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Health Benefits & Uses of Peppermint (Mentha × piperita)

Peppermint has been used for centuries to heal a variety of ailments. From asthma to IBS, peppermint is a powerful herbal remedy, and can be utilized in many different ways. Whether in a tea or as an oil, this mint hybrid can meet your needs.

Health Benefits of Peppermint

Below are some of the amazing health benefits that peppermint possesses.

1. GI Health

For similar reasons why it is useful for IBS, peppermint is effective in treating colonic spasms and gastrointestinal disorders. Peppermint helps relax the intestines, which reduces pressure within the GI tract and allows gas to pass through, reducing pain and discomfort. For a run-of-the-mill upset stomach, add a few drops of peppermint oil to a glass of water and drink up.

2. Respiratory Health

Research has shown that inhaling peppermint oil is effective in treating tuberculosis inflammation, speeding up your recovery. It may also alleviate inflammation and congestion related to the common cold or flu. If you are suffering from congestion, apply peppermint oil as a rub to your chest; this will help relieve respiratory pressure and clear your sinuses.

Because peppermint can improve respiratory function, it may also be effective for those suffering from asthma.

3. Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

Peppermint is very soothing for the stomach, and peppermint capsules are a preferred remedy for IBS-sufferers. Peppermint is safe and effective for both adults and children.

4. Shingles

A topical application of mint leaves can help reduce pain associated with shingles. Shingles are extremely painful, and studies have shown that this treatment provides immediate relief.

5. Muscle Pain

Just as it can address cramps and pain in your stomach, it can also help with muscle cramps elsewhere in the body. Massage some peppermint oil onto sore muscles or add a few drops of the oil into your warm bath.

6. Oral Health

Peppermint can inhibit the growth of bacteria in the mouth. Not only does this result in fresher, better-smelling breath (adding to the list of natural remedies for treating bad breath), but it also reduce your risk for cavities. Try to drink peppermint tea almost every day, or add 1-2 drops of peppermint oil to your toothbrush before brushing.

7. Healthy Hair and Skin

Peppermint has mild antiseptic and antibacterial properties, which can remove dead skin cells, bacteria, and more from your hair and skin. Add a few drops of the oil into your shampoo, body wash, or lotion for a relaxing and invigorating smell, as well as soothing benefits to your hair and skin.

8. Improved Memory

Inhaling the aroma of peppermint has been linked to increased cognitive function and improved memory.

9. Stress

Inhaling peppermint is also a great way to relax your body and reduce stress. You can burn some peppermint oil in a burner, or add a few drops of the oil to your bath as you relax and wash away the troubles of the day.

10. Cancer Help

Peppermint is a natural and calming way to reduce nausea associated with chemotherapy. Peppermint may also inhibit the growth of some cancers, such as prostate, and can prevent cell damage as a result of radiation exposure.

How to Use Peppermint

Clearly, peppermint has many health benefits and can be used by almost everyone. Depending on your preference and your use for peppermint, you can opt for fresh leaves, dried leaves, essential oil, or peppermint extract as a supplement.

To make peppermint tea, pour the desired amount of boiling water over about 2 tablespoons of dried peppermint leaves. Cover and let them steep for around 10 to 20 minutes, and then add about five freshly bruised peppermint or spearmint leaves. Pour the mixture into a strainer over a mug. The tea should be free of leaves before consuming.

Peppermint essential oil has a clean, strong, minty aroma. It is one of the most widely used herbs for aiding digestion and it can also restore the effectiveness of digestion. The oil can be rubbed on the forehead and temples and over the sinuses to relieve pressure in the head. Be careful to not have contact with your eyes.

  • To improve concentration and alertness, put two drops on your tongue and rub another drop under your nose.
  • To keep energy up, apply a few drops at the back of the neck and shoulders throughout the day.
  • To curb the desire to snack, inhale or diffuse peppermint oil mid-morning.
  • To soothe minor stomach discomfort, inhale or rather drop on your abdomen.

No matter which form you prefer, peppermint is a good herb to have on hand to treat a wide variety of ailments.

Caution

The oil of peppermint is safe for most adults when used in low amounts, but it may trigger side effects in people with certain sensitivities. Peppermint has been found to decrease milk production and should not be used often during the end of pregnancy. Avoid using this as a daily stimulant, because it can interfere with sleep.

To know if you are having a peppermint oil overdose, you will notice the following symptoms: slow or rapid breathing, skin rashes, vomiting and nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea, urinary problems, depression, and convulsions.

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