One of the wonders of spring and summer is the fresh fragrant minty smell that you get when you’re growing mint outdoors. But did you know that peppermint has many excellent health benefits and healing properties? It’s no surprise really, as all fresh herbs are brimming with nutrients that can help us to stay healthy, look younger into our older years and feel better.
So, what exactly does peppermint do?
Healing Properties of Peppermint
Nearly all of the mint family have exceptional health benefits, but peppermint in its own right is fabulous. Peppermint is actually classed as a common weed believe it or not, due to its ability to spread like wildfire and get in amongst almost any plant. But it’s one of the weeds that we love.
First off, peppermint has strong antibacterial properties, so a warming cup of peppermint tea could well help to fight off a bacterial infection. It is also an antiseptic, natural pain reliever, can relieve flatulence, calms tension in the nerves, and it can also help to get rid of headaches, and calm an upset stomach.
A cup of peppermint tea is by far one of the best ways to get a dose of all its medicinal properties. All you have to do is add around two teaspoons of fresh peppermint leaves (or a premade peppermint teabag) to your cup and top with boiling water.
For fresh mint, ensure that you let the mixture brew for around 10-15 minutes. Peppermint tea is common in many countries after a meal as it has the ability to calm an upset stomach and reduce gas. It also helps to stimulate digestive juices aiding the digestion process. Its anaesthetic properties are renowned for helping with pregnancy sickness and pain relief after vomiting.
Peppermint is also great for easing anxiety and can help to promote a calm mind helping to reduce stress. Strangely, it also has opposite effects and can help to give energy and reduce lethargy – this can be achieved by making a stronger cup of peppermint tea using more tea leaves and leaving it to brew for longer.
It is a good hangover cure as it can boost your energy levels without giving you any caffeine. Another use is to ward off flu and the common cold as it can boost your immune system, but if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, make sure you don’t go overboard as it can have the effect of reducing milk production in nursing mothers.
Other Top Peppermint Uses
Another way to get the best of peppermint tea is by soaking a towel or flannel in a hot bowl of peppermint tea and placing it over the forehead to get rid of pounding headaches. The same method works wonders to relieve sunburn, just ensure you allow the tea to cool on the towel first as hot or even warm towels will irritate your burn.
Peppermint oil is another handy thing to keep around the home. It is far stronger than fresh leaves or dried peppermint and just a single drop or two will usually be all you need so it goes much further.
For headaches, place a drop on one finger of each hand and massage it into your temples. Remember to wash your hands as peppermint oil can be very painful if it comes into contact with your eyes.
If you suffer a cut or graze, a drop of oil rubbed into the wound can clean up the wound and ease the pain due to the antiseptic properties of peppermint.
For congestion, add a couple of drops to a bowl of steaming hot water and place your head over the bowl with a towel over your head for around 15 minutes.
Peppermint soap in your shower can help to soothe the skin, give you an energy boost in the morning and soften the skin on your feet.