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Peppermint is a summer growing perennial herb in the Mint or Lamiaceae family. The Mint family is characterized by square stems, opposite leaves, tiny flowers and an aromatic scent. Peppermint is a natural hybrid of Spearmint (Mentha spicata) and Water Mint (Mentha aquatica). The genus name Mentha comes from Mintho, mistress of Pluto, ruler of Hades. His jealous queen, Proserpine, upon learning of Mintho, trampled her, transforming her into a lowly plant forever to be walked upon.
Mint leaves were found in Egyptian pyramids dating back to 1000 BC, and used as a remedy by the ancient Greeks and Romans. The ancient Greeks rubbed Mint on their arms, believing it would make them stronger and as a remedy for indigestion. Peppermint is native to Europe and has been naturalized to the rest of the world and cultivated for food and medicine. Grown in England in the late seventeenth century and listed in the London Pharmacopoeia in 1721. During the 18th century, Peppermint became popular in Western Europe as a folk remedy for nausea, vomiting, morning sickness, respiratory infections and menstrual disorders.
Cultivation of Peppermint and oil production started in the US in the 1790s, and was a major export business by the mid 1800s. Although the genus Mentha comprises more than 25 species, Peppermint is the most common one used around the world in teas, candies, toothpaste, ice cream, dessert and gum. In Middle East cuisine, it is cultivated and added to savoury dishes and added to spice rubs that are used to flavour lamb and other meats. Peppermint is often blended with yogurts, beans and cheese.
Peppermint contains vitamins A and C, magnesium, potassium, inositol, niacin, copper, iodine, silicon, iron and sulfur. Peppermint belongs to a class of herbs known as nervines, which support the nervous system. Peppermint contains menthol, which warms and stimulates the systems of the body. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, the herb’s essence travels to the lungs and liver and promotes the circulation of qi or energy, improving liver function. Peppermint is a popular traditional remedy for several conditions and is believed to have calming and relaxing effects. Used to treat flatulence, menstrual pains, diarrhea, nausea, depression-related anxiety, muscle and nerve pain, the common cold, indigestion and IBS.
The taste of Peppermint is pungent, slightly sweet, with a cooling aftertaste. The energetics are warming, cooling, stimulating and calming. Peppermint has an affinity to the head, heart, lungs, stomach, intestines, liver, uterus and nervous system. For a lung tonic combine Peppermint with Elecampane, Mullein, Calendula or Ginger. For a digestive tonic combine with Cardamom, Lavender, Lemongrass or Fennel.
How to use:
1 teaspoon of Peppermint to one cup of boiling water. Steep for 15 minutes, strain and drink up to three cups a day.
Cautions & contraindications:
Use if you have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD – a condition where stomach acids back up into the esophagus) or hiatal hernia. Peppermint can relax the sphincter between the stomach and esophagus, allowing stomach acids to flow back into the esophagus.
This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease or illness. Please consult your healthcare provider prior to the use of this product if you are pregnant, nursing, taking medications or have a medical condition. Individual results may vary.