Peppermint is by far one of the most loved and well-known herbs in the world. Its fresh minty scent has been used as a flavouring in candies, ciggarettes, candles, and cosmetics.
The essential oil of mint contains its main active constituents, menthol and menthone. These chemicals are antibacterial in nature, and deliver a cooling sensation when applied to the skin or consumed internally. This makes it useful for burns, skin rashes, or other irritations of the skin or gastric mucosa.
The herbs high volatile component makes it useful as a carminative for flatulence and indigestion.
- Sedative (mild)
Peppermint's medicinal uses mainly involve conditions of the gastrointestinal tract including indigestion, nausea and vomiting, gastritis, gastrointestinal spasms, or inflammatory bowel disease. Topically peppermint is used to provide a cooling sensation to burns, inflammation, or skin irritations. It has a mild analgesic effect, and muscle relaxant activity making it useful for muscle damage as well.
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Constituents of Interest
- Phenolic acids
Peppermint is a member of the lamiaceae family (mint family). This family contains betwween 6900 and 7200 species spread out through 236 different genera.
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Clinical Applications Of Peppermint:
Most of peppermints uses revolve around its essential oil. Whether as a flavouring agent, refrigerant, antinflammatory, or muscle relaxant, peppermint is almost never used alone.
Liquid extracts are often used in formulations to provide a cooling sensation in the stomach and is used to relvieve flatulence and bloating alongside bitter herbs.
The essential oil is a popular addition to topical creams and salves for its cooling sensation, and characteristic scent.
Contraindicated with gastroesophageal reflux disease as menthol is a well known cause of this condition. It relaxes the pyloric sphincter, allowing the reflux of stomach acid. This is true even for menthol cigarettes.
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For a list of references, visit the peppermint monograph.