Peppermint (Mentha piperita)
Other names: M. balsamea, brandy mint
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Antimicrobial, carminitive, stomachic, appetite stimulant, refrigerant, aromatic, stimulant, analgesic, diaphoretic, antispasmodic, antitussive, antipruritic, rubefacient.
Harvest: Harvest just before the flowers open (usually late summer/early fall), and take the leaves in the morning after the dew has dried but before the heat of the day.
Part used: Leaves
Constituents: Volatile oils, menthyl acetate, menthofuran, menthol, isovalerate, limonene, pinene, cineol, menthone, and others.
Used to boost appetite, and treat nausea, ulcers, mouth irritations, toothaches, insect bites, IBS, congestion, respiratory infections, inflammation, indigestion, headaches, muscle/joint pain, exhaustion, sluggish liver and gallbladder, gas/bloating, muscle spasms, hot flashes, cough, itching, skin conditions, cold and flu symptoms, shingles and weight management.
Peppermint oil can be put into capsules, but can irritate the digestive tract if not enteric-coated. The fresh or dried leaves can be infused in a tea, eaten or tinctured. You can also make peppermint syrup, electuaries and elixirs.
Peppermint essential or infused oil can be made into salves and liniments. The infusion can be used as a wash, poultice or in other preparations.
Peppermint may be too stimulating for children (use spearmint instead). Do not take if pregnant or nursing, and consult with a physician before taking if you are on any medications, or have any pre-existing health conditions (especially gallstones or kidney stones). Those with sensitive stomachs may not be able to take peppermint oil, especially if it is in non-enteric coated capsules. Keep peppermint supplements two hours away from any other medication doses, as it can interfere with absorption. Peppermint does interact with cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune) and other drugs that are metabolized via the liver.
I suggest consulting a pharmacist or physician before starting any herbal supplement if you are taking a prescription medication or have serious underlying health concerns.
Peppermint is a classic money and luck herb, carried or worn to attract prosperity of all kinds. It stimulates the senses, including psychic intuition…it is reputed to increase one’s ability to foresee the future and make sound decisions. Mint got its name from the nymph Minthe in Roman mythology. She was turned into a plant by a jealous Persephone, who wanted her to be trod upon. Persephone’s husband, Pluto, took pity on Minthe and blessed her with a beautiful scent so she would become more lovely the more she was crushed. There are countless other myths from other cultures as well, revolving around this revered plant.
Disclaimer: The information on this website is intended as general education on herbs and is not intended to take the place of medical care. Please consult a health care professional before embarking on any health regime.