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Peppermint – (Mentha x piperita)


Peppermint is a common garden herb. It is a hybrid mint, being the result of crossing watermint with spearmint. It is native to Europe, but is commonly grown worldwide today. Mint has a long history of medicinal use, going back to ancient Greece, Rome and Egypt. Hybrid mints spread through rhizome growth rather than producing seed.


Key Medicinal Uses

Internally – Peppermint can be used for irritable bowel syndrome, intestinal spasms during and after endoscopic procedures, coughs, nasal congestion, nausea and pain from herpes lesions.

Externally – The oil can be used topically on lower back pain, tension headaches and shingles. There is some evidence it may also be useful as aromatherapy in treating brain injuries.

Other Uses – Peppermint is used as flavoring for everything from ice cream to toothpaste. It can also be found in soap and shampoo. It has also been added to skin creams for a cooling sensation on the skin. Plant leftovers are used as mulch in some places.

Herbs to Combine/Supplement

A combination of peppermint oil and caraway oil is showing promise as a treatment for indigestion.

Parts Used

Leaves, flowers – The leaves and flowers are used either fresh or dried. Oil is distilled from the leaves.


Some people may get heartburn from taking the herb because the muscles that keep stomach acid contained become relaxed. To minimize this, do not take at bedtime. The oil is very strong and should be kept away from children. Oil overdose can cause severe nerve problems including seizures. The oil should not be taken in pregnancy, while peppermint tea is considered safe, although it should be discontinued if it results in heartburn.

Preparation and Dosage

Peppermint herbal tea is easily made by steeping 1 to 2 teaspoons of leaves or 2 teabags in 1 cup of hot water for 10 to 15 minutes. Keep it covered to retain the volatile oils. When the herbal tea is done, you should be able to see the sheen of oil on the top of the water. Drink 1 cup before meals.

Alternatively, 1 to 3 drops of oil can be placed under the tongue. The oil can also be found in capsules if you don't want to use the oil directly.

Peppermint oil supplements can also be taken. They release the oil in the intestines where it is needed and may prevent the side effect of heartburn. 1 to 2 capsules can be taken three times per day.

Peppermint Herbal Remedies Top