Plant Family: 

Lamiaceae Family

 

Habitat & Cultivation: 

Peppermint is thought to have originated in Northern Africa and the Mediterranean, and may be a hybrid between M. spicata and M. aquatica. Peppermint was eventually introduced to Europe where it also became a popular culinary and medicinal herb.

 

In North America, peppermint was brought over around the 1800s and is grown commercially almost exclusively in the north and east from Indiana to New York and the very southernmost areas of Canada. Michigan has the most acres under cultivation in the US, and altogether the US produces about half the world's peppermint.

Ethnobotanical uses of mentha include dysmenorrhea, colds and flu, biliary disorders, enteritis, “pediatric maladies,” and fever.(Mills & Bone 2010). ABC (2013) notes the long history of Mentha, going back thousands of years to the ancient Greek, Roman, and Egyptian times, and its name, Mentha, comes from the Greek and an associated story of a nymph who transforms into this plant.

 

Parts Used/Collection: 

Leaves

 

Herbal Actions: 

  • Carminative

  • Diaphoretic

  • Febrifuge

  • Expectorant

  • Stimulant

  • Nervine

  • Anti-inflammatory

  • Antispasmodic

  • Aromatic

  • Antiemetic

  • Antimicrobial

  • Analgesic

 

Indications:

  • Indications for peppermint include:

    • Relaxant effects on muscles and digestive system and can be used to help w/flatulence, flatulent dyspepsia, intestinal colic, ulcers, and issue with the bowels by stimulating the production and flow of digestive juices and bile. (Hoffman, 2003)

    • The volatile oil in peppermint also acts as a numbing effect on the wall of the stomach and can be beneficial to someone suffering from nausea or vomiting (which is common pregnancy symptoms, especially in the first trimester). (Hoffman, 2003)

    • Peppermint is also used traditionally to help treat fevers, colds, and the flu. (Hoffman, 2003

    • Peppermint can be used as an inhalant to help relieve nasal catarrh. (Hoffman, 2003

    • The nervine actions in peppermint have been known to help calm people experiencing anxiety or tension. (Hoffman, 2003)

    • Also used for dysmenorrhea due to its pain relieving properties (Hoffman, 2003)

    • Used to soothe inflamed and itchy skin (Hoffman, 2003)

Contraindications:

  • None have been reported according to Hoffman, to include pregnancy and breastfeeding. (Hoffman, 2003)

  • The most common indications for peppermint we will likely see in our practices would be nausea, vomiting, indigestion, and constipation.

 

Plant Constituents: 

Phenols, phenolic glycosides and volatile aroma compounds such as trans-anethole, estragole, and fenchone have been reported as the major phytoconstituents of this species. 

 

System Affinities

  • Digestive

  • Respiratory

  • Nervous

  • Circulatory

  • Lymphatic (stimulates bile flow)

  • Integumentary (relieves inflammation and itching)

  • Immune (can treat fevers and colds)
    (Hoffman, 2003)

 

Energetics: 

  • light

  • cold

  • moving

Safety: 

Pregnancy Cat B2 (no increase in frequency of malformation/harmful effect) and Lactation Cat C (compatible but use with caution). As discussed in the lesson for this week, peppermint is contraindicated in those that have reflux that poorly responds to the esophageal sphincter-relaxing properties of mint and in those with gallstones.  Mills & Bone (2005) also list the contraindications of: gastroesophageal reflux, constipation, iron deficiency anemia and/or malnutrition. The last three are due to the high tannin content of peppermint. Mills & Bone (2005) also discuss the potential for sensitivity reactions to peppermint oil (especially in young children), and avoidance in cases of long-term usage and in cases with highly inflamed/ulcerated conditions of the GI tract. Caution is advised with use of medications as absorption rate may be impacted and clients should be advised to take separately from other medications (Mills & Bone, 2008).

 

Personal Experience:

Peppermint tea is used in our household for so many things. Some of the main symptoms treates would be migraines, constipation and congestion. It is generally one of the go-to teas in our family.

 

Research:

 

Hoffmann, D. (2003). Medical Herbalism: The Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press.

 

Mills, S. & Bone, K. (2005). The essential guide to herbal safety. London, England: Elsevier Churchill Livingstone

 

Romm, A. (2010). Botanical medicine for women's health. St. Louis, MO: Churchill Livingstone/Elsevier.

Peppermint (Mentha piperita)