The benefits of peppermint - and why it's more than just "minty freshness"

February 03, 2020 4 min read

Peppermint is healthful and stimulating

What is peppermint?

An aromatic plant, peppermint is a hybrid of watermint and spearmint.

Peppermint plants are native to Asia and Europe, but it’s also naturalized to North America and some varieties are indigenous to South Africa, South American and Australia. The plants grow 2 to 3 feet in height and bloom in July and August.

The plant's leaves and stems have menthol, the main ingredient that is used in medicines, foods and cosmetics. Menthol gives it cooling properties and that minty scent that makes it identifiably peppermint. It also contains other essential oils such as mention and limonene. [1]

Peppermint has many uses, including the following:

  • As flavor and fragrance in foods (breath mints, candies, that icing on the cake), cosmetics, and personal care products like toothpaste, soaps and mouthwashes
  • As tea from dried or fresh leaves for your regular caffeine fix
  • As an essential oil, which can be applied topically as tinctures, chest rubs and creams
  • As a spirit or tincture of 10 percent peppermint oil and 1 percent peppermint leaf extract in alcohol
  • As enteric-coated capsules that prevent the pill from dissolving until it enters the intestine

 

Benefits of peppermint

There’s more to peppermint than what meets the eye (or your sense of taste and smell for that matter). Peppermint comes in many forms, and with a whole heap of benefits.

 

Indigestion

Indigestion occurs when food doesn’t get digested properly and it sits longer than it’s supposed to in the digestive tract.

The University of Maryland Medical Center says ingestion of peppermint allows muscles to relax. It then promotes flatulence and the expulsion of gases that make you uncomfortable. [2]

Reports also say that peppermint oil can relieve symptoms of indigestion when taken with meals. Apparently, food passes much quicker with peppermint oil to go with what you eat. [34]

 

 

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a digestive tract disorder associated with stomach pain, bloating, diarrhea and gas.

Peppermint contains menthol, which relaxes the muscles in the digestive tract, helping ease the pain and other symptoms that IBS is linked to. [5, 6]

The University of Maryland Medical Center says peppermint helps with irritable bowel syndrome:

Several studies have shown that enteric-coated peppermint capsules can help treat symptoms of IBS, including pain, bloating, gas, and diarrhea. (Enteric-coated capsules keep peppermint oil from being released in the stomach, which can cause heartburn and indigestion.) 

 

 

Various studies also confirm how effective peppermint is in treating IBS:

  • A study conducted in 2008 found that peppermint helps taper off the spasms or involuntary movements associated with IBS. [7]
  • A 2013 study concluded that peppermint treats abdominal pain among patients with diarrhea. [8]
  • A 2007 study concluded that a 4-week treatment with peppermint oil “improves abdominal symptoms in patients with irritable bowel syndrome.” [9]

 

Relieves bad breath

Perhaps one of the common ways you’ve used peppermint is through your dental hygiene. Peppermint is commonly found in toothpaste and mouthwashes, which leave you that familiar minty freshness.

Peppermint can help mask the foulness in breath. Some studies though have demonstrated that it only does this, and does NOT necessarily kill bad bacteria that tend to accumulate in the mouth (hence that pesky bad breath). [1011]

But peppermint can kill the bacteria… if you drink it as tea or chew on it as fresh leaves! (Some studies concluded that peppermint oil has antibacterial effects.) [12]

 

 

Headaches and migraines

Peppermint oil is also powerful in easing headaches and migraines when applied on the forehead.

According to a couple of trials, peppermint oil applied topically can relieve tension headache due to its relaxing effects, which smooth the muscles. The studies concluded that peppermint oil can be equally effective as some over-the-counter pain relievers. [13] 

 

Colds and flu

Menthol, which is found in peppermint, is a powerful decongestant and expectorant. This one-two punch helps us breathe more easily and get rid of unwanted mucus from our respiratory system. [1415]

According to a 2015 article in the American Chemical Society: [16]

"Based on its wide antimicrobial properties, Olbas can be a useful agent for the treatment of uncomplicated infections of the skin and respiratory tract."

 

 

Precautions

Peppermint should not be given to babies or young kids. Adults can drink copious amounts of tea, take one to two capsules two or three times a day, or three or four applications to the skin as ointment for itching, the University of Maryland Medical Center states.

Also, those suffering from the following should try to avoid peppermint: [17]

  • Diabetes
  • Hiatus hernia
  • gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)

For more precautions, the University of Maryland Medical Center has several warnings that should be noted. [18]

 

Viter Energy Mints include peppermint

Viter Energy Mints deliver peppermint as a flavorful mint that can be taken sublingually (under the tongue) to deliver the essence right into the bloodstream in a hurry.

Viter Energy Mints is aware of the herb's invigorating qualities and includes it in the mint's ingredients, along with other enlivening components, including caffeine and B vitamins. A Viter Energy Mint under the tongue can invigorate the mind and turn a person feeling dull in the morning or blase during the afternoon slump into a mental energy tycoon. Or they may feel at least a bit more invigorated.

Each Viter Energy Mint contains 40 mg of caffeine, so limit your intake to about 10 mints per day to avoid getting too much of a good thing.

 

Sources 

[1] https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1011134410001107?via=ihub

[2] https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/265214.php

[3https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17653649

[4] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1791066

[5https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1646142

[6] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19507027

[7] http://www.bmj.com/content/337/bmj.a2313

[8] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23416804

[9] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17420159

[10https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18173446

[11] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9444592

[12] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16767798

[13] http://www.aafp.org/afp/2007/0401/p1027.html

[14https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1981905

[15] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18435479

[16] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22739414

[17] https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/265214.php

[18] https://www.umms.org/ummc/patients-visitors/health-library/medical-encyclopedia/articles/peppermint-oil-overdose

Tina Sendin
Tina Sendin


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