Mighty Mint: The Hidden Powers of Peppermint
Of all the fruits, veggies, and herbs that we find in the garden, few can tout the health boosting benefits of one of our favorite spa ingredients: the peppermint leaf.
Cultivated in England in the early 1700’s, it’s not surprising that ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans all sought out the plant to cure indigestion and other stomach problems. Over time, many more ailments were soothed with the power of peppermint and today it has become one of the most popular medicinal herbs of all time. Here are just a few of the benefits the mighty mint leaf has to offer.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Some people who suffer from IBS have reported a dramatic improvement in their symptoms from taking peppermint oil capsules. According to one study of 57 IBS sufferers, 75% of those who took twice daily peppermint capsules saw a significant reduction in pain, bloating, gas, and diarrhea.
Peppermint is known to calm the muscles in the stomach, which allows food to pass more easily. For people who get upset stomachs after meals, a cup of strongly brewed peppermint tea often offers fast relief.
Peppermint oil is a fantastic massage accompaniment and helps to cool and soothe tight, tense muscles. At the spa, we use it in our Sedona Mud Wrap to relax the body and ease away toxins and inflammation.
Cold and Cough
People with respiratory problems can welcome peppermint as a natural expectorant and decongestant. The essential oil can be used as a chest rub or inhaled through a humidifier or vaporizer to help clear congestion in the nose and throat.
Sufferers of poison ivy, insect bites and sunburn will find instant relief from itchiness and redness by applying peppermint lotion or cream. The cooling effect not only feels great, it also helps to combat swelling and reduce inflammation.
For people who get an itchy scalp, peppermint is the active ingredient in many anti-dandruff shampoos. Mix a bit of peppermint oil in your everyday shampoo for a scalp clearing boost without the chemicals.
Peppermint isn’t the favorite flavor of gum chewers for no reason. Not only does it make your breath fresh, it also helps to reduce the likelihood of cavities and it keeps those pearly whites in perfect condition.
Peppermint oil is a natural relaxer and works wonders on tension headaches and overall anxiety symptoms. Add a few drops to a vaporizer or bath, or dab your pressure points and exhale deeply for relief and mental clarity.
These are just a few of our favorite ways to experiment with peppermint, and there are certainly dozens more. To try it for yourself, look for fresh green leaves in the local grocery store, or use dried leaves for tea when fresh mint isn’t available. Peppermint essential oil is also widely popular and can be found in any health store, along with peppermint extract which can be used as a supplement.
Note: Always consult your doctor before trying any alternative or natural therapies as they may have adverse interactions with medications or supplements that you are already taking.