A favorite herbal medicine of the ancients, peppermint leaves have been found in Egyptian pyramids dating back to 1,000 BC. Modern scientific investigations have now confirmed that this remarkable plant has over a dozen healing properties.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). Peppermint oil capsules have been described as "the drug of first choice" in IBS patients, as it safely helps alleviate symptoms and improve quality of life. Research has shown that it is effective in children and adults alike, with one study showing a 50 percent reduction in "total irritable bowel syndrome score" among 75 percent of patients who tried it.
Peppermint and the Liver. Peppermint supports liver function by improving the flow of bile from the liver to the gallbladder. By increasing the amount of bile flow, peppermint leaf positively supports digestion by helping to break down fats and reduce bad cholesterol. Decreased cholesterol levels reduce the work load required from the liver. If your liver is sluggish, peppermint may provide a boost.
Dental Caries/Bad Breath. Peppermint oil extract has been found to be superior to the mouthwash chemical chlorhexidine inhibiting Streptococus mutans driven biofilm formation associated with dental caries. This may explain why powdered peppermint leaves were used in the Middle Ages to combat halitosis and whiten teeth.
Peppermint May Relieve A Stuffy Nose. One of the two biggest active ingredients in peppermint is menthol, the compound that gives so many of those over-the-counter cold and cough remedies their minty smell. There's little evidence sniffing the stuff actually clears your nasal passages, but it seems to trick your brain into thinking it does. People report greater perception of an un-stuffy nose, even if little physically changed after inhaling pepperminty products. Sometimes when you're really under the weather, that might be good enough!
As we approach the season of candy canes and peppermints, it's a perfect time to pay homage to the medicinal herb that gives these winter treats their flavor: peppermint. So have dose of your peppermint tea, oil and leaves and receive these benefits!