Tuesday, March 3, 2015
Scientific name: Mentha piperita also known as M. balsamea Willd
Other names: corn mint, lamb mint, yerba buena, black peppermint, chinese peppermint
Description: Peppermint is a herbaceous rhizomatous perennial hybrid plant as a result of a cross between Spearmint (Mentha spicata) and Watermint (Mentha aquatica). It has a wide-spreading, fleshy rhizome with fibrous roots. Leaves are placed opposite each other and are greenish-purple lance-shaped and toothed along the margins. It small, violet/purple flowers that blooms from mid to late summer. Both leaves and flowers have a characteristic, aromatic fragrance. The peppermint has a bit stronger minty flavor while the spearmint is subtle.
Parts used: leaves and flowers
Medicinal properties and uses:
Peppermint is considered to have astringent, antiseptic, emetic, stimulant qualities and muscle relaxing abilities. Peppermint is also a good source of manganese, copper, and vitamin A & C. It has long been used as a medicinal plant and research shows that taking peppermint oil taken orally helps reduce stomach pain, bloating, gas, and helps in the bowel movements & muscle spasm in people with IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome). Crushed leaves rubbed on the skin help soothe and relax the muscles.
Peppermint tea made from leaves and flowers can be an excellent remedy for indigestion, cramps, flatulence, nausea, vomiting and colic. Peppermint can also an appetite stimulant.
Topical application of peppermint oil can reduce pain caused by arthritis, rheumatism and even chronic joint pain. It also relieves headache, itchiness, toothache and nerve pain.
Peppermint vapors and inhalers helps alleviates nasal and sinus congestion, laryngitis and bronchitis. The rosmarinic acid found in peppermint is beneficial for asthma sufferers.
Precaution: Some herbs could react with certain medication or produce adverse reaction to your body, therefore it is advisable to contact your doctor/herbalist before consumption of any herb.