Peppermint (Mentha piperita) is an aromatic herb in the mint family that is a cross between watermint and spearmint. It originates in both Asia and parts of Europe. It is used as a flavoring in mints, candies and other foods, and brewed into a refreshing, caffeine-free tea. Naturally occurring menthol gives peppermint its cooling properties as well as its taste and smell.
Many people enjoy peppermint tea purely for the delicious flavor, but don’t realize the health benefits associated with the herb. Peppermint is an excellent digestive aid. It soothes and calms the digestive system when taken internally. It is very useful for those suffering from morning sickness, motion sickness, and stomach aches. It relieves indigestion, heartburn, and gas, and gives you fresh breath on top of it all.
Peppermint is also used to treat symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome, spastic colon, colic, hay-fever, chemotherapy-induced nausea, and bad breath. It is also shown to be effective for treating headaches, stress, and for muscle pain, when applied topically.
As the herb acts as a muscle relaxant and mild pain reliever, it can help to relieve the symptoms of mild headaches, especially those caused by sinus issues. The menthol found in peppermint helps to increase blood flow and provides a cooling sensation. The antibacterial, antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties of this herb can help unclogg clogged sinuses, which may be caused by infections, the common cold or allergies.