Peppermint: 10 Amazing Health Benefits, Uses, & Side Effects

The plant known as Peppermint, or Mentha piperita, is a hybrid of Spearmint and watermint. It is a hardy perennial herb. It is native to Europe and Asia, and they have used it for centuries for its pleasant, minty taste and health benefits. 

It is low in calories and contains vitamins A and C, iron, potassium, and fiber. Peppermint is used to flavor breath mints, candies, and other foods, and you can use it to make a refreshing tea.

It is also used to add flavor or scent to foods, cosmetics, soaps, toothpaste, mouthwashes, and other products, and it may have some medical uses.

Peppermint leaves contain several essential oils, such as menthol, menthone, and limonene, which give it its cooling properties and recognizably minty scent.

Peppermint tea is often drunk because it tastes good, but it may also be good for your health in some ways.

This article is part of a group of articles about how popular foods are good for your health.

Health Benefits

1. Promotes Respiratory Health

Peppermint promotes lung health and respiratory function and can even boost lung function during exercise. In addition, rosmarinic acid in Peppermint is known to have beneficial actions in respiratory diseases, such as blocking pro-inflammatory chemicals and neutralizing free radicals. 

Peppermint also encourages the body to make prostacyclins, which keep the airways open for easy breathing. Extracts of Peppermint can also relieve nasal symptoms of colds related to allergies.

2. For oral health

Peppermint oil is an essential oil that can help reduce cavities and mask bad breath. It is antibacterial and often added to toothpaste, mouthwash, and floss. Mint-flavored gum and breath fresheners can cover up bad breath for a few hours but don’t eliminate the bacteria or other things that cause it. 

Drinking peppermint tea and chewing on fresh leaves might simultaneously cover up bad breath and kill bacteria.

In addition, Peppermint encourages a healthy oral environment by deterring plaque and supporting gum health.

3. For Cold and Flu

Menthol, a primary compound in peppermint oil, is an effective nasal decongestant that can eliminate congestion and improve airflow and breathing. However, research also shows that menthol can subjectively improve nasal breathing, making it easier for people to breathe through their noses. 

The best results come from adding 4–5 drops of its essential oil to hot water and breathing in the steam.

In addition, it can relieve cold and flu symptoms by subjectively improving breathing through the nose.

4. Supports Digestive Health

Mint may effectively relieve other digestive problems such as upset stomach and indigestion. In addition, Peppermint oil has been demonstrated to aid digestion and stimulate gastric emptying; thus, it may be helpful to consume it with meals.

Peppermint oil relieves symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, dyspepsia, and colonic muscle spasms due to its muscle-relaxing abilities. It also prevents digestive issues like gastritis, diarrhea, bloating, and stomach pain. Peppermint supports digestive health by calming the stomach muscles, allowing food to pass more freely and quickly through the stomach, and cutting down on gas, bloating, and diarrhea.

5. Analgesic and Anti-Inflammatory Properties:

Peppermint has analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties that can help with muscular pains, arthritis, strained muscles, menstrual cramps, and more. It also works as an anti-inflammatory and can be combined with other products to create a refreshing mint-infused tuna salad. Add a can of Safe Catch Tuna, crushed mint leaves, olive oil, grated garlic, salt, and pepper, and mix to make this salad. Enjoy over a salad or in a wrap.

6. Reduces Stress and Anxiety:

Peppermint contains therapeutic qualities that can help reduce stress, emotional imbalance, and anxiety. To accomplish this, burn peppermint oil in a diffuser or burner for 30 minutes while inhaling and exhaling via the nose and mouth, respectively. Repeat this for three weeks to help eliminate unwanted tension and anxiety.

7. It May Decrease Breastfeeding Pain

Applying mint to the skin has been demonstrated in studies to help reduce pain associated with nursing. After each feeding, mothers used mint on the area surrounding the nipple, alone or combined with gel or water. 

According to one study, peppermint water after breastfeeding was more helpful than expressed breast milk in preventing nipple and areola cracks. Another study found that using menthol essential oil after each feeding reduced the pain and severity of nipple cracks.

8. Heals Various Skin Issues:

Peppermint oil is used in topical creams to treat skin issues, such as rashes, poison oak, and poison ivy. It gives a strong healing effect to the skin, but a person should dilute it before using it. One ounce of carrier oil blended with 3-6 drops of essential oil is an excellent formula. 

Before using the diluted oil, test a tiny amount on the forearm to rule out an allergic reaction. No scientific data supports or contradicts its application.

9. Improve Brain Function

Some assert that breathing in the scent of the plant’s essential oils may have health advantages, including enhanced brain function.

For example, one study found that smelling the scent of peppermint oil for five minutes before testing significantly improved memory. 

Not all studies, nevertheless, support the idea that peppermint oil may enhance cognitive performance. Therefore, more research is needed to know how it may work and investigate whether Peppermint does improve brain function.

10. Anti-Cancer Agent:

Peppermint is a possible anti-cancer drug since it contains Perillyl alcohol, a phytonutrient that inhibits the formation of pancreatic, breast, and liver tumors. It also helps prevent colon, skin, and lung cancer development. 

Peppermint contains vitamin C, which has little effect in lowering the risk of colon cancer. Beta carotene and other carotenoids are also linked to lower colon and rectal cancer incidence. Carotenoids have also been shown to promote cell development and protect cells from carcinogenic substances.

Usage

Mint is easy to add to your diet and can be purchased in fresh and dry forms. Fresh peppermint leaves should be bright green with firm stems, while dry mints should be organically farmed and free of pesticides and other potentially dangerous chemicals.

Mint can be consumed within a week and stored in an air-tight container for a few months. Eating fresh or dried leaves can treat bad breath, and inhaling essential oils can improve brain function and cold symptoms. In addition, applying or inhaling it to the skin via aromatherapy can help treat IBS and indigestion.

Side Effects

Peppermint has some adverse side effects, such as GERDi, heartburn, acid reflux, gall stones, and pregnant, lactating mothers and children. In addition, if you are taking cyclosporine or any other transplant rejection treatment, avoid Peppermint because it can interfere with other herbs, vitamins, or drugs.

In addition, it is possible to be allergic to Peppermint, and young children should not use it as it can cause life-threatening breathing problems.

Conclusion

Peppermint is a hybrid plant composed of water mint and Spearmint. It can be utilized as a tea, essential oil, or herbal remedy. Research shows it can ease various symptoms, including gastrointestinal issues, migraines, and nausea. It can be taken in capsule form, rubbed to the skin, or inhaled via aromatherapy, and it is a delightful and healthful complement to many foods.

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LINKS TO RESEARCH REFERENCES

DISCLAIMER OF MEDICINE

This information is not meant to provide medical advice or replace a personal physician’s advice or treatment. All readers of this information, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, should check with their doctors before initiating any nutrition, supplement, or lifestyle program. Moreover, the Food and Drug Administration has not evaluated the information or commodities on this website.

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One comment

  1. […] Peppermint leaves are known for their medicinal properties and can be found in various foods and beverages. Menthol in Peppermint oil can help with cold symptoms and coughing. Inhaling vapors from a steam treatment or drinking peppermint tea can also provide relief. To make a steam treatment, combine boiled water with 7-8 drops of peppermint essential oil, drape a towel over your head, and take deep breaths above the water.  […]

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