Apart from the many peppermint benefits, many species and varieties of this plant that, even cross-pollinated, preserve their medicinal properties. Hippocrates recommended this plant as an aphrodisiac, one of the peppermint properties when taken in high doses.
Peppermint Scientific Facts
- Scientific Name – Mentha piperita L.
- French – Menthe.
- Spanish – Menta.
- Environment – Cool, shady soils all over Europe and South America. Peppermint is cultivated to use its essence, especially in Great Britain.
- Description – Herbaceous plant of the Labiatae family, with the quadrangular violet stem growing from 40 to 80 cm high. Its flower clusters are pink or violet, growing in terminal spikes.
- Parts of the plant used medicinally – The leaves and the flower clusters.
The plant contains from one to three percent of the essence with complex composition with more than 100 components, the most outstanding of which is menthol and alcohol, to which the plant owes many of its properties:
- Digestive, carminative (eliminates intestinal gas and putrefaction), choleretic, antiseptic, analgesic, stimulating, and aphrodisiac in high doses. The essence contains polyphenolic substances with antiviral properties on the hepatitis A virus.
- Internally used, it is recommended for dyspepsia, intestinal gas, headaches and migraines, digestive colics and spasms, gastric atony, type A (viral) hepatitis, and physical exhaustion.
- In eternal applications, massages with their essence in alcoholic dissolution (menthol alcohol) alleviate rheumatic and muscular, and neuralgias.
Peppermint is an ancient household remedy that is helpful for various conditions. When taken internally, it slightly anesthetizes the gastrointestinal tract and mucous membranes. The oil or tea is beneficial for hysteria, spasms, rheumatism, poor appetite, heart trouble, dysentery, diarrhea, vomiting, gas, dizziness, fevers, colic, nervous disorders, nausea, headache, chills, muscle spasms, morning sickness, migraines, menstrual cramps, measles, migraine, and insomnia.
Peppermint can also aid digestion by increasing stomach acidity and can help treat irritable bowel syndrome. It can stop vomiting that is a result of nervous causes. The leaves can be utilized to make a slightly cooling anodyne application. They can also be utilized to make a bath additive or salve for itching skin ailments.
The plant is also used as a local anesthetic for inflamed joints, pains, and toothaches. Apply five to ten drops into two quarts of hot water and breathe it in through the nostrils and mouth to aid in opening the sinuses. Put a cloth over your head when you do this.
NOTE: Peppermint makes for an excellent substitute for tea and coffee. The other mint herbs are catnip and spearmint.
In Europe, peppermint capsules are used to treat irritable bowel syndrome. In Germany, peppermint leaf is approved to treat muscle spasms of the bile ducts, gallbladder, and gastrointestinal tract.
The plant’s essential oil is an excellent external treatment for myalgia and neuralgia. Menthol is a popular ingredient in cough drops. The oil is responsible for halting smooth muscle spasms. Experiments using animals show that azulene, a minor component of distilled peppermint oil residues, is anti-ulcer and possesses anti-inflammatory activity.
WARNING: Peppermint oil is toxic if taken internally. It can cause dermatitis. The primary chemical component of peppermint oil is menthol can result in allergic reactions. Never expose infants to menthol products because they can cause the lungs to collapse. Please do not use it in cases of the bile duct and gallbladder obstruction.
How to use Peppermint
- Compresses and lotions, applied with the essence or with menthol alcohol.
Infusion: Steep for five to fifteen minutes and take six ounces three times a day. Tincture: Take thirty to sixty drops 3 times a day. Fluid Extract: Take ½ to two teaspoons three times daily. Oil: Take five to ten drops three times daily. Powder: Take up to ten #0 capsules (up to 60 grains) three times daily.
- George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. “Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants.” George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants. Ed. Francesc X. Gelabert. Vols. 1 San Fernando de Henares: Editorial Safeliz, 2000. 366. Print. [peppermint benefits]
- Vance Ferrell Harold M. Cherne, M.D. The Natural Remedies Encyclopedia [Book]. – Altamont, TN: Harvestime Books, 2010. – Vol. Seventh Edition: 7: pp. 173, 174.