Veterinarian Reviewed on June 15, 2012 by Paulina Nelega, RH
Posted in Uncategorized
Peppermint (Mentha piperita) is called a hybrid mint since it is actually a cross between the watermint and the spearmint. The Peppermint is native to Europe and is now widely cultivated all around the world.
The Peppermint is a perennial plant that grows up to 12 to 35 inches tall. The leaves are broad, colored green to dark green with reddish veins. The leaves are slightly hairy. The Peppermint flowers mid to late summer.
Peppermint spirits is from the extracts of the dried leaf of the Peppermint and is usually blended with essential oils to enhance its therapeutic effects.
History and Origin
Peppermint was once considered a specie all on its own but now it is considered to be a hybrid of the watermint and the spearmint. The therapeutic effects of Peppermint spirits were recognized as an effective treatment for many gastrointestinal illnesses and enhancing circulatory functions.
The Peppermint was initially used as a breath freshener because of its menthol content and as a flavor enhancer to many dishes and drinks. During ancient times, tribes were only able to crush the leaves to use the Peppermint spirits and oils contained in the leaves. Later on, the leaves were used in a tea to relieve gastrointestinal problems and also as a poultice to remedy skin ailments like wounds, burns and skin infections.
Peppermint spirits are still used for the treatment of many gastrointestinal problems such as stomach upset, stomach pain, bloating, colic, flatulence and also gastrointestinal spasms. Peppermint spirits were also used to treat illnesses of the gall bladder and the pancreas.
This herbal remedy is also used to relieve colds, flu and illnesses of the upper respiratory tract. Peppermint spirits can also relieve headaches and migraines. Rubbing Peppermint spirits onto sore and stiff muscles can help soothe deep muscle pain and it even relieves severe pain from sprains. It has a warming effect on superficial skin layers and deep muscle layers as well that can ease post exercise pain, chronic pain and other pain symptoms related to injuries.
Peppermint spirits is an effective astringent and can relieve bad breath and lessen ailments of the oral mucosa. Since it has a high menthol content, Peppermint spirits are often main ingredients of toothpastes, chewing gums, gargles and mouthwashes. It is also a great treatment for hiccups.
Peppermint spirits are also used to add flavor to ice cream, candies and confectionery as well.
Peppermint spirits should not be taken orally by pregnant and breastfeeding women. Care should also be taken in giving Peppermint spirits to very young children and infants. Undiluted extracts of Peppermint spirits may not be taken orally. If you want to use Peppermint spirits in the relief of your illness, it is best to consult your naturopathic doctor or herbalist regarding the proper dosage and interaction or adverse reaction to medicines that you are currently taking.
If using Peppermint spirits externally, never use it over open wounds or infected wounds. Do not use the extract on the face that can cause the vapors to enter the eye. If accidentally swallowed or instilled in the eyes, call for emergency help at once.
Paulina Nelega, RH, has been in private practice as a Clinical Herbalist for over 15 years. She has developed and taught courses in herbal medicine, and her articles on health have appeared in numerous publications. She is very passionate about the healing power of nature. Ask Dr. Jan