Peppermint leaf (and the mint family in general) is one of the more well known herbs though it is most often just used as a tea and flavor extract. There are many other ways to use Peppermint besides just as a flavor, and it is one of our favorite herbs.
If you live in a place with a moderate climate, it is easy to grow most of the mint varieties, though it is extremely invasive, so don’t plant unless you don’t mind it taking over!
Peppermint is an excellent digestive aid. It soothes and calms the digestive system when used internally or externally. I use it to make my Digestion Tincture, which I use for morning sickness, motion sickness, and stomach aches. Peppermint helps get rid of gas, indigestion and heartburn. It’s also good for relaxing nerves and improving circulation. This tincture literally gets me through the first three months of pregnancy.
Peppermint Leaf makes a delicious, calming (and caffeine free) tea that is invigorating in the morning and which improves digestion if consumed after meals.
I use Peppermint Essential Oil and Peppermint Tea as a natural headache remedy (oil on the back of neck and the temples and drink the tea).
A mild peppermint tea consumed internally or added to a bath can help bring down a fever gently without medicine and without interfering with the body’s ability to fight illness.
According to this book: “Contains aromatic compounds that increase the production of digestive fluids, relieve muscle spasms, increase blood circulation, reduce pains, promote sweating and are antiseptic. It also contains astringent compounds which shrink inflamed tissues. Peppermint has been used to treat indigestion, flatulence, mouth sores, loss of appetite, muscle cramps, nausea, morning sickness and dysmenorrhea.”
Peppermint also makes other herbs or supplements taken at the same time more effective. It is a great tea, especially for pregnancy and tooth remineraliziation as it contains calcium, magnesium and phosphorus.
From Mountain Rose Herbs: “According to the American Botanical Council Peppermint is helpful in assiting people with general indigestion and non-ulcer dyspepsia and makes for a soothing and warming after dinner tea The essential oil of peppermint can be applied to the skin or mouth to relieve pain. The essential oil in peppermint teas relieves the pain associated with colitis and colic. Both the peppermint leaf and peppermint oil have German E commission monographs, both for use as a carminative, and as an antibacterial. In many cultures to this day, carrying a bit of peppermint on your person is said to allow safe journey to travelers.”
Ways to Use Peppermint:
- The tea or tincture can be used for upset stomach, indigestion, morning sickness, or motion sickness. (see recipe below)
- A cup of peppermint tea can help alleviate a headache or stomachache.
- Some mild peppermint tea or tincture rubbed on a baby’s stomach (externally) can help relieve colic and promote relaxation, especially when used in combination with Chamomile.
- Peppermint leaf sprinkled in the back of cabinets will help deter ants and mice (and it smells great!)
- Peppermint essential oil can be used externally on the head and back of neck (avoid eyes) for natural headache relief or diluted in coconut oil for sore muscles.
- A strong tea of peppermint and nettle leaf used as a hair rinse will sooth scalp and promote hair growth. Great for getting rid of dandruff too.
- A cup of strong peppermint tea in a bath helps relax muscles and is also antibacterial. I occasionally put this in my kids bath with some chamomile for great sleep (and they smell great too!)
- In Homemade Remineralizing Tooth Powder as a flavor and antibacterial/antimicrobial herb. Just powder and add the herb. This recipe is incredibly budget friendly and can be customized to your preferences.
- Powdered in sugar scrubs it is very invigorating for the skin.
- When anyone in our family is sick, I boil a large pot of water on the stove with rosemary, peppermint, thyme, and cinnamon herbs (about 1/2 cup of each) and keep it simmering on low all day. It smells great, is soothing to the ill person and helps cleanse the air.
- A facial steam can also be made with 1/4 cup mint in about an inch of boiling water. I do this in a large pot, then remove from heat, drape my head with a towel and inhale the steam. Helpful for illness or allergies. Can also add 1 tablespoon of epsom salts to sooth sinuses.
Homemade Peppermint Digestion Tincture
- 1/2 cup dried peppermint leaves
- 1/4 cup-1/2 cup very finely diced fresh ginger root
- 1/4 cup dried fennel seeds
- Approximately 1 1/2 cups boiling water
- Approximately 1 1/2 cups vodka or rum (drinkable variety with at least 40% alcohol content)
- Quart size glass jar with airtight lid
How to Make Herbal Digestion Remedy Tincture
- Put peppermint, ginger, and fennel in glass jar and pour boiling water until they are just covered.
- Fill the rest of the jar with vodka or rum (food grade only! no rubbing alcohol) and put on air tight lid.
- Keep in a cool dark place for at least two weeks, but up to six, shaking daily.
- After 2-6 weeks, strain through mesh strainer or cheesecloth and store in vials or small jars.
- Dosage: for adults up to 1 tsp can be taken straight or in water as needed. For heartburn indigestion or nausea, one dose is usually sufficient, though sometimes a second dose is needed. In pregnancy, 1/2 tsp in the morning often helps with morning sickness, with additional doses if needed throughout the day. For children, 10-20 drops is usually enough, or it can be used externally.
- If you are pregnant, nursing, or have a medical condition, you should check with your doctor or midwife before using any herbal remedy or supplement.
Do you use peppermint? What’s your favorite use?