This popular herbal tea is more than a refreshing flavor
Jennifer Messineo, MS, RD
Peppermint is a fragrant herb and a popular flavor used in many foods and desserts. Both the leaves and the essential oil made from the plant’s flower offer health benefits. Peppermint has natural antitumor, antioxidant, and antibacterial activities.
Peppermint tea is known for easing digestive problems like bloating, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. Peppermint is also a potential alternative remedy for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). The herb contains polyphenols that prevent inflammation in the gut and reduce IBS symptoms.
Peppermint is one of the most commonly used herbal teas during pregnancy, and it can help to relieve the gas and nausea that many women experience during this time.
Peppermint oil may combat harmful bacteria that cause infections and food-borne illness. These antibacterial properties might be one reason peppermint helps treat digestive issues.
Peppermint is a potent antibacterial against E. coli and salmonella. In a 2013 review that compared the antibacterial ability of a several essential oils, peppermint was one of the most powerful antibacterials against E. coli.
While inflammation is a protective response against harmful pathogens and infection, chronic infection puts you at a greater risk of developing some diseases. Peppermint contains polyphenols and flavonoids that are found in many plants. These compounds act as antioxidants, helping to reduce inflammation, scavenging free radicals, and protecting the body from damage.
Cooking with aromatic culinary herbs in the Mentheae species of plants, like rosemary, lemon balm, sage, and peppermint may be good for your brain! These herbs contain terpenes, which are psychoactive compounds that enhance cognitive function and mood.
In one study, undergraduates who drank peppermint tea, were found to have improved accuracy and speed of memory while completing tasks compared to drinking chamomile tea. Peppermint may also improve focus and reduce your mental fatigue.
Peppermint is a popular flavor for gum and breath mints because it leaves your mouth with a clean tasting feeling. That fresh flavor improves bad breath and may also improve the overall health of your mouth by killing oral bacteria and fungus.
Compared to other essential oils, peppermint oil was one of the most effective oils to inhibit common oral bacteria. Peppermint oil also prevents biofilm formation of the fungus Candida albicans.
Peppermint contains phytochemicals that have anticancer effects against cancers of the cervix, lung, breast, and several others. Peppermint’s potent antioxidants and free radical scavenging properties give this aromatic herb the ability to suppress the growth of tumors and destroy cancer cells.
Teas containing a mixture of peppermint and chamomile can also help ease some symptoms of those in cancer treatment, like nausea and vomiting.
Inflammatory pain causes a local feeling of warmth. Menthol is the byproduct of peppermint, which induces the cooling sensation you get from the peppermint flavor and topical menthol pain relievers. This perception of cooling can help relieve inflammatory pain from arthritis and injuries. You can get a similar cooling sensation from food and drinks that contain mint. Mint is a versatile and refreshing ingredient that can be served in cold summer salads and winter desserts!
Peppermint tea is a flavorful drink alternative if you want to avoid sugar and caffeine. The burst of mint can provide enough flavor without the need for added sugar. When you want to stay alert and refreshed without the caffeine jolt that keeps you awake all night, try peppermint tea or try peppermint iced tea for a refreshing drink on a hot day.
The essential oil and vapors from a steaming cup of peppermint tea might help improve cold symptoms. Peppermint leaves are rich in menthol, a natural decongestant that can help relieve a stuffy nose and soothe a sore throat. Peppermint tea also has antiviral properties to help benefit your immune system.
Painful periods are a common occurrence for about 45 to 95 percent of women. Not only does menthol have a cooling effect but mint also contains an active component that relieves pain. One study showed that female university students who took mint for the first three days of their period felt an improvement in their nausea and diarrhea. Further, when they took mint combined with the medication mefenamic acid, the intensity and duration of their average pain was significantly less.