PEPPERMINT

Mentha piperita  

Part/s Used:  Aerial parts 
Energetics:  Cooling, pungent, acrid, mild astringent 
Actions: Carminative, antispasmodic, aromatic, diaphoretic, analgesic antiemetic, nervine, cholagouge, antiseptic, antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal 
Constituents: Volatile oil up to 2% containing menthol, menthone and jasmone, vitamins, tannins, minerals, bitter principle 

Medicinal Preparations:

Tincture: 1:3-1:4   Dry (ratio & % alcohol):  1:5 60% 
Drops: 20-60   Times a day: 3x

Glycerite:  Fresh 1:3   Glycerin: 50%   Alcohol: 50%  
Drops: 5-30   Times a day: up to 3x

Tea: Hot/cold infusion   Ounces: 8-12   Times a day: 4x

Spirits: 1:10 E.O   Alcohol: 95%   Drops: 1-2 in water 
 

Habitat: 

Peppermint is perennial that prefers rich, moist, well drained soil in full sun to partial shade but can grow in almost any condition.  The leaves of peppermint are roughly toothed and dark green and its light pink or purple flowers whorl around the stem.  Peppermint can be easily propagated from root division.  Provide a physical barrier like a wall, walkway or container as they are vigorous spreaders.

Medicinal Uses: 

Peppermint has been grown for centuries dispensing a wonderful scent and appreciated for its medicinal, aromatic, and culinary virtues. 

Peppermint is a digestive and GI smooth muscle antispasmodic.  One of the best carminatives and anti-nausea herbs.  A strong tea can be used for motion sickness, stomach flu, dry heaving, morning sickness and reduces cramping and discomfort for indigestion, colic, gas and bloating.  The essential oil provides rapid relief from stomach and intestinal cramping.  Mentha contains anesthetic properties and helping to reduce pain in the digestive tract from heartburn, hiatal hernia ad gastric reflux.  Peppermint can be intestinal specific using enteric coated capsules, allowing it to bypass the stomach and release into the lower intestines for localized pain. This would be useful for cooling flare ups from crone’s disease, IBS, colitis while decreasing nerve pain. 

Peppermint is a cooling diaphoretic and helps reduce mild fevers in the first stage of a cold or flu.  Combines nicely with yarrow and elderflower.  It also makes a great foot bath which can be useful for people who don’t like to drink tea.  The feet have lots of nerve endings and using a few drops of the essential oil to the foot bath or tub is effective.  Peppermint has a powerful analgesic action and is a helpful remedy for headaches.  Frontal sinus headaches, temporal, liver headaches (around ears) gallbladder headaches (neck and shoulders).  Peppermint steam can be made from the leaves or the essential oil for steam inhalation therapy.  The heat releases the volatile oils and makes an effective decongestant for cold or flu, seasonal allergies or sinus infections.

Peppermint is both relaxing and stimulating to the nervous system.  It stimulates the brain, calms the nervous system and helps focus and concentration.  It energizes without being depleting.   

Peppermint essential oil has all the same properties as the fresh plant but is more specific for stimulating bile secretions of the liver.  Gum pain from abscesses, wisdom teeth or when crown falls off.  A drop or two in warm water can remove foul taste and odor left after an upset stomach.

Peppermint is a harmonizing and flavoring agent in teas and can be used with more harsh, bitter herbs to make it more palatable. 

Peppermint is great for normal to oily skin.  It stimulates and invigorates dull completions.  It’s toning and refreshing, cleansing and purifying.  Peppermint is cooling to sunburns, thermal burns (blends well with lavender and honey) and makes an excellent aftershave. 

Peppermint is used in Witch in the Woods Lavender Mint Lip Balm and Deodorant Balm for its cooling, antibacterial properties. 

Harvesting:

Harvest peppermint just before flowering on a warm summer day, late in the morning when all the dew has dried.  Cut the aerial parts about 1 inch from the ground. Dry in dehydrator or in a warm, well ventilated area out of direct sunlight.  

Projects:

 Cocktails,drinks, ice cubes, herbal steams, spirits, bath salts, salve, marinades, vinegar

Contraindications: 

Peppermint essential oil taken in large quantities relaxes the esophagus sphincter which can exacerbate gastric reflex or heartburn.  Avoid use with broken skin.  Volatile oils can burn if not properly diluted.  Avoid use with mint family allergies.  Do not use with severe liver disorders, lacking glucose, gallbladder inflammation or binary obstruction.  Discontinue use with heart palpations.  Avoid touching the eyes with use. 

 

Sources:
A Modern Herbal, by Mrs. M. Grieve
Northwest School for Botanical Studies by Christa Sinadinos
The Complete Herbs Sourcebook by David Hoffmann
Medicinal Herbs by Rosemary Gladstar
The Herbal Kitchen by Kami McBride