Have you ever noticed how often we find peppermint included in everyday products like oral care, cosmetics and in certain foods? Adding peppermint often adds to the effectiveness of the product. Did you also know that peppermint in its various natural forms can have medicinal benefits? Found in raw leaves, oils and supplements, peppermint contains vitamins A and C, iron, potassium, fiber, calcium, and antioxidants, which can help the body utilize nutrients that fight off illnesses.
Peppermint is a popular home remedy for a number of conditions. It’s often used to treat gas, bloating, menstrual pains, diarrhea, nausea, depression, anxiety, muscle and nerve pain, the common cold, indigestion, and IBS. Peppermint essential oil is used in tinctures, chest rubs, and topical creams. Peppermint can calm stomach muscles and improve the flow of bile and improve liver function. It can also reduce spasms in the colon by relaxing the muscles of your intestines.
Menthol, the main chemical component of peppermint, is an effective decongestant and expectorant. It has been shown to kill viruses, fungi, and bacteria. It can boost lung function due to increased oxygen concentration and decreased blood lactate levels. It also helps to fight infections in the respiratory tract. It can help ease seasonal allergies by relaxing muscles in your nasal passages and helping to clear out mucus. Peppermint tea cools down your body and can break a fever and reduce inflammation.
Peppermint oil can be used for calming skin irritations. It is effective in reducing itchiness and reducing redness. Placed on the forehead, it can help relieve the symptoms of a tension headache. It’s also an effective natural painkiller and muscle relaxant with cooling and antispasmodic properties. Applied topically it relieves pain associated with fibromyalgia and myofascial pain syndrome.
Peppermint is known to reduce dental plaque and inflammation of the mouth. Peppermint oil has been used to naturally freshen breath and kills bacteria and fungus that can lead to cavities and infections. It’s used in hair care products because it can naturally thicken and nourish damaged hair. It can help to stimulate the scalp and remove germs that may buildup in your hair. Peppermint is also a natural insecticide. Mosquitos and other pests can’t stand the taste or smell.
Peppermint can help with mental alertness and improve memory when inhaled. Peppermint oil is often used in aromatherapy. The anti-inflammatory nature of peppermint tea can reduce your blood pressure and body temperature, helping you to relax.
If you are on any medications, you should talk to your doctor before using peppermint. Avoid peppermint if you have diabetes, as it may increase the risk of hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar. Do not use if you have a hiatus hernia or have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).