A characteristically hybrid mint, peppermint is the result of the cross between spearmint and watermint. The herb traditionally belonged to the Middle East and Europe, however owing to its multitude of benefits, it started getting cultivated worldwide. The herb is one of the 25 species from the genus Mentha.
The plant naturally flourishes alongside streams and ditches, however it is suitable for all environments and can grow anywhere once the seed is planted. Moist and shaded atmospheres are best for quick and healthy growth. The plant has an array of medicinal benefits, many of which are mentioned below.
1) Aids in digestion
Common digestive problems such as indigestion or bloating can be cured with peppermint leaves. IBS or irritable bowel syndrome volunteers who participated in studies for peppermint’s effects experienced better results in a few weeks using peppermint than they did on medications. The discomfort and pain of these syndromes can be considerably mitigated with consistent use of peppermint.
2) Migraine and headache relief
Peppermint leaves are a natural headache reliever. The cooling sensation of menthol is known to ease migraines. Studies have shown the commonly used acetaminophen pain reliever to be relatively less effective than peppermint oil when applied to temples to treat migraines and relax the mind.
3) Clears clogged sinuses
The usual allergies and colds that cause the clogging of sinuses can be treated with peppermint too. Peppermint contains menthol; and menthol is elemental for allowing smooth air passage in the nasal cavity and relaxing the sinuses. Steam containing peppermint essential oil or leaves can be used for this purpose. Research has found people with sinus issues have found some level of relief with the regular inhalation of peppermint steam.
4) Beneficial for menstrual cramps
A natural muscle-relaxant, peppermint is found to be effective in relieving menstrual cramps within short periods of use. It is scientifically proven to be better than anti-inflammatory drugs typically consumed by women during menstrual cramps.
5) Guards against bacterial infections
Since peppermint oil is effective in killing bacteria, it can be used to treat bacterial infections. It acts as a coolant and, being a natural anti-inflammatory substance, it fights pneumonia-causing bacteria, and can also be used in toothpaste to kill bacteria of the mouth.
6) Helps in regulating sleep
Being caffeine-free, peppermint leaves can benefit people who are accustomed to drinking tea before bedtime. It serves as a muscle relaxant and enhances sleep. Some believe that it acts as a mild sedative and ensures extended hours of quality sleep.
7) Elemental for weight loss
Peppermint tea is a calorie-free beverage and also has a natural sweetness. It can act as a substitute for your routine morning beverage that contains high amounts of calories in the form of sugar. It also contributes to weight loss by suppressing appetite. Some people take it in capsule form for this purpose.
Peppermint leaves are an excellent addition to a balanced diet to maintain overall good health. It serves as an ingredient in a multitude of products, ranging from toothpaste to tea, and increases their medicinal value.