Ways Peppermint Can Be Used As Medicine
Superfoods are foods and herbs that have a unique concentration of nutrients that synergize together to boost potential. These foods and herbs are typically loaded with a combination of critical fatty acids, anti-oxidant phytonutrients and essential amino acids. Peppermint is a superfood herb that has been used in many different regions of the world. This article goes over 5 ways peppermint can be used as medicine.
Peppermint is a natural hybrid cross between mint and spearmint and thrives in Europe and North America. The plant and oil are commonly used in fragrances, soaps, cosmetics, foods and drinks. Peppermint has been shown to improve digestion and stimulate higher level brain function.
Peppermint’s Medicinal History:
Mint has been used for thousands of years for its culinary, medicinal and aromatic components. It is commonly spoken about in Greek folklore as a smell that was delightful to the senses. Around the world, mint has been used as a strewing herb to clean and purify the air. Most people describe the taste of peppermint as a cross between chlorophyll and pepper.
Peppermint contains many vital nutrients such as magnesium, calcium, folate, potassium, copper, vitamin A and C. The greatest benefits come from the menthol, menthone and menthyl esters. These oils have very powerful healing and soothing effects within the body and when applied on the skin (1). As you will see in this article, there are a number of ways peppermint can be used as medicine.
Peppermint is a Digestive Aid:
Peppermint is a carminative herb that stimulates the digestive system to work better. Carminatives contain volatile oils that are effective at expelling gas and easing griping pains from the stomach and intestines. They help to tone the mucous surfaces and increase peristaltic activity to move food and wastes through the system gently.
The menthol component of peppermint acts as a natural muscle relaxer and has been shown to relax the smooth muscle of the gut wall. This helps relieve symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, indigestion and acid reflux (2, 3, 4).
Peppermint has Anti-Tumor Properties:
Peppermint also contains a unique phytonutrient called monoterpene in the form of perillyl alcohol. Several animal studies have indicated that monoterpene’s inhibit the growth of mammary, pancreative and liver tumors. It also protects against cancer growth in the colon, skin and lungs (5, 6).
Peppermint is an Anti-Microbial:
Other studies have indicated that peppermint essential oil acts as a potent anti-microbial. It stops the growth of helicobacter pylori bacteria which is the pathogen related to stomach ulcers. It also is effective against E Coli infections which are the most common form of Urinary Tract Infection and are also associated with many cases of food poisoning (7, 8).
Peppermint has been shown to inhibit the spread of anti-biotic resistant Staphylococcous aureus (MRSA) which have become a growing epidemic. Additionally, it is also a powerful defense against Candida and other pathogenic yeasts (9, 10).
Peppermint Improves Respiration:
Peppermint contains rosmarinic acid which has been shown to block the production of pro-inflammatory chemicals called leukotrienes. Rosmarinic acids also encourages cells to produce key molecules that keep the airways open for easy breathing (11).
This is especially useful for individuals prone to asthmatic attacks and high anxiety. It is also great for relieving nasal congestion and clearing the sinuses.
Peppermint Improves Brain Function:
The methanol component of peppermint has also been shown to improve circulation throughout the body. This is especially true in the brain where peppermint oil helps to enhance cognitive processing and stimulate creative thought (12). Increased circulation in the brain leads to new creative energies and elevated mental stamina and improved memory formation.
The most common health ailments that studies have indicated that peppermint is an especially good remedy for include:
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Morning sickness
- Cramps of the upper gastrointestinal tract and bile ducts
- Bacterial overgrowth of the small intestine
The easiest ways to get access to peppermint are through a therapeutic grade essential oil that you can diffuse in your home to breath in and put in your water or food. You can also do peppermint tea or teas that contain an assortment of herbs including peppermint.
Sources For This Article Include:
- Hawthorn M, Ferrante J, Luchowski E, Rutledge A, Wei XY, Triggle DJ. The actions of peppermint oil and menthol on calcium channel dependent processes in intestinal, neuronal and cardiac preparations. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 1988 Apr;2(2):101-18. PMID: 2856502
- Hills JM, Aaronson PI. The mechanism of action of peppermint oil on gastrointestinal smooth muscle. An analysis using patch clamp electrophysiology and isolated tissue pharmacology in rabbit and guinea pig. Gastroenterology. 1991 Jul;101(1):55-65. PMID: 1646142
- Kölbel CB, Layer P. [Peppermint oil and the smooth muscles of the gastrointestinal tract]. Z Gastroenterol. 1992 Dec;30(12):885-6. German. PMID: 1336261
- Grigoleit HG, Grigoleit P. Peppermint oil in irritable bowel syndrome. Phytomedicine. 2005 Aug;12(8):601-6. PMID: 16121521
- McKay DL, Blumberg JB. A review of the bioactivity and potential health benefits of peppermint tea (Mentha piperita L.). Phytother Res. 2006 Aug;20(8):619-33. PMID: 16767798
- Evaluation of Cytotoxicity and Anticarcinogenic Potential of Mentha Leaf Extracts – International Journal of Toxicology Link Here
- Thosar N, Basak S, Bahadure RN, Rajurkar M. Antimicrobial efficacy of five essential oils against oral pathogens: An in vitro study. European Journal of Dentistry. 2013;7(Suppl 1):S71-S77.
- Liang R, Xu S, Shoemaker CF, Li Y, Zhong F, Huang Q. Physical and antimicrobial properties of peppermint oil nanoemulsions. J Agric Food Chem. 2012 Aug 1;60(30):7548-55. PMID: 22746096
- Li J, Dong J, Qiu JZ, Wang JF, Luo MJ, Li HE, Leng BF, Ren WZ, Deng XM. Peppermint oil decreases the production of virulence-associated exoproteins by Staphylococcus aureus. Molecules. 2011 Feb 15;16(2):1642-54. PMID: 21326141
- Essential oils of peppermint, orange or lemongrass kill most strains of fungal and bacterial infections. Posit Health News. 1998 Fall;(No 17):26-7. PMID: 11366554
- Sanbongi C, Takano H, Osakabe N, Sasa N, Natsume M, Yanagisawa R, Inoue K, Kato Y, Osawa T, Yoshikawa T. Rosmarinic acid inhibits lung injury induced by diesel exhaust particles. Free Radic Biol Med. 2003 Apr 15;34(8):1060-9. PMID: 12684091
- Moss M, Hewitt S, Moss L, Wesnes K. Modulation of cognitive performance and mood by aromas of peppermint and ylang-ylang. Int J Neurosci. 2008 Jan;118(1):59-77. PMID: 18041606