5 Key Benefits of Peppermint

Peppermint (Mentha piperita) is a sterile, hybrid plant–a cross between watermint (Mentha aquatica) and spearmint (Mentha spicata). Indigenous to Europe, peppermint today is cultivated all over the world, and has become a popular folk remedy for a variety of conditions. Here’s a guide to some of the benefits of peppermint:

1. Colds and FluBenefits of Peppermint

Menthol, the main chemical component of peppermint, is a very effective decongestant. Decongestants sooth swollen blood vessels in your nose. This helps open your nasal airway, making it easier to breathe.

Menthol is also an expectorant, which thins mucus so you can cough it up easier out of your lungs. This can relieve your cough faster.

2. Headaches and Migraines

Two trials have shown that topical application of peppermint oil is effective in reducing symptoms of tension headache (here and here).  In fact, one of them found peppermint oil to be as effective as acetaminophen (Tylenol).

Another study (here) found that  the smell of peppermint can reverse migraines triggered by the smell of onions, garlic and other alliums.

3. Pregnancy Nausea and Vomitingbenefits of peppermint

While studies are inconclusive on the benefits of peppermint for pregnancy “morning sickness,” many women claim that the herb does in fact help relieve their nausea. Remember to always ask your doctor before trying any new herbal supplement when pregnant.

4. Skin Conditions

Peppermint oil is frequently used to sooth skin and reduce redness. A word of caution: too much peppermint oil can have the opposite effect and irritate your skin. Use it sparingly.

5. Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Several studies (here, here, and here) have shown that peppermint can help ease the symptoms of IBS, including bloating, pain, diarrhea, and gas.

benefits of peppermint

Peppermint Precautions

Doctors recommend that you not take peppermint if you:

  • are diabetic–peppermint may increase your risk of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia).
  • are taking antacids–some peppermint supplements are in capsule form, which may break down too rapidly with antacids, increasing the risk of heartburn.
  • are taking cyclosporine, a medication taken by transplant recipients to prevent organ rejection.
  • have a hiatal Hernia.
  • have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
  • taking medications that are metabolized by the liver (ask your doctor).
  • are taking drugs for hypertension (high blood pressure).

Always ask your doctor before taking any herbal supplements. 

benefits of peppermint

Peppermint Tea

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