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Native Natural Remedies » General Health » Top 6 Benefits of Peppermint for Health and Wellness

Top 6 Benefits of Peppermint for Health and Wellness

Most people have enjoyed a stick of peppermint gum or indulged in a candy cane during the holidays, but experts now say that peppermint is much more than just a flavoring agent. Peppermint has a number of health benefits that have been verified by medical experts. Try this minty medicine in place of over-the-counter drugs to avoid harmful side effects.

Digestive Issues 

Alternative health practitioners use peppermint to treat a variety of digestive problems, from nausea to abdominal cramps. Now traditional medical providers are finding that peppermint really does benefit the digestive system. One study followed patients with irritable bowel syndrome, some of whom took a placebo and some of whom took peppermint oil capsules. Seventy-five percent of the patients who took the peppermint oil experienced a reduction in the severity of their IBS symptoms compared with only 38 percent of the patients who took a placebo. Peppermint tea is a great way to experience the digestive benefits of this herb. The Harvard School of Public Health also says peppermint eases constipation, diarrhea and bloating. 

Relief of Cold Symptoms

Peppermint contains menthol, the active ingredient in many over-the-counter cold and flu remedies. Menthol thins mucus in the respiratory tract, which helps loosen phlegm and relieve coughs. Menthol also helps relieve dry cough and sore throat. Inhaling peppermint oil from a steam preparation will help clear the nasal passages and sinuses. Using peppermint oil in a chest rub can also help relieve the symptoms of chest colds. 

Halitosis 

There’s a reason many chewing gum manufacturers sell a lot of peppermint-flavored gum: the peppermint helps reduce bad breath odor. Chewing on peppermint leaves has the same effect, as the mint helps get rid of the bad bacteria that cause breath odor. If the odor persists, however, schedule an appointment with a dentist. Persistent bad breath can be a sign of gum disease or other oral health problems. 

Headache Relief 

Peppermint helps ease headaches in two different ways. For those who experience headaches as the result of sinus pressure, inhaling peppermint helps clear the sinuses and reduce the amount of pressure in the head. Peppermint also eases muscle tension, which makes it useful for treating muscle tension headaches. Because peppermint oil has a warming effect, it can burn the skin if applied too liberally. Dilute the oil before applying it to the skin to reduce the risk of skin irritation.

Bites and Rashes

Insect bites and contact with plants like poison ivy and poison sumac wreak havoc on the skin. Peppermint oil has cooling properties that make it an ideal treatment for irritation caused by bites and rashes. Always dilute the peppermint oil before applying it to the site of an insect bite or skin irritation.

Stress Relief 

Bryan Raudenbush, Ph.D. says peppermint stimulates the brain and reduces fatigue. He and his colleagues used this information to study the effects of peppermint and cinnamon on driver fatigue and frustration. Drivers participated in simulated driving experiments under three different conditions. Some received no odor, some received 30 seconds of peppermint odor every 15 minutes and some received 30 seconds of cinnamon odor every 15 minutes. Study investigators found that the peppermint decreased fatigue, anxiety and frustration while increasing alertness. Raudenbush says that administration of these scents during long trips may help drivers stay alert and avoid accidents.

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