Learning Herbs: Peppermint

{click HERE to see entire “Learning Herbs” series}

peppermint

Peppermint Herb Profile:

Latin Name: Mentha piperita

Common Varieties: Chocolate mint, Kentucky Peppermint, Sweet Mint, Orange mint

Description: There are many varieties of mint. Most peppermints have green, serrated leaves and produce spikes of small, purple flowers that bloom mid-summer. The peppermint plant is very fragrant; each variety has a slightly different aroma. Peppermint has a distinct smell that many associate with breath mints, chewing gum or toothpaste.

Peppermint is a great addition to most gardens, but beware as it is not a friendly neighbor.  This herb is very aggressive and will take over a garden space in no time. I like growing mine in a large pot to keep it contained.

Parts used: Aerial parts (leaves, stem, flowers), fresh or dry. Sweeter if harvested before plant flowers…the longer the plant flowers, the more strong and slightly bitter it becomes.

Medicinal Properties: Peppermint is one of the most versatile medicinal herbs you can find. It is known to be useful for almost every part of the body. The main property that peppermint holds is menthol, which makes a volatile essential oil. This wonderful compound has been proven to alleviate respiratory conditions/ congestion, soothe muscle spasms in the gut and ease irritable bowel symptoms. Some studies have shown that when used long-term, menthol (with other phytochemicals from peppermint) can break up and dissolve gall bladder stones! The antimicrobial properties in mint make it a wonderful defense against infections and viruses, which may help fight colds, flus and more. Peppermint also contains analgesic properties which makes it great for topical pain relief.  Isn’t amazing that God created such a wonderful, complex herb?

Common (therapeutic) uses: Arthritis, Colic, Colitis, Cold Sores, Cold Symptoms, Congestion, Coughing, Cramps, Digestive Aid, Fevers, Gastritis, Headaches, Hemorrhoids, Herpes Virus, Indigestion, Infections, Intestinal Inflammation, Lack of Appetite, Mucous Membrane Inflammation, Muscle Pain, Nausea, Nerve Pain, Oral Inflammation, Pain, Sinusitis, Stomach-ache, Stress, Toothache, Viral Infections and more

Medicinal Forms: Here are a few ways to use/apply peppermint:

External:

  • Infused Oil
  • Liniment
  • Salve, Balm, or Ointment
  • Herbal Bath or Soak
  • Body Cream
  • Essential Oil
  • Herbal Steam
  • Sleep Pillow

Internal:

  • Tincture (traditional or cider vinegar)
  • Infusion (herbal “tea”)
  • Herbal Honey
  • Syrup or Elixir (great for children)

Other Uses: Culinary – add to butter, cream cheese, ice cream, cookies, iced tea and more

Recipe:  Refreshing Mint and Fruit Infused Water (from Homegrown Herbs)

This is a tasty and refreshing way to stay hydrated. Unlike tea, the herbs gave a light, up lifting taste to the water! You have to try it!

You will need:

1/2 gallon of fresh drinking water

Several sprigs of fresh peppermint

2-3 strawberries, sliced

1/2 orange, sliced thin

Fill a glass pitcher almost to the top with water. Add the mint and fruit. Let the water infuse in the fridge for at least 30 minutes (I like it longer). As you serve the water, refill the pitcher with fresh water and the mint/fruit will continue to infuse each freshly filled pitcher for up to two days in the fridge.

To serve, pour water into tall glass over ice. Sip and enjoy!

Precautions: Great herb to use for adults and children; however, I don’t recommend ingesting pure peppermint essential oil and be sure to dilute it in a carrier oil when applying topically.

Where to find: Peppermint is so easy to grow at home…in a container or in the garden. You need to start with root divisions or cuttings, as starting from seed yields no smell or taste. Growing your own ensures the freshest herb for your home remedies. If you need to purchase dried peppermint, try Bulk Herb Store or Glenbrook Farms. Be sure to keep your dried herb in a cool, dry place to preserve freshness.

Resources:

  • The Green Pharmacy Herbal Handbook by James A Duke, Ph.D.
  • Homegrown Herbs by Tammi Hartung
  • The Herbal Drugstore by Linda B White M.D., Steven Foster
  • Healing Herbs by Rosalee de la Foret (get this book for free)
  • Bulk Herb Store (note: this is my affiliate link)

I love peppermint tea, hot or cold, especially for an upset stomach or headache. What other ways have you used this wonderful garden herb?

My Signature

p.s. Linking up to Teach Me Tuesdays, Thankful Homemaker … (see link-up list)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Comments

Learning Herbs: Peppermint — 2 Comments

  1. “Mentha Piperita”- kind of fun to say! That drink sounds amazing, I will have to try that soon. I’m looking for a variety of drinks, in line with the juicing, that are just better than pop and even too much milk for me. Water can get boring at times. Lovely breakdown of this beautiful herb the Lord made for us – thank you!

    ~Nicole, Working Kansas Homemaker

  2. Peppermint is another herb that grows as a weed where I am. No need for me to grow it, as I’m constantly pulling it out of my front flower bed. It’s great to have on hand for making my favorite: mint lemonade. I’ll have to try making hot tea from it, and I’m very intrigued by herbal honey!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>