This is one of the most popular herbs in the world. It may in part be because it tastes wonderful. This certainly doesn't do its popularity any harm.
The plant itself has a history going back to ancient Egypt and even earlier, perhaps even up to 10,000 years ago!
It usually grows to a height of between 2 and 3 feet. The peppermint plant prefers to grow in moist conditions and can often be found growing wild near streams or rivers.
The leaves and flowers can be dried and it is these parts that are generally used. Peppermint oil can also be extracted.
Peppermint uses and benefits
Probably its most common usage apart from as just a simple weak tea to drink, is the benefits it can have on the digestive system.
Many times, a few capsules of concentrated, powdered peppermint leaves can really help with a bit of indigestion.
It contains numerous natural chemical compounds including ones from the menthone and menthol families. These can have positive affects on the receptors inside tissue cells. In particular peppermint oil clearly creates this effect externally on the skin and it is often associated with a cooling sensation.
Further benefits to the digestive tract
It may help relieve indigestion, flatulence, spasms, diarrhea, nausea, cramps and travel sickness. Some studies have shown that regular use may help with things such as IBS (irritable bowel syndrome).
It can have a very soothing effect and this can be very beneficial. Digestive discomfort is not pleasant and if it becomes constant, such as IBS, it can be very debilitating.
Many general publics use ant-acids tablets to try and control excess acid production. Probably a better long term solution is to improve ones diet and to take peppermint to provide a more natural approach.
Too much peppermint oil can sometimes be a little irritating and this is why we prefer the more wholesome natural profile of the complete leaf and not just an extract (oil) of it.
Other historical uses have consisted of being used as an expectorant (causing the coughing out of phlegm).
It can be used as a mild painkiller in the treatment of tooth discomfort, muscle and mental fatigue. It has often been very effective in relieving menstrual cramps and this is possibly related to the benefits on the digestive tract in general.
More data about quantities etc.
We suggest taking 2 to 4 capsules a day or if taking the liquid peppermint, take 20 drops twice a day.
We have found little difference for most herbs about whether to take capsules or liquid. For some it does matter but not for peppermint.
It boils down to personal preference - do you find it easier to take a few capsules of adding a few drops to a cup of water or juice etc.