Mint Herb

Mentha piperita common name: peppermint, spearmint, pennyroyal

Mint herb comes in many types including peppermint (most commonly used), spearmint, applemint, orange mine, pennyroyal, horsemint and water mint.

Mints as a medicinal herb has been used for centurys, both in oral and topical treatments. Peppermint is a cross of watermint and spearmint that was first cultivated in London in the 1700's. It grows rapidly, almost everywhere. Every gardener knows that if you plant any form of mint watch out! It will rapidly take over the area so it is best to cultivate it in pots.

Peppermint teas contain a volatile (essential) oil that is 50-75% menthol. This is the oil that gives this mint herb its medicinal properties.

It is also available in menthol lozenges, enteric coated capsules and teas. The oil can also be used in aromatherapy, but has little benefit this way (except it smells good!)

This herb is also quite useful as one of the herbal remedies for acne. To utilize this, mix up a fine paste of the leaves, rose water, a spoonful of cornmeal and finally an egg-white. Apply a smooth coat over the face, allow to dry then wash it off.

mint herb

Mint Herb Benefits

This herb is a general stimulant. A strong cup of peppermint tea acts quickly as a stimulant and treats nausea. It has a long history of treating digestive problems, killing microorganisms that cause food poisoning, freshens bad breath and can treat symptoms of cough and cold. Specific health benefits include:

  • Colic, indigestion and motion sickness. A single cup of tea will bring relief, eases gas pain and acts as an anti-spasmotic.
  • Crohn's disease and hepatitis. Peppermint oil relieves digestive disturbances and stimulate release of bile.
  • Food poisoning. Once again the oil if effective against stopping Salmonella bacteria growth and slowing Lysteria growth.
  • Gallstones. During an acute attack, relieves mild spasms and helps dissolve gallstones.
  • Tension headache. When oil is applied to temples, acts as an anti-spasmotic as a good herbal remedy for headache.
  • Irritable bowel syndrome(IBS).Oil (in tea) blocks contractions of smooth muscles lining intestines preventing cramping and diarrhea.

Cautions In Use Of Mint Herb

You should never ingest pure menthol oil or leaves which contain other substances that can be toxic. Pure peppermint may cause cardiac arrythmias, so use caution if you have a history of atrial fibrillation or any cardiac arrythymias. Do not exceed recommended doses on bottles due to this effect. Larger doses may also cause burning, GI upset, and even seizures! Take a 1-2 day break if you drink the tea for a week.

Pregnant women with morning sickness should use diluted peppermint teas. You should not use it if you have a history of miscarriages or have chronic heartburn.

Peppermint can interfere withe the drug Propulsid (cisapride) so do not use if taking this drug.

Although useful for gallstones, you should not take the tea or capsules if you have gallbladder infections or inflammation or any other gallbladder disorder.

For more information visit my herb dictionary online.

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