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May 29, 2009
All of us are very well familiar with peppermint. It is one of the most favorite flavor for candies, chewing gums, toothpaste, soaps, shampoos, gels and other popular consumer products. Many of us like drinking peppermint tea, and some even like adding peppermint flavoring to a cup of coffee. Weird? Not at all! Try a cup of mint mocha or mint latte. You can prepare it for yourself by adding some fresh mint leaves into your cup of coffee or by using several drops of peppermint extract. Mint is very common to cooking, especially in India and the Middle East. It is used in various salads, punches, milk shakes, as well as as a garnish for chicken and red meat.
Peppermint (Mentha piperita L.) is known as one of the world’s oldest medicinal herbs. It has a great variety of therapeutic properties which have been used for centuries. To the US, peppermint came from England and for centuries it has been cultivated in California, Michigan, Indiana and other states. Sure thing, the cultivated plants have higher-quality oil. In herbal medicine, flowered tops and leaves of the herb are used for preparing extracts and, certainly, for diluting peppermint oil. Peppermint contains menthol and menthyl acetate, as well as pinene, phellandrene, limonene, menthofurane, piperitone and further monoterpene derivatives. The characteristic refreshing odor of peppermint should be attributed to menthol.
The property of peppermint to relax the muscles of the stomach and aid for fat digestion is a wide known health benefit of this herb. Peppermint can be also used to ease the symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome, including diarrhea, bloating, abdominal pains, etc. Calming and relaxing effects of peppermint are used for treating headaches, vertigo, menstrual pains, anxiety, nausea, muscle and nerve pains, and so on. Besides, this medicinal herb has excellent antiseptic and soothing effects, that is why it can be used for treating various skin irritations, itches, etc.
Oh, and also: we all know that menthol is a universal remedy for various problems of our respiratory system, including a flu, sore throat, sinusitis, bronchitis, etc. Peppermint can ease the symptoms of asthma and substantially ease dry cough. In order to benefit from all these therapeutic effects, it is recommended to use peppermint as a tea, or use some drops of peppermint oil externally (for inhalations, or as an element of aromatherapy to calm down headaches). Remember that high doses of peppermint and peppermint products can cause allergic reactions, fastened heartbeat and sensitization. Therefore, please, consult your health care specialist before staring a therapy involving this medicinal herb.Author Info: Hi! My name is Carla and I am a 5th year medical student at HYMS. I am interested in alternative medicine and I have done months researching the topic of herbal medicine. Besides, I like interviewing people and learning more about their experiences with one or another type of herbal treatments. I am willing to contribute to this site with my knowledge, and I would be happy to help you out to the best of my ability with any specific questions or problems related to alternative medicine.