Peppermint is a great herbal remedy for all kinds of gastro-intestinal complaints, including IBS and other serious bowel problems. When used together with more conventional treatment, it can effectively reduce the pain and irritation of symptoms. Peppermint has been used in this way since the time of the ancient Greeks.
Peppermint is also one of nature’s great “relaxers”. As many of you will know from experience, a cup of peppermint tea can eliminate headaches and soothe muscles. Hopefully this page will help people see more to Peppermint than just the chewing gum flavor!
Peppermint is a very popular herb crossbred from water mint and spearmint. It is found throughout Europe and North America. This highly aromatic herb has a very distinct pungent and cooling effect to taste.
Peppermint oil is distilled from the stems and leaves where the oil content is the highest. The optimal time to harvest is before the plant begins to flower. Currently the United States produces 75% of the world's peppermint supply
Menthol is the primary active compound which is found in peppermint, and it has tremendously effective uses for a variety of digestive and bowel complaints. The ancient Greeks found particular use for it as a stomach soother.
Peppermint is used to treat irritable bowel syndrome, stomach upsets, bowel spasms, nausea and relieve flatulence. The compounds found in Menthol help by relaxing the smooth muscles that line the digestion tract, gently pushing matter though your system and aiding peristalsis. It is also an excellent digestive aid, as it facilitates the production of digestive fluids and increases circulation.
An external application of peppermint oil is also very effective for tension headaches, while some claim that it provides relief from joint pain, muscle aches and other irritations.
Menthol is enjoyed as a flavor through out the world, most commonly in chewing gum, candy, ice cream, toothpaste, cigarettes and tea. It is also very popular in shampoos due to its relaxing fragrance and cooling effect on the scalp.
Peppermint is available in a variety of forms, from teas and tinctures to capsules and the plant itself. Typically, use 1-2 teaspoons of dried leaves for your tea and then drink 2-3 times a day (ideally before meals for digestive complaints).
Of course, remember to consult your doctor before beginning any kind of herbal treatment.