*This information is based on my own research and reading–I always encourage you to do your own research too. Consult your doctor if you are considering changing, or going off, any medication (read my full disclaimer/disclosure here.)*
When I think of peppermint, I think of gum, toothpaste, tea and, most often, mojitos, but not medicine! But yes, here is another fabulous and fragrant herb that contains many medicinal properties.
The menthol found in mint, a volatile oil, is the flavour/fragrance that we most commonly associate it with. Menthol is used medicinally, in cosmetics and as a flavoring.
Although I haven’t incorporated it into my medicine cabinet until recently, the use of peppermint in medicine dates back at least 2000 years. The name mint comes from the Latin word mente which means thought, as garlands of mint were once worn to stimulate the brain and concentration and provoke thought.
Medicinal Uses for Peppermint
Today, medicinally, mint is most commonly used to soothe the stomach, aid in digestion, and ease intestinal gas/bloating (a.k.a gas) and because of its calming and numbing effect, it’s also commonly used in rubs for sore joints and muscles.
But wait, there’s more! Peppermint…
- is great for colds because menthol thins mucus, acting as a decongestant
- has mild antibacterial properties
- stimulates appetite
- has a relaxant and anti-inflammatory effect, relieving stomach aches, colic, indigestion and travel sickness
- has been used to treat irritable bowel syndrome and diarrhea
- as a tea, soothes sore throats and dry coughs, and stimulates circulation, increasing sweating, to reduce fevers and congestion
- relaxes muscles and allows painful, digestive gas to pass
How to Make a Peppermint Tincture
If you haven’t yet, you may find it helpful to read week one’s post, Tinctures 101.
- Harvest the younger, smaller leaves at the top of the peppermint plant.
- Place the leaves in a jar and cover with 80-proof alcohol, like vodka, gun or rum.
- Let the jar sit for 6 weeks, out of sunlight. Give it a shake every couple of days.
- Strain the mixture and transfer it to a tincture bottle, or proceed to make a double-strength infusion. Compost the leaves.
- Take one adult dose, two droppers full, for any of the ailments listed above, 1-3 times per day.
*Tincture bottles are for sale locally (2 for $5), at Flo’s Body Piercing Studio (my mom), in Sechelt, B.C