Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Herb of the week: Peppermint

Chocolate mint with a bit of Heartease popping up to say hello!

Peppermint has always been a great addition to food, medicines, and air fresheners. In the winter it can be added to your favorite hot cocoa and in the spring can be a great addition to any herbal tea.

Peppermint has also been used medicinally in the U.S. since colonialism and throughout the rest of the world for thousands of years. Many use peppermint to help with bloating, cramping, and stomachaches but there are plenty of other ways to use peppermint.

Peppermint contains menthol, which can be useful for breathing problems or skin blemishes.  Drink peppermint tea along with nettles to help alleviate allergy and sinus symptoms. Peppermint tea can also be beneficial for problematic skin. While drinking it may help, putting tea bags that have been steeping in warm water on your face can help shrink blemishes or clear skin.

In the British pharmacopeia, peppermint is still suggested as a treatment to use for babies with colic. Peppermint is also used in many fever teas because it can raise body temperature and helps congestion.

Most commonly, peppermint (essential oil in miniscule amounts) is used in toothpaste and breath mints. During the summer you can collect a few leaves each day and nibble on them as needed. During the winter drinking a tea after meals can help with breath and aid digestion.

My favorite tea for after dinner has peppermint, spearmint, and chamomile. It helps you ease into sleep and not feel groggy the next day.

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