Parts Usually Used
Leaves, oil, and flowering tops
A hybrid perennial plant; 1-3 feet tall; the erect, square, branching stem is tinged with reddish-purple (not green as in spearmint) and has opposite, dark green, ovate to lanceo-late, serrate leaves. Axillary and terminal spikes of small, purple (violet) flowers in loose, interrupted terminal spikes, arranged in whorls, appear from July to frost. The whole plant has the characteristic smell of menthol.
Spearmint smells like chewing gum; peppermint smells like toothpaste.
Other mints, used similarly to peppermint: spearmint (M. spicata), water mint (M. aquatica), and curled mint (M. crispa).
Diaphoretic, aromatic, carminative, chologogue (stimulates flow of bile), stomachic, calmative, mild alterative, stimulant, rubefacient, nervine, analgesic
Menthol, menthone, fasmone, methyl acetate, volatile oils, tannic acid, terpenes, and vitamin C.
Oil of peppermint adds refreshing cool flavor to cordial compositions. A sprig of fresh herb adds character to juleps.
Increases stomach acidity, irritates mucous membranes and the gastrointestinal tract. Use for chills, colic, fever, nausea, diarrhea, heart trouble, rheumatism, convulsions, spasms, dizziness, vomiting, travel sickness, dysentery, cholera, dysmenorrhea, palpitations of the heart, the grippe, hysteria, insomnia, neuralgia, and headaches. Used for colds, flu, sore throat, laryngitis, gas and mild digestive disorders.
The leaves can be made into a salve or a bath additive for itching skin conditions.
Extracts experimentally effective against herpes simplex, Newcastle disease, and other viruses. The oil stops spasms of smooth muscles. Externally, helps rheumatism, neuralgia, headaches, and migraines. Peppermint tea is a valuable old-time beverage which tends to relieve stomach gas, flatulence, and resultant distress. As a harmless, caffeine-free beverage it will not cause restlessness or keep you awake at night.
A wholesome tisane for every member of the family. For young children, 1 or 2 tbsp. of the tea can be sweetened with honey.
When queasiness, nausea, a feeling of fullness, or severe vomiting are presenting problems, a single cup of peppermint tea, drunk in sips and as warm as possible, will dispel these acute disturbances.
Peppermint tea promotes bile flow, improves bile production in the liver, and also exercises a positive influence on pancreatic function. Avoid peppermint in all forms if internal ulcers are present.
May interfere with iron absorption.
Oil is toxic if taken internally in large doses; causes dermatitis. Menthol, the major chemical component of peppermint oil, may cause allergic reactions. Avoid prolonged use of the essential oil as an inhalant.
Mint should not be given to children for more than a week at a time without a break. Do not give any form of mint directly to young babies.
Peppermint can reduce milk flow; take internally with caution if breast feeding.
Check with the pediatrician before giving peppermint to a child.
|Last Updated on Tuesday, 09 March 2010 12:03|