Herb of the Month: Peppermint

With all the peppermint treats I consumed this past holiday season I couldn’t help but make peppermint the first herb in this new monthly series I decided to start called herbs of the month! Herb of the month is going to feature one new herb each month that shares all the benefits and uses of that herbs! I hope you guys will already know some and I really hope I can teach you guys some new ones too!!!! Sooooo how about we all put a little pep(permint) back into our step and start with one of my all-time favorite herbs….. PEPPERMINT!

Peppermint is such a versatile herb and has been used by individuals for decades but sometimes it is easy to forget all the wonderful health benefits that you are also getting every time you sip your favorite cup of peppermint tea. I am going to remind you of some of the beneficial uses of peppermint so you can feel better about yourself this new year (when reminiscing about the holidays when you indulging in everything peppermint!).

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The herb nerd stuff:

I know most of this will probably sound foreign to you, but I will explain everything so you will have a greater understanding of the things you are putting in your body allowing you to be more versatile and creative with how you use this wonderful herb, peppermint!

  • Latin nameMentha piperita
    • *Latin name is a universal name for each herb that is recognized worldwide
  • Part used:
    • Aerial — everything above the ground
  •  Constituents:
    • *Constituents are what the plant has that is giving it a medical action
    • Volatile oil (menthol + methone)
    • Tannins
    • Phenolic acids (methyl-salicylates, rosmarinic acid, caffeic + cholorogenic)
  • Medical actions:
    • *Medical action is the response the body has to the constituents
    • Anti-emetic — reduces feelings of nausea + helps to prevent vomiting
    • Anti-inflammatory — reduces inflammation in the body
    • Anti-microbial — reduce + eliminate the pathogenic microorganisms in the body
    • Carminative — helps the digestive system function with greater ease
    • Anti-spasmodic — reduces cramping + spasms in the muscles (smooth + skeletal muscle)
    • Nervine — has a beneficial effect on the nervous system. In regards to peppermint, it can have both a stimulatory or a sedative effect depending on what the body needs
  • How it can be taken:
    • Tea — dry herb steeped in hot water for 5-10 minutes
    • Tincture — alcohol extraction of the herb
    • Steam inhalation — essential oil in hot water that gets inhaled
    • Topical — applied to the affected area as a cream or essential oil
    • Fresh herb  taken in meals or drinks

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Peppermint has so many wonderful uses, it’s hard to know where to start with it! It can be used both internally and externally for:

  • Internally — in the form of a tea, herbal tincture + fresh herb can be used to help with digestive issues such as flatulence, stomach upset, motion sickness + prevent nausea and vomiting
  • Externally — in the form of essential oil or a topical ointment can be applied to the skin to help with sprains, strain, rheumatic pain + headaches
  • Inhaled — in the form of steam using a diffuser or just boiling water and essential oil to help with a cough, cold, respiratory infection, bronchitis, sinusitis + decongestant

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Personally, my favorite way to use peppermint is so diverse! I LOVE sipping on peppermint tea. I can’t go a morning when I don’t have my peppermint tea, it has just become a ritual for me! I also really love to use peppermint essential in my diffuser when I’m studying. Lastly, I also LOVE peppermint halo from Saje, whenever I have a headache or sore neck from studying I roll it on it makes a huge difference (you gotta try it!!).

I would LOVE to hear all the different ways you guys use peppermint and why you use it! Leave me a comment, send me a message or tag me @barefoot.brit in your favorite peppermint creation, I would love to learn more!

XO

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References:
Hoffman, D. (2003). Medical herbalism: The science and practice of herbal medicine. Rochester, VT. Healing Arts Press.

Marciano, M. & Vizniak, N. (2018). Botanical Medicine. Canada. Professional Health Systems Inc.

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