Peppermint is cultivated worldwide and serves for flavor enhancement and as a healing plant. For making medicinal preparations, leaves and stems are harvested in the summer, just before flowering. The main active ingredient of mint is an oil that has more than 40 ingredients.
Therapeutic effect is due to menthol activity (which is 35% to 55% oil), menton (15% to 30%) and menthyl acetate (2% to 10%). The oil, that has therapeutic value, is obtained by distillation of plant parts that grow above the ground.
How does it work?
Peppermint is especially effective in treating digestive problems because it relieves spasms and relaxes the smooth muscles of the intestine. It also freshens the breath and can help with nasal congestion.
MAIN USEFUL EFFECTS: peppermint oil relaxes the muscular parts of the digestive system and helps relieve cramps and inflammation. As a spasmolytic, it can help with irritable bowel syndrome, a common illness with symptoms of abdominal pain, poor digestion, and a change of period of diarrhea and constipation. The main ingredient of peppermint is menthol, which helps digestion by stimulating the flow of digestive juices and bile. Therefore, it is often a component of antacids that are sold without a prescription. Some studies also show that menthol can help dissolve gallstones, which may replace the operation, but, before you start using peppermint oil in the treatment of gallstones you should consult your doctor. You can also put this oil on your tongue to get rid of an unpleasant smell.
Peppermint oil or tea acts as a mild anesthetic of the gastric mucosa, and can alleviate nausea and motion sickness symptoms. Tea can also ease the symptoms of diverticulitis.
ADDITIONAL USEFUL EFFECTS: by rubbing the peppermint oil on your skin, you can effectively alleviate muscular pain as it stimulates the nerves that transmit the sensation of cold, thereby attenuating the signals of nerves responsible for the transmission of pain.
The results of research of effects of peppermint in cases of colds and coughs are contradictory. Some research suggests that there is no effect, but Commission E (the German health organization, which is the authority for scientific research on plants) claims that this plant works effectively with the clogged nose by reducing the inflammation of its mucous membrane. Many people with cold claim that they are breathing easier if they breathe menthol. Peppermint tea can help with asthma because it causes relaxation of the muscles of the small airways.
How to take it?
DOSAGE: in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome, nausea and gallstones: do not take peppermint oil orally – by using capsules that dissolve in the intestine, the effect of the preparation is achieved exactly where it is needed (in the intestine, not in the stomach). Two to three times a day, take two capsules between meals, each containing 0.2 ml of oil. To freshen your breath: apply a few drops of peppermint to the tongue. To calm the stomach: make the tea so that you pour 250 ml of hot water over one to two teaspoons of dried peppermint leaves, and leave in a covered bowl for 5 to 10 minutes. If you have clogged nose: drink up to four cups of tea per day. To relieve pain: add a few drops of peppermint oil to 3 teaspoons (about 45 ml) of neutral oil; apply this mixture to the painful parts of the body up to four times a day.
USE GUIDELINES: dissolving capsules are taken between meals. If you prefer tea, drink one cup of tea, four times a day, either after or between meals. Oil or medical fat containing menthol should not be used more than four times a day. The tincture is mixed with water, and 10 to 20 drops are added to the cup. Peppermint oil should not be used if you are already using homeopathic preparations, and pregnant women should also avoid it.
Possible side effects
If the recommended doses are used, difficulties do not occur even after long-term use of peppermint. Occasionally, local application of oil causes rash, and capsules cause poor digestion. Allergic rash occurs if you apply warm compresses. Stop using peppermint preparations if you experinece these side effects.
IMPORTANT: since peppermint oil relaxes the smooth muscles of the digestive tract, symptoms in people with hiatus hernia may worsen.
Peppermint oil should not be placed in the nostril or on the chest of children under five years of age because it can cause a feeling of choking.