The Health Benefits Of Peppermint

Peppermint is not just a popular and soothing flavor that can be drawn from the plant Mentha piperita; it also serves health purposes as well. As is the case with many herbs and plants found in nature, peppermint can serve as an organic and easy way to treat many ailments. The plant itself is a cross between watermint and spearmint, and it is indigenous to the Middle East and Europe. Its chemical properties are a fascinating source of a variety of sensations and reactions in the body that can contribute to healing and overall wellbeing. Get to know some of these health benefits now.

Helps Treat Irritable Bowel Syndrome


Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a disorder that affects the gastrointestinal system in the body and causes abdominal cramps, bloating, diarrhea, and constipation. This debilitating disease has, for years, been treated by naturopaths with peppermint. However, recent research shows peppermint is scientifically sound with regards to how it helps treat irritable bowel syndrome. This is due to the fact peppermint takes action through an anti-pain channel called TRPM8. Through this channel, it reduces pain sensing fibers and alleviates IBS symptoms. Peppermint can be taken through an oil capsule as directed by a professional or through a warm tea.

Helps Treat Gastric/Stomach Problems


In much the same way peppermint can help to treat irritable bowel syndrome, it also helps treat gastric/stomach problems from a host of causes. This is because of the muscle relaxant properties found in the plant. In fact, peppermint has been known to help in treating nausea from pregnancy as well as other sources. Because the stomach is in such a sensitive state when these things occur, peppermint can be inhaled with the help of a diffuser and high-quality peppermint oil. It can also be readily accessed through hot tea. This will directly impact the digestive tract to quell the pain and ease the inflammation that is typically the cause of much digestive discomfort.

Benefits The Respiratory System


Peppermint is actually one of the best things you can use to assist your respiratory system. This is due to one of the critical components in peppermint, menthol, which is an organic compound found in an array of cough and cold medicines because it can open up the air passages. It can also thin mucus, which makes it ideal for breaking up the mucus that clogs an inflamed nasal passage. It is so effective that, in a study conducted with male university students, it was found to improve exercise performance, possibly because of its menthol content. To see how peppermint benefits the respiratory system for yourself, try purchasing a high-grade peppermint oil for your diffuser.

Helps Hair And Skin


It should be no surprise, thanks to its cooling and soothing properties, that peppermint oil helps hair and skin so well. Peppermint oil should not be directly applied to the skin, as it is a very potent oil. However, when peppermint oil is diluted with a carrier oil, it can serve as a balm for irritation as a result of poison ivy, poison oak, or even hives. Additionally, it can be used to treat bug bites to staunch the itchiness often associated with a bug bite.

Peppermint oil is also a popular additive for hair care products, thanks to its clean and crisp scent as well as its calming properties for the scalp. By applying peppermint to the scalp, you can help clear up dandruff as well as stimulate blood flow to promote hair growth. Beyond this, peppermint can bind the hair follicle and infuse it with protein, making the hair stronger and healthier, thus giving it a brilliant shine as a result.

Natural Stress Relief


Peppermint's relaxant properties do not just make it an efficient pain reliever; it also allows it to serve as excellent natural stress relief. Peppermint oil alleviates strain on the body due to breathing problems or digestive problems and allows a general feeling of relaxation to spread over you. To see these benefits in your own life, try adding a drop of peppermint oil into a warm bath or a diffuser. Combined with other essential oils, it can create an atmosphere of decompression that can benefit your overall well-being and increase energy by giving your body time to rest.

May Relieve Tension Headaches


Peppermint has the potential to relieve tension headaches, and some research indicates it can even help with migraines. The reasoning for this is that peppermint acts as a muscle relaxant, which means headaches caused by muscle or back tension might be reduced. In addition, peppermint oil contains menthol, which is an ingredient that causes a cooling sensation in the mouth and increases overall blood flow. This has the potential to ease pain from certain headaches. One study was done on thirty-five participants with migraines regarding the effectiveness of peppermint oil on their pain. When compared to the placebo group, those who applied the oil to their temples and forehead had a significantly reduced amount of pain. However, more studies are necessary with larger groups of participants to prove the results weren't a fluke. No scientific evidence has been found to support the idea aromatherapy with peppermint helps reduce headaches, but some individuals have anecdotal evidence saying it's helped them.

May Boost Energy


Peppermint tea has the potential to reduce fatigue during the daytime and to improve overall energy. There hasn't been specific research done regarding the effectiveness of peppermint tea, but there have been studies on different compounds naturally found in peppermint. The research shows these compounds might improve energy naturally. Ingesting them through tea could confer those energetic benefits, but there's not a lot of data regarding how much tea an individual would need to consume and how long the effects last. There has been a study done on participants who took peppermint oil capsules rather than drinking tea. Those who took the supplement performed better on a cognitive test than those who didn't. Another study done on aromatherapy using peppermint oil showed that the aromatherapy practice helped reduce overall feelings of sleepiness in the daytime. If individuals want to relieve their sleepiness during the day, the best-supported body of research has been done on peppermint oil supplements and aromatherapy rather than tea.

Boosts Sleep Quality


Peppermint might have a variety of different effects on an individual's sleep habits, and different forms of peppermint have the potential to boost sleep quality. If individuals prefer to have a cup of soothing tea before bed, peppermint is a good choice, since it's an herbal tea that doesn't contain any caffeine. On top of the soothing caffeine-free properties, as mentioned before, peppermint tea also works as a natural muscle relaxant. This means it can help soothe tension and allow individuals to relax before going to bed. Not a lot of scientific research has been published drawing links between peppermint usage and sleep quality. Some animal studies have been done, but more human research is necessary. One study showed peppermint oil could lengthen the amount of time sedated mice slept. However, another study on mice didn't find any link between menthol and increased sleep times. Menthol is considered the active ingredient in sleep-related peppermint changes. Individuals will most likely to experience sleep benefits if they use peppermint tea or aromatherapy as part of a soothing bedtime routine.

May Fight Bacterial Infections


Right now, there haven't been any published studies regarding the effectiveness of peppermint tea as a bacteria-killing compound. However, multiple studies have shown peppermint oil is capable of killing bacteria. If individuals want to fight bacterial infections, they'll have better results with peppermint oil than tea. There is no data regarding how much tea individuals would need to drink for antibacterial properties to have a measurable effect. Studies have shown peppermint oil can prevent many common bacterial infections from spreading and growing, including salmonella, listeria, and E. coli. The oil is also able to kill bacteria that cause illness in humans like bacteria linked to pneumonia and the bacteria that cause staph infections. Sipping peppermint tea or sucking on peppermints may also help reduce the common bacteria found in the mouth. It's not a replacement for good oral hygiene habits, but it's worth noting if individuals want to freshen up between brushings.

Freshens Breath


Many different types of mint are touted as great choices for those who want to freshen their breath. However, some qualities set peppermint apart from the rest. Peppermint is one of the most popular flavors for mouthwash, toothpaste, and chewing gum. It has the same pleasantly minty smell all mints do, but it also has antibacterial properties that attack the germs and bacteria responsible for plaque, one of the biggest contributors to bad breath. When peppermint prevents plaque from growing, an individual's breath might improve. Another study of participants who'd just had spinal surgery showed those who rinsed the mouth with lemon, tea tree, and peppermint oils experienced a reduction in bad breath when compared to those who didn't. Another study of schoolgirls with a peppermint mouth rinse showed one week of usage led to improved breath when compared to the students who didn't use the rinse. Peppermint compounds can improve breath, but since there hasn't been enough research done on the effect of peppermint tea on breath, individuals are better off sticking to chewing gum and mouthwash.


    HealthPrep Staff