The Many Benefits of Peppermint (by Gregory Beacham)
As far back as the 12th century, the mint plant has been used in homes as a homeopathic remedy to a number of conditions. It is actually considered to be one of the oldest medicines. One of the cool things about this herb and/or essential oil is that its effectiveness has been researched and proven by medical researchers. The oil is full of vitamins A & C, omega 3 fatty acids, nutrients and minerals including manganese, iron, magnesium, calcium, folic acid, potassium, and copper. The active medicinal ingredient in the plant is considered to be the menthol.Menthol is a cooling compound that tells sensors in the body to feel coolness, which makes it a good relief from fevers. Peppermint’s carminative and anti-spasmodic properties keep the herb popular as a home remedy for a wide range of stomach and intestinal discomforts.
Here is a list of health benefits of peppermint:
- Indigestion – Due to its carminative (gas removing) properties, peppermint is great for digestive issues. By adding a few drops of peppermint oil to a glass of water and drinking it after a meal can help with whatever digestive issues you may have including Irritable Bowel Syndrome. It’s also a good tonic for people with low appetites and Nausea.
- Dental Care – Peppermint has anti-septic properties, making it perfect for treating the mouth. Not to forget the great smell of peppermint that fights bad breath.
- Respiratory Problems – Thanks to the abundance of menthol in peppermint, it’s perfect for clearing the respiratory tract. It is an effective expectorant and therefore provides quick, temporary, relief in many respiratory problems including nasal congestion, sinusitis, asthma, bronchitis, cold and cough. As a result, it is used in numerous cold rubs. When these cold rubs are rubbed on the chest, they remove nasal and respiratory congestion immediately.
- Pain Relief – Another well-known home remedy is to apply peppermint oil in its diluted form topically to relieve pain including Headaches.
- Stress – Similar to many other essential oils, peppermint oil is great for stress relief due to its cool and refreshing properties.
- Skin Care – The menthol in peppermint oil along with the many minerals and nutrients are great for revitalizing dull and oily skin. It is also great for removing dandruff and lice from theHair.
- Blood Circulation – The iron, potassium and copper in peppermint benefit the circulatory system, (and multiple others) in turn greatly benefits the Immune System.
Peppermint is one of the easiest plants to grow from seed, both indoors and outside. It would make for a great child’s project or for the beginning gardener. Given free reign over an outdoor area, the aromatic herb can quickly and completely take over the space. The edible leaves and stems can be used for cooking as well as for garnishing drinks and desserts. Peppermint is a perennial plant that can live for many years and doesn’t need to be fertilized when grown in pots inside.
Step 1 Fill the 2-inch pots with potting soil up to about 1/2-inch from the top. Scatter a pinch of the tiny seeds across the surface of the soil. Keep in mind that the fewer seeds you plant in each pot, the less you will have to thin them as they grow. Sprinkle about 1/16-inch of potting soil over the seeds.
Step 2 Fill the plastic spray bottle with water and spritz the surface of the soil to barely moisten it. Peppermint prefers a somewhat dry planting medium, so let it dry out between waterings.
Step 3 Set the pot in a very warm windowsill where it will receive plenty of light. Direct sunlight all day is best, although the peppermint will be fine as long as it gets lots of indoor lighting and a little natural sunshine each day.
Step 4 Thin the peppermint seedlings when they’re about 2 inches tall. Leave one plant in each pot, or plant them in large pots if you can allow about 12 inches in between each plant.
Step 5 Keep the plants where they’ll receive all the sunlight possible and maintain an ideal temperature of 70-80 degrees F. Move them to larger pots when they become pot-bound. Continue watering the mature plants when they dry out slightly.
Step 6 Trim off leaves and stems of the peppermint plant as often as you like after it is well established. You’ll soon discover that it grows as prolifically as a weed, so pick all of the peppermint that you want for your own enjoyment.