The Popular Peppermint Plant
Peppermint leaf is approved by Commission E for liver and gallbladder complaints and dyspeptic (disturbed digestion) complaints.
Latin Name: Mentha x piperita
How Peppermint Oil Is Used
Peppermint oil consists of the essential oil of Mentha piperita obtained by aqueous steam distillation from freshly harvested, flowering springs and preparations of same.
Peppermint oil has a spasmolytic effect on smooth muscle of the gastrointestinal tract. It is a carminative, cholagogue, antibacterial, insecticidal and secretolytic agent; it also has a cooling effect on the skin.
Commission E approved peppermint oil for the common cold, cough/bronchitis, fevers, inflammation of the mouth and pharynx, liver and gallbladder complaints, dyspeptic complaints and tendency to infection.
Folk medicine: Externally, Peppermint oil is used for myalgia and neuralgia.
Peppermint Essential Oil can be taken in very small doses in capsule or liquid forms. The essential oil can also be diluted with another oil and applied to the skin. In addition, a research review found that peppermint oil tablets may work as well as muscle-relaxing drugs in relieving the cramps and diarrhea linked to irritable bowel syndrome, a common problem for women.
Constipated? Don't take peppermint! It might make the problem worse. Try adding more fiber to your diet and drinking more water.
The essential oil preparations are for internal and external use. The average daily internal dose is 6 to 12 drops; inhalation, 3 to 4 drops in hot water; for irritable colon, daily dose: 0.6 ml; single dose: 0.2 ml in enteric coated form.
Externally, a few drops rubbed into the affected skin areas several times a day (2 to 4 times). For young children: Rub 5 to 15 drops on the chest and back. The herb is available as semi-solid and oily preparations, nasal ointments with 1 to 5 percent essential oil.
Quench Cravings with Mint
When you are tempted to stray away from your eating objectives, quench the craving with a stick of spearmint gum or a small peppermint candy. The flavor of mint is so strong and recognizable, it's likely to ward off the urge to take a bit out of whatever food you are craving.
Peppermint Household Helper
Mice can't stand the smell of fresh peppermint. Plant it around the outside of the house to keep them away. Oil of Peppermint placed on a piece of cloth and placed in their favorite location will also work.
Using Peppermint with Food
Peppermint has a long history as a symbol of hospitality, so naturally the herb, and its extract, often find a place at festive meals. Of the 30 species of mint, peppermint is the most pungent and along with milder spearmint, the most widely available. Fresh peppermint (look for bunches with no signs of wilting) is available year-round; use it to add bursts of mint flavor to a dish or as a garnish. Peppermint extract, a highly concentrated form of the plant's essential oils, is ideally suited for baking, when you want mint's bright flavor to suffuse an entire dish. Because extracts are so potent, a little goes a long way; start with a small amount, stir it in and taste.
Try Peppermint Tea
Instead of your morning coffee, try a bracing mug of peppermint tea. Whether you use fresh herbs or tea bags, steep the tea for ten minutes before drinking. As it steeps, breathe in the steam from the tea. The powerful aroma is a proven energy booster all by itself. You can also purchase a peppermint tea meant to soothe the tummy: Heather's Tummy Tea Organic Peppermint Tea Bags. This is a wonderful tea that helps symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) that is certified organic.
What the Science Skeptics Say
Results from several studies suggest that Peppermint Oil may improve symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. A few studies have found that Peppermint Oil , in combination with caraway oil, may help relieve indigestion, but this evidence is preliminary.
Peppermint Oil has been used for a variety of health conditions, including nausea, indigestion, and cold symptoms. Peppermint oil is also used for headaches, muscle and nerve pain, and stomach and bowel conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, as previously mentioned.
Side Effects and Cautions
- Peppermint Oil appears to be safe for most adults when used in small doses. Possible side effects include allergic reactions and heartburn.
- Capsules containing peppermint oil are often coated to reduce the likelihood of heartburn. If they are taken at the same time as medicines such as antacids, this coating can break down more quickly and increase the risk of heartburn and nausea. Gallstone carriers could experience colic due to the cholagogic effect.
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