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Health Benefits Of Peppermint

Peppermint is believed to be a hybrid of spearmint and watermint, and has a number of health benefits. This widely consumed herb has long been used for medicinal purposes. In addition to this, peppermint oil is widely used in the manufacture of toothpaste, shampoo, soap, chewing gum, ice cream, and tea. Peppermint leaves are easily available and are especially popular in summer. Peppermint leaves are greenish-purple and are lance-shaped.
It is available as an essential oil, a tea, and herbal oil. It is sold in the form of soft gels and liquid extracts. Fresh peppermint is always preferable over any other form.

Let’s take a look at some peppermint health benefits.

  • Migraines and headaches: Research indicates that the vasodilatory effects of peppermint are beneficial in dilation of blood vessels that are constricted. When you have a migraine or headache, apply some of this oil on your forehead, temples, and your neck. This will help alleviate the pain and provide relief.
  • Head lice: Apply some peppermint oil mixed with water to your scalp. Keep it for half an hour and then wash your hair. Do this thrice a week to get rid of lice. The oil cools your scalp and even adds gloss and shine to your hair.
  • Menstrual cramps: Peppermint leaves health benefits can be seen in the case of menstrual cramps. Drinking tea made from peppermint leaves two to three times during the day can help give relief from menstrual cramps.
  • Healthy body: The benefits of peppermint soap for healthy body are mainly due to the anti-viral, anti-fungal, and anti-bacterial properties of peppermint oil. Also see nutritional benefits of mint
  • Peppermint candies help reduce the feeling of bloating and decreases heartburn. These candies also increase the antioxidant levels in your body.

Peppermint Oil For Health Care

It can be used to treat various ailments such as fever, nausea, headache, respiratory problems and indigestion.
  • Aromatherapy: Peppermint essential oil is used by aroma therapists for its uplifting, invigorating properties. The high menthol content in it has an anesthetic quality that leaves you feeling cool and refreshed. Adding peppermint to a footbath can help soothe aching feet.  
  • Dental care: It has antiseptic qualities that are beneficial for dental care. It helps you get rid of bad breath and also helps your gums and teeth tackle germs.   
  • Respiratory problems: The menthol in peppermint helps clear the respiratory tract. It provides relief in a number of respiratory problems such as bronchitis, cold, cough, nasal congestion, and sinusitis.  
  • Stress relief: It helps provide relief against restlessness, anxiety, and depression because of its refreshing nature.      
  • Blood circulation: Use of peppermint oil can also help improve blood circulation.
  • Stops growth of bacteria: It helps prevent different bacteria from growing. These bacteria include salmonella enteritidis, helicobacter pylori, escherichia coli O157:H7. It has properties that help inhibit certain types of fungus from growing as well.

Peppermint For Skin Problems

In addition to providing relief from a number of ailments, peppermint offers a number of beauty benefits as well. Peppermint oil is an active ingredient in many hair and skin products. Peppermint benefits for the skin include the following:
  • Peppermint promotes clear and healthy skin.
  • The menthol present in peppermint oil helps cool tired skin.
  • It prevents excess production of oil. Dilute this oil with some carrier oil such as jojoba, and apply it on your skin. It helps control and eliminate excess oil, and this in turn prevents clogged pores and acne.    
  • Dull skin becomes brighter on using peppermint oil.
  • Peppermint oil is an active ingredient found in colognes, perfumes, and scented candles. The scent of this oil helps refresh the mind and relieve exhaustion, stress, anxiety, and depression. This in turn means that you have a healthy immune system, which leads to healthier hair and skin.  
  • Peppermint oil helps soothe and nourish sunburned lips and also softens dry and cracked skins. The vitamin C found in peppermint oil helps counter the negative effects of exposure to the sun.
  • The vitamin A on the other hand helps combat wrinkles and relieves acne.
  • Peppermint oil has antibacterial properties that provide relief from athlete’s foot. It is best to mix this oil with some aloe vera before using it on your foot. Peppermint soaps also provide relief from skin infections. 
  • Cellulite lines can be reduced by massaging peppermint oil mixed with some base oil.

Uses Of Peppermint For Hair

  • Peppermint oil is excellent for hair care. Massaging some oil on the scalp is a good idea as it encourages hair growth. It also helps cool the scalp and relaxes the individual.
  • Adding a few drops of peppermint oil into your shampoo is a great idea. It helps reduce dandruff.
  • Applying a few drops of peppermint oil on your hair adds a gloss to it and also helps tame frizzy hair.
  • Peppermint oil is quite strong and could cause irritation if used directly on the lips, scalp, and skin. It is therefore best that one dilutes it with some carrier oil such as olive, avocado, and sweet almond. The carrier oil helps minimize the strong effect of the peppermint oil thus making it safer to use.

Nutrition Facts About Peppermint

  • It is rich in a number of antioxidant vitamins including beta carotene, vitamin A, vitamin E, and vitamin C.
  • Peppermint leaves contain a number of B-complex vitamins such as riboflavin, folates, and pyridoxine. It is rich in vitamin K as well.

Here are some peppermint nutrition facts that will bring out the health benefits of the herb.

  • It contains a number of chemical compounds that have anti-oxidant properties. This herb does not contain any cholesterol, but its dietary fiber and anti-oxidants help keep your blood pressure and blood cholesterol under control. It contains a number of oils such as menthone, menthol, and menthol acetate that help provide a cooling sensation when eaten, inhaled, or applied externally
  • The menthol in peppermint has analgesic counter-irritant properties.
  • It is an excellent source of important minerals such as iron, magnesium, calcium, potassium, and manganese. Potassium, for example, is an important part of body and cell fluids. It helps keep the blood pressure and heart rate under control.

Nutritional Information On Peppermint

Here is some additional nutritional information. A serving or fresh mint (3g) contains just 2 calories.
  • The total fat and cholesterol in it is 0%.
  • The dietary fiber is 1%, whereas the sodium present is 1 mg.
  • It contains 3% of vitamin A, 2 % of vitamin C, 1% of calcium, and 1% of iron. 
  • Mint is usually consumed in very small quantities, but the vital nutrients that one obtains from this are extremely beneficial to an individual’s health.
  • Calories in peppermint are not many, and hence, it can be used by those who are trying to lose weight.
  • It also contains rosmarinic acid that is beneficial for those suffering from asthma.
  • Rosmarinic acid blocks or prevents pro-inflammatory chemicals from being produced. It also encourages your body’s cells to make certain substances that facilitate easy breathing.
Submitted on January 16, 2014