Thursday, 17 February 2011

(6) Seasonal Materia Medica Profile: Peppermint

Peppermint - Mentha x piperita (M. aquatica x M. spicata)

A member of the Mint Family. The Peppermint flowers between July and September. It can usually be found in damp ground and waste land, however, it is widely planted. Found in Europe, it was introduced into America, and in the British Isles is scattered as native, also used within kitchen gardens.

Active Constituents

The active components are essential oils, notably menthol - for this reason peppermint tea should not be given to young children, tannins, azulines, carotenes, monoterpenes (menthone, menthofuran, menthyl acetate, cineole and limonene), sesquiterpenes (viridoflorol), phenolic acids (caffeic, cholorgenic and rosmarinic), triterpenes (squalene, a-amyrin, ursolic acid, sitosterol), phytol, tocopherols, carotenoids, choline, betaine, rosmarinic acid, minerals and flavonoids (luteolin, menthoside, isohoifolin, rutin, hesperidin).


Digestive, carminative, antispasmodic, diaphoretic, anti-emetic, mild sedative, emmenagogue, peripheral vasodilator, mildly anaesthetic and antiseptic.


Can be used medicinally for stomach, intestinal, liver and gallbladder complaints. Dioscorides wrote that a spray of Peppermint worn on his cloak raised his depressed spirits. Crohn's and diverticula disease. Refreshingly effective in simple indigestion. Travel sickness, flatulence, colic, nausea and vomiting, poor appetite, catarrh, ulcerative colitis and infant's convulsions. Of value in gallbladder disease.

A Suitable Winter Remedy

In Green Pharmacy preparations, Peppermint oil can be inhaled, which treats nausea, headaches, fainting, shock, difficult breathing, colds and mental exhaustion. Prolonged use of the essential oils should be avoided as it can irritate the mucous membranes.
Also for digestive disorders, flatulence and nausea, infuse one teaspoonful in 250ml boiling water for 10 minutes. Drink 1 cup as required.

Potential "Admixtures"

Peppermint can be combined as an oil with Water, Honey or Banana Mash to be consumed. With Almond or Olive Oil to create a massage oil for cramps, spasms, muscular pains, low backache, sports injuries, stiffness of shoulders or joints. With Sambucus and Achillaea or Eupatorium perfoliatum in cases of influenza.

  1. "Herbs and Healing Plants of Britain & Europe", Dieter Podlech
  2. "Bartram's Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine", Thomas Bartram

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