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Peppermint
SCIENTIFIC NAME

Mentha x. piperita

BIOTANICAL FAMILY

Lamiaceae, Mint family

PLANT PART

Primarily leaves, fresh or dried

PREPARATIONS

Tea, cold infusion, tincture, poultice, compress, green smoothie ingredient

THERAPEUTIC APPLICATIONS

Aromatic, antispasmodic, carminative, stimulant, diaphoretic, and mild nervine

EMOTIONAL/ENERGETIC QUALITIES

Generally warming because of its peppery flavor, but menthol has a cooling sensation (or even cold)

ETNOBOTANY LORE AND ANCIENT PRACTICES

Peppermint is native to Southern Europe and was brought to the U.S. in the 19th century. The name "peppermint" was given to the plant because it resembled spearmint but had a pepper-type taste. In Ancient Greek mythology, the underworld god Hades was said to favor a beautiful nymph named Minthe, but his jealous wife Persephone cast a spell on the nymph and transformed her into a plant. When Hades could not break the spell, he gave her a sweet scent. Pliny - author, naturalist, philosopher, and military commander in Ancient Rome - reported Romans and Greeks used to crown themselves with peppermint at parties. In the Middle Ages, peppermint was used to help digestion. In folk medicine, peppermint leaves were used to treat bronchitis, fevers, hypertension, nausea, diarrhea, pain, and sleep disorders. There are over 25 species that tend to hybridize naturally. Both peppermint and spearmint have a long tradition of use as herbal teas to calm digestive upset, diarrhea, treating colds, headache, and cramps. In case of light colds, it serves as a warming diaphoretic and can help relieve nasal congestion. Peppermint oil is used in formulations for topical pain-relieving over-the-counter drugs and produces a prolonged cooling sensation.

SAFETY

Safe for general use; do not take if there is inflammation of bile ducts or bile stones are present.

DISCLAIMER: The information provided above is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease; these statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Please consult a licensed healthcare specialist for specific medical advice.

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