Peppermint Mentha piperita is one of hundreds of species in the genus Mentha which also includes spearmint, water mint and forest mint. Peppermint is actually believed to be a naturally occurring hybrid of spearmint and water mint. While some claim peppermint was not hybridized and cultivated until the 18th century in England, peppermint is referenced in ancient texts. The confusion seems to be that it is mentioned interchangeably with spearmint and the generic term mint. Peppermint has a long history of cultivation and has been used in cooking and herbal medicine since about BC. Until , peppermint was not classified as its own subspecies, but most historians believe it is reasonable to assume that the mint mentioned in many historical texts is peppermint. Peppermint is thought to have originated in Northern Africa and the Mediterranean.
It acts as an anesthetic to the stomach wall and eases vomiting and nausea. An account on the effects of peppermint on nausea appeared in the September issue of the Journal of Advanced Nursingin which gynecological patients were given peppermint oil to counter post-operative nausea.
The patients reported less nausea and required fewer drugs to treat the nausea. A German health commission, German Commission E, has endorsed peppermint tea as a treatment for indigestion. Clinical trials in Denmark and Britain in the s confirmed peppermint's actions as a therapeutic treatment for irritable bowel syndrome.
Ina German study was performed to research the therapeutic benefits of peppermint essential oil on irritable bowel syndrome. Subjects with irritable bowel syndrome were given enteric-coated capsules containing peppermint and caraway oils. Results showed that the pain symptoms, which ranged from moderate to severe, improved in Peppermint is an expectorant and decongestant. It is used to help treat many respiratory ailments including asthma, bronchitissinusitis, and coughs.
Peppermint is an element of many cough preparations, not only for its pleasant flavor, but also because it contains compounds that help ease coughs. Constituents of peppermint increase the production of saliva, causing frequent swallowing and suppressing the cough reflex. German Commission E has officially recognized peppermint's ability to reduce inflammation of nasal passageways.
Peppermint was first described in by Carl Linnaeus from specimens that had been collected in England; he treated it as a species, but it is now universally agreed to be a hybrid. It is a herbaceous rhizomatous perennial plant that grows to be cm ( in) tall, with smooth stems, square in cross section. The rhizomes are wide-spreading, fleshy, and bear fibrous roots. Peppermint dating - Is the number one destination for online dating with more dates than any other dating or personals site. Want to meet eligible single woman who share your zest for life? Indeed, for those who've tried and failed to find the right man offline, online dating can provide. With a history of therapeutic use dating back to ancient Rome, Greece and Egypt, the majority of peppermint's therapeutic properties are due to the high concentration of menthol found naturally in peppermint's volatile oil.
When menthol vapors are inhaled, nasal passageways are opened to provide temporary relief of nasal and sinus congestion. Peppermint essential oil is an ingredient in many commercial chest and cold rubs.
These are popularly rubbed onto the chest to ease congestion. A tea made from the leaves can stimulate the immune system and relieve the congestion of colds, flus, and upper respiratory infections. Peppermint is an effective relaxant and can be helpful in treating nervous insomnia, stress, anxietyand restlessness.
Many over-the-counter balms and liniments contain peppermint essential oil. These are applied externally to relieve muscle pain, arthritis, itchingand fungal infections.
Peppermint induces sweating and can help bring down fevers. It is said that it contains antioxidants that help prevent cancer and heart disease. The essential oil is a powerful antiseptic and is useful in treating bad breath and sore throats. It is also beneficial in preventing tooth decay and gum disease. A plant with potent antiviral properties, peppermint can help fight viruses that cause ailments such as influenzaherpes, yeast infections, and mumps.
Peppermint is also used as an earache remedy, to dissolve gallstonesto ease muscle tightness, and to ease menstrual cramps. A report announced that peppermint also helped participants in a study run faster do more pushups and show greater grip strength than those who were not exposed to peppermint scent.
Peppermint is available as a tincture, tea, essential oil, oil capsules, and tablets. The fresh and dried leaves may be purchased in bulk. Tablets and capsules are often coated so the oil's therapeutic properties are released in the intestine and not in the stomach. These enteric-coated pills are used in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome, diverticulitis, and other chronic digestive ailments.
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Peppermint oil capsules are effective in treating lower intestinal disorders:. Peppermint tea may be used to relieve migraine headaches, minor colds, digestive ailments, and morning sickness, as well as many other conditions. Taken after a meal, the tea acts to settle the stomach and improve digestion. To prepare the tea, pour one cup of boiling water over 1 - 2 tsp of dried peppermint leaves, cover, and steep for 10 minutes.
Strain the mixture before drinking.
For relief of migraine pressure, drink 1 - 2 cups of cool tea daily. For cough relief, drink 3 - 4 cups of cool tea throughout the day, taking frequent sips every 15 - 30 minutes.
The essential oil of peppermint is a pale yellow or greenish liquid that is made by distilling the flowering herb.
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When inhaled, the oil can reduce feverrelieve nausea and vomiting, improve digestion, and soothe the respiratory system. Various studies have been performed on the oil's ability to improve the sense of taste and smell and improve concentration and mental acuity when inhaled. The oil blends well with other essential oils such as benzoin, rosemary, lavendermarjoram, lemon, eucalyptusand other mints.
Essential oils are available at many health food stores or through a qualified aromatherapist. Peppermint essential oil can be used in several ways: inhaled, rubbed on reflexology points on the bottom of the feet, diffused into the air, or as a therapeutic bath.
Below are some applications for the use of peppermint essential oil:. As with any essential oil, caution should be taken when using it.
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Essential oils are highly concentrated and should be diluted with a vegetable oil prior to external use to prevent adverse reactions, as some people are allergic to peppermint or its essential oil.
The oil may cause a skin reaction if the dosage is excessive.
Avoid contact with the eyes. Extreme caution should be used when administering to children under five years of age as the menthol can cause a choking reaction in young children.
Pure menthol or pure peppermint should not be ingested. Pure peppermint may cause an irregular heartbeat. Pure menthol is poisonous and fatal in doses as small as 1 tsp.
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Pregnant women with a history of miscarriage should use peppermint with caution. Large amounts of peppermint may trigger a miscarriage.
Additional caution should be practiced by women who are breast-feeding their infants. If the essential oil is not used properly it can cause dermatitis and other allergic reactions.
Rare reactions to enteric-coated capsules may occur. These reactions include skin rash, heartburn, slow heart rate, and muscle tremors. Foster, Steven, and Varro E. Tyler, Ph.
Pliny, Hippocrates and Aristotle all considered mint to be a discouragement to procreation, saying that it discouraged sexual intercourse. However, the Greeks said that mint encouraged sexual behavior and forbade its consumption by soldiers in order to maintain control. Peppermint was eventually introduced to Europe where it also became a popular culinary and medicinal herb.
It was mentioned in the Icelandic Pharmacopoeias as early as AD as an herbal remedy, and gained in popularity over the next two centuries. Monks in the Middle Ages were known to use peppermint as a tooth polisher and during the same period, cheese makers learned that the strong smell of peppermint would keep rats and mice out of the storeroom.
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Peppermint appeared as a distinct species in the London Pharmacopoeia in and was listed as a remedy for treating all manner of ailments from sores, venereal disease, colds and headaches. As peppermint continued to gain in popularity the cultivation increased from just a few acres to several hundred acres. When European settlers came to America they found that the American Indians were already aware of the importance of mint, though they were growing different species of mint, native to North America.
The settlers brought peppermint and other non-native mints with them and they quickly became naturalized and spread. In North America, peppermint is grown commercially almost exclusively in the north and east from Indiana to New York and the very southernmost areas of Canada.
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