Spice up your Life – The Healing Power of Peppermint!

Did you know that there are about 600 different plants that can be referred to as “mint”, including curly mint, peppermint, spearmint, forest mint, and slender mint?  Today we are specifically going to talk about the healing power of peppermint, the “sweet” tasting variety of mint.  Peppermint is one of the most easily recognized and most enjoyed flavors in the world. It can be used in a variety of dishes and pairs nicely with  other spices including thyme, sage, lemongrass, and basil. Not only does peppermint taste amazing but it’s well known to have incredible healing properties. For example, peppermint has been shown to help ease the symptoms associated with IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome). Peppermint has also been shown to help fight an overgrowth of  bacteria in the small intestine and can aid in relieving indigestion. If you suffer from allergies, you should know that studies have shown mint extract to stop the release of histamine, the chemical that gives us itchy eyes and a stuffy nose. Peppermint has also been shown to help with coughs, stress, tooth decay, and symptoms associated with menopause. I recently tried the dried peppermint leaves from MySpiceSage and I love adding them to fruit and yogurt dishes. When it comes to drinking mint tea, you have to try Stash Tea’s Guayusa Tea with Mint. This tasty tea contains both peppermint and spearmint in addition to energizing guayusa. Yum!

FAST FACTS:

- Korean researchers found that people who inhaled peppermint and other essential oils had less stress and anxiety.

- The English were the first to start incorporating mint into their dishes, including their traditional lamb with mint jelly.

- Growing peppermint? You should know that this plant requires a lot of water and it rarely produces seed.

References: Healing Spices by Bharat B. Aggarwal. Sterling Publishing Co, 2011. New York, NY.