Tis the season, and the smells of peppermint is in the air. This herbal sensation is more than just a mint or candy cane. Peppermint may be thought of in terms of candies now, but it is an age-old herbal medicine. Brewed leaves have been used in teas to soothe the digestive tract, limit indegestion, and alleviate the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. It also has been used to retard the growth of various bacteria and fungi (like athletes foot). Methanol found within peppermint is responsible for peppermints analgesic, antiseptic, antispasmadic, decongestant, and cooling effects. Peppermint has been used topically because of its cooling and relaxing effect on the skin. Numerous muscle rubs and ‘ices’ have peppermint to reduce pain, burning, and inflammation. Rubbing it on the temple and forehead can relieve headaches. Other key contaminents of peppermint are rosmarinic acid and peillyl alcohol. Rosmarinic acid is and antioxidant, with even stronger activity than vitamin E and helps to reduce cell damage and the risk of cancer. Studies on perillyl alcohol suggest that it may have the potential as a non-toxic preventative treatment for various types of cancers. Peppermint provides many important nutrients, as well.
- Excellent source: vitamin C and A
- Very good source: magnesium, folate, fiber, calcium, iron, and vitamin B12
What are you waiting for, look for ways to incorporate peppermint into your diet today! Try it in your next cup of tea. Enjoy the smell as well, because peppermints aroma can be just as therapeutic as peppermint itself.