Herbal Spotlight: Peppermint (Mentha Piperita)

Many of us can find this perennial plant in our gardens at home – and I learned the hard way that you should only grow it in pots, otherwise it takes over your garden! You can try picking it, hanging it upside down to dry for several days, then using the dried leaves as tea. I also enjoy using fresh peppermint as a nice addition to my salads and smoothies.

Mint has been used for thousands of years for its medicinal properties, with archaeological evidence demonstrating its use up to ten thousand years ago!

Peppermint for Digestion

Peppermint is traditionally used to treat digestive concerns such as bloating, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and indigestion. Many studies in the last 10 years have demonstrated that peppermint oil substantially reduces the symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome when taken orally at specific doses.

Peppermint for Memory

Recent studies suggest that peppermint improves memory and concentration when consumed as gum or tea or when used as aromatherapy.

Peppermint for Cancer

Mint has been shown to have anti-tumor effects against several human cancer cell lines in test tube and animal research. The animal studies also demonstrate that peppermint might protect organs from damage caused when cancer patients undergo radiation, possibly due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.

Peppermint for Infections

Concentrated peppermint oil, as well as peppermint juice and tea to a lesser degree, have been shown to have antibacterial effects against several common strains of bacteria. Further research is needed in this area to shed some light on mint’s antimicrobial potential, and to determine the safety of concentrated extracts for human consumption.

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