Peppermint tea benefits are extensive. Aside from its refreshing flavor, peppermint has a host of medicinal properties. Find out what your teacup holds.
Identification of Peppermint
Peppermint plants produce sweetly scented leaves, stems and flowers, which grow several feet tall in Europe, Asia and North America. Other varieties are native to South America, South Africa and Australia.
History and Uses for Peppermint
Peppermint is thought to be a blend of both spearmint and water mint. Its uses date back to Egypt, Rome and Greece, where the plant was a part of ancient medicine.
Peppermint Tea Benefits
The active compound in peppermint leaves and stems is menthol, a common constituent to cough drops, chest rubs, foods and cosmetics. Peppermint is also a famous flavor in toothpastes, chewing gums, mouthwashes and candy sticks, known for its refreshing, tingly taste and soothing sensation. Peppermint makes a consoling tea, savored by tea enthusiasts for its health benefits and vigorous flavor. Peppermint tea benefits include:
- Indigestion-Peppermint tea is a beneficial after-dinner beverage. It helps ease stomach irritations by calming stomach muscles and improving the flow of bile, which speeds digestion. Individuals with acid reflux or GERD should not use peppermint, however.
- Gas and Bloating-Peppermint tea may help calm symptoms of gas and bloating.
- IBS-the University of Maryland Medical Center reports some forms of peppermint can help treat symptoms of IBS (irritable bowel syndrome).
- Tension Headaches-When applied to the forehead, peppermint oil is used to treat tension headaches, reduce stress and enhance alertness. Whether these same benefits apply to peppermint tea is uncertain.
- Skin Irritations-The leaves of peppermint can be applied topically to soothe skin irritations caused by bites, stings, poison ivy or poison oak.
- Cough and Colds-Peppermint tea may help hinder coughs and colds by acting as a decongestant and expectorant. The hot liquid also makes a hydrating herbal brew.
- Breath-Peppermint stimulates the mouth and freshens breath.
Various Forms of Peppermint
If peppermint is already a part of your teatime rotation, you may be looking for other ways to incorporate the herb. Peppermint is aromatic, used therapeutically and for its fragrant qualities. Peppermint can also be found in capsule, liquid and gelatin forms for supplemental use.
While peppermint tea and other forms of the herb offer a host of health benefits, some interactions may apply. Some herbs can interact with other herbs or medications, causing side effects. Individuals with GERD may experience intensified symptoms, as peppermint relaxes the sphincter between the stomach and esophagus, allowing stomach acids to pass into the esophagus. In addition, pregnant or nursing mothers should avoid peppermint tea and other herbal concoctions. If you are taking prescription medications for any purpose, check with your doctor for safety and instructions.
Preparing Peppermint Tea
For those who are unfamiliar with the sacrament of serving tea, these simple instructions will help you prepare and enjoy your own steaming mug of peppermint tea. The following are the steps to follow when using a commercially prepared tea (tea bags) or fresh peppermint leaves:
- Steep-Add 1 tsp. of dried peppermint leaves or 1 tea bag to a cup of boiling water. Allow the brew to sit for several minutes. The longer you steep the brew, the more robust your tea will be.
- Strain-Strain the peppermint leaves or remove the tea bag from your cup. Allow to cool and enjoy.
Peppermint Tea Storage
To help your herbs retain their brisk, mint flavor, adequate storage is imperative. Keep your herbs in clean, airtight containers, in a cool, dark place. Cupboards, drawers and dark, covered jars are ideal. Whole herbs can last for several years, if stored properly. Ground herbs may stay fresh for approximately one year.
Make teatime a relaxing and healthy ritual as you discover the countless peppermint tea benefits.