken by itself or added to any of your favorite beverages.
Whether you suffer from migraines or the occasional tension headache, peppermint oil has been shown to relieve symptoms just as well as over-the-counter pain medicines. When applied to the forehead and temples for those suffering from scent-induced migraines, symptoms were entirely prevented.
Minty Fresh Breath
Peppermint has been used since the Middle Ages to battle bad breath (halitosis). Today, peppermint oil extract continues to be the most effective compound for maintaining a healthy mouth, although many modern mouthwashes use chlorhexidine to achieve similar, but less impressive results. The microbial properties of peppermint inhibit the growth of many bacteria, including those that can cause tooth decay.
Although peppermint has long been regarded for its health-promoting benefits, in more recent years the interest has extended to cancer research. Perillyl alcohol, a phytonutrient found in peppermint oil, could potentially stop the growth of cancerous tumors and protect against certain forms of the disease.
How to Use Peppermint in Your Kitchen
Add fresh mint to salads or smoothies for a burst of flavor. It also pairs well with tomatoes, making it a great garnish for many Italian dishes.
Our Favorite Use: A nice, soothing cup of peppermint tea. It’s the perfect remedy for treating upset stomach caused by menstrual cramps, pregnancy or car sickness.