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Herb Reference Guide

Peppermint

History

We flavor our toothpastes, chewing gums, and breath fresheners with Mint's fresh and cooling fragrance. There are over 600 varieties of Mint all have a square stem, opposite facing leaves, with jagged or serrated edges and a terminal flower. The species name Mentha comes from Roman Mythology. Minthe was a lovely young nymph who caught the eye of Pluto, the ruler of the underworld. When Pluto’s wife Persephone found out about his love for the beautiful nymph, she was enraged. She changed Minthe into a lowly plant, to be trodden underfoot. Pluto couldn’t reverse Persephone’s curse, but he did soften the spell somewhat by making the smell that Minthe gave off all the sweeter when she was tread upon.

Function

Peppermint has been the subject of research for its effects on the gastrointestinal system, it's properties in relation to bacterial growth, respiratory function, and topically for use in linaments. The Essential oil constituents; menthol and menthone have been the focus of much of the research. The oil demonstrated a relaxing effect on the digestive system. The use of peppermint in Aperitifs points to the traditional knowledge of it's benefits for aiding in the heavy feeling after a large meal. There has also been a fair amount of research done on the Menthol constituents due to their use in the tobacco industry.

Uses of Peppermint

Disclaimer

This information in our Herbal Reference Guide is intended only as a general reference for further exploration, and is not a replacement for professional health advice. This content does not provide dosage information, format recommendations, toxicity levels, or possible interactions with prescription drugs. Accordingly, this information should be used only under the direct supervision of a qualified health practitioner such as a naturopathic physician.

Active Constituents

Essential oil (0.5-4%), consisting of menthol (35-45%) and menthone (10-30%). The phenolic constituents of the leaves include rosmarinic acid and several flavonoids, primarily eriocitrin, luteolin and hesperidin.

Parts Used

  • Herb (Aerial Portions)

Important precautions

Not for use during Pregnancy or Lactation.

Additional Resources

McKay DL, Blumberg JB. A review of the bioactivity and potential health benefits of peppermint tea (Mentha piperita L.). Phytother Res. 2006 Aug;20(8):619-33.

Seyedeh Maryam Sharafi, Iraj Rasooli, Parviz Owlia Massoud Taghizadeh, and Shakiba Darvish Alipoor Astaneh. Protective effects of bioactive phytochemicals from Mentha piperita with multiple health potentials. Pharmacogn Mag. 2010 Jul-Sep; 6(23): 147-153.