The use of peppermint has been around for thousands of years and can be traced back to the times of Ancient Egypt where it was used for indigestion. It was also used to help soothe the stomach in ancient Greece and Rome. Then, in the 18th century, it became popular in Western Cultures as a herb used to remedy nausea, vomiting, morning sickness, respiratory infections, and menstrual pain. Today, it is used to treat many of these same issues, including intestinal issues, gas, colds, morning sickness, and menstrual pain.
Peppermint is a flowering plant that is native to North America, Asia, and Europe. In fact, the United States is responsible for harvesting 75% of the world’s peppermint supply.
One of the reasons that peppermint is so popular is because of its cooling properties that help to ease pain, inflammation, and muscle cramps and spasms. It is best known for its unique flavor that is used in a wide variety of consumable products. You can often find this used to flavor gum, candies, mints, teas, liqueurs, or digestive aids.
Pain Management and IBS
Throughout time, peppermint oil has been used to soothe both pain and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and there have been recent studies to back this up. Peppermint oil does this by relaxing muscles within the colon and by reducing abdominal bloating.
A study published in the Journal of Gastroenterology evaluated over 700 patients and the effect that peppermint oil would have on IBS, in comparison to a placebo. The results show that the patients experienced reduced IBS symptoms and abdominal pain.
Reduces Nausea and Improves Digestion
Peppermint is a great digestive aid and can be used to reduce nausea, whether that nausea is related to motion sickness, poor digestion, or pregnancy.
This plant increases the production of digestive juices, relieves the build-up of gas, and reduces colon spasms. By increasing the flow of digestive juices and bile, the body is able to easier digest fats. This then helps food pass more quickly through the digestive system.
There are so many different uses for the peppermint plant, and it used both through ingestion and by just applying it to the skin. It can be useful in several skin irritations caused by hives, poison oak, and poison ivy. It can also be used to reduce the symptoms of headaches when applied directly to the forehead.
Due to the menthol within the plant, peppermint can help to reduce cold and flu symptoms by acting as a natural decongestant, loosening phlegm, and soothing sore throats.
How to Use or Consume Peppermint
There are several ways that you can use or consume peppermint, and a lot of it depends on what you are using it for.
If you are using it to soothe itching or reduce a headache simply apply peppermint oil the afflicted area or your forehead. This can help to soothe the area where it is being applied. You can also find it in ointments and creams, which is an alternative to straight peppermint oil, especially if you are looking for a thicker consistency.
A popular use for peppermint is to use the dried leaves and make a tea. This can be both tasty and an effective way to get the benefits, especially if you are sick and trying to sooth the symptoms of a cold, flu, or just a bad cough. If you want to take it in tea form, soak 1 tsp of the dried leaves in a cup of boiling water for at least 10 minutes. Remove the leaves, either by using a tea infuser, or simply straining the water, and enjoy 5 - 6 times a day.
You can also get peppermint in capsule form. This is convenient if you do not like the taste of peppermint or find it to be overpowering but still want all the benefits. This is great if you are taking it daily for symptoms of IBS.
If you are taking capsules to avoid the minty taste, you can, of course, get the benefits of peppermint by drinking Detox Organics. You will be able to skip the mint taste completely, and instead enjoy a smooth chocolatey drink that is also good for you!
Ehrlich, S. D. (2014, July 06). Peppermint. Retrieved February 17, 2017, from http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/peppermint
Khanna, R., Macdonald, J. K., & Levesque, B. G. (2013). Peppermint Oil for the Treatment of Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology, 1. doi:10.1097/mcg.0b013e3182a88357
"Peppermint." Gale Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine. Retrieved February 10, 2017, from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/medicine/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/peppermint