Peppermint

Peppermint

PeppermintPeppermint is one of the most versatile essential oils in the world. It has been used for many years to help body, health and mind issues by communities on a global scale. While the plant is also used in cooking in some countries, it is commonly known for its antimicrobial and its healing properties. This article will address the history of the plant, as well as some of the main health benefits it provides.

Description

Peppermint is  glorious plant which can be found in many different places in the world. The plant is specifically known for its cool burst of flavor. It is for this reason that the candy which is named after the plant has this cool flavor to it. There are currently over 25 different types of mints. Peppermint is a hybrid cross between Mentha spicata, which is known as spearmint, and Mentha aquatic, which is also referred to as water mint. The plant has green lance-shaped leaves. These leaves can sometimes also be a combination of green and purple, depending on the species. Spearmint, for example, has a different color compared to most of the species. The leaves of this plant have a grayish color. The taste of peppermint and spearmint is often described to be a combination of chlorophyll and pepper. While spearmint usually has a bit more of a subtle and cool taste, peppermint has a strong taste. Moreover, peppermint and spearmint are probably the most commonly known types of mint. Other types which are used are orange mint, apple mint, curly mint and Corsican mint. Besides the many health benefits, peppermint is also used in cooking. In the Moroccan culture, for example, mint tea is the main type of tea consumed.

History

Peppermint can be considered to be an ancient herb since it has been used for medicinal, aromatic and culinary purposes for many years. The origins of the plant go back to ancient Greece. During this time a myth was spread about the plant. It was commonly believed that the plant was originally a nymph. This nymph was said to be transformed into a plant by the god Persephone. People believed that the god was jealous of her husband Pluto who was allegedly in love with the nymph. Since Pluto was not able to reverse the spell of Persephone, it is said that he imparted the nymph with a sweet smell. In this way he would always be able to smell the nymph in the garden.  The smell and taste of the herb are the reasons why the herb has been used around the globe. It is often used in temples for its great small. It many cultures the herb also symbolizes hospitality. For example, in ancient Greece, peppermint was put on dining tables before guests would arrive since it would provide a great smell to the dining rooms. Moreover, in Middle Eastern cultures, mint tea is offered to guests when they arrive. Mint has also played a role in American tradition. While some people say that mint was introduced to the United States by European settlers. However, this is not the case since peppermint was used before the settlers arrived by Native Americans. The herb was not only used for its therapeutic properties, but it was also used to make hot tea.

Health benefits of peppermint

Peppermint oil is known for providing many health benefits and is used to treat various symptoms. Peppermint oil is an effective painkiller and muscle relaxant which has been proven to be aid in muscle pain relief. The oil is especially helpful in relaxing sore muscles after an intense workout, or to melt away a headache. Various studies have been conducted on the effects of peppermint oil on muscle pain relief. One of the studies found that peppermint which is applied topically contributed to pain relief which is associated with myofascial pain syndrome. A combination of peppermint oil, menthol and eucalyptus has been proven to be particularly helpful. Another health benefit of peppermint is the fact that it can contribute to unclogging your sinuses. The herb acts as an expectorant and helps to relief coughs, asthma and bronchitis. Peppermint has also been proven to help to reduce hunger cravings. When inhaling peppermint oil, you often do not feel as hungry and experience a full feeling. In case you do not have a diffuser, it is also possible to take a few sniffs of peppermint oil of apply a few drops on your chest or on your temples. Moreover, it has also been said to act as a natural energizer. Instead of consuming energy drinks or taking supplement vitamins, a few whiffs of peppermint oil will be able to provide you with an energy boost as well. The oil is especially recommended for people experiencing chronic fatigue syndrome. The oil can help to improve your concentration and your focus. Peppermint oil is also said to be a powerful antiseptic. This means that it can help to remove dandruff and lice, as well as stimulate the scalp. Add a few drops of peppermint oil to your shampoo to energize your mind as well as stimulate your scalp.


Research and studies

Various studies have been conducted on the effects of peppermint and peppermint oil on the body. Several studies have concluded that incorporating peppermint oil in your lifestyle will improve your life considerably. One of the studies that was conducted was by scientist from the Clayton State University. They examined the role of peppermint oil on postoperative nausea and vomiting. Most people experience nausea after they have undergone surgery. This can be incredibly inconvenient, especially for mothers who have just given birth to a baby. Experiencing nausea and vomiting can interfere with breastfeeding and prevent mothers from experiencing intimate first moment with their newborn. The study conducted evaluated how mothers responded to aromatherapy with peppermint oil. It was concluded that the oil was not only effective in reducing post-surgery nausea, but is also lowered the sickness levels among participants. A new scientific field of peppermint oil is its influence on the gastrointestinal system. New studies have found that the oil can improve the resistance of antibiotics and thereby heal the body from overusing prescription antibiotics. This is linked to the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome. It was also concluded that peppermint oil has a considerable effect on reducing abdominal pain among people diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome. Scientists stated that the oil is both effective and safe as a short-term treatment for the gastrointestinal syndrome.

How to grow peppermint

Mint is incredibly easy to grow at home. When planting mint, there are a few things you should pay attention to. The ideal conditions for mint to grow would be a moist but well-drained site. Most mint species tolerate the shade, but there might be a few species which actually require protection from direct sun light. When planting mint, make sure to plant them about two feet away from each other in moist soil. Mint usually grows about one or two feet tall, thus it is not necessary to place them too far from each other. If you want to plant mint in combination with other vegetables or herbs, it is recommended to plant them near tomatoes and near cabbage. Mint also does not need a lot of work or attention. The only care that is needed is the fact that the soil should be kept moist and the leaves should be kept clear. If you want to plant mint inside, make sure to water the herb regularly in order to keep the soil moist. Once mint plants start growing, they are easy to pull out of the ground and ready to be used in cooking or to make your own peppermint oil. Moreover, in order to keep mint plants in best condition it is important to harvest frequently. Young mint leaves usually have more flavor compared to older leaves. When picked, fresh leaves can usually last up to a couple of days but then you will start to notice that they will go bad. Also, right before flowering, make sure to cut the stems about one inch from the ground. Usually you will be able to plant one mint plant up to three times in one growing season. It is also possible to dry the leaves. In this case, cut the leaves before flowering and store the leaves in an airtight container.

How to select and store

Mint is commonly sold in supermarkets as well as in local spice stores. It can usually be purchased either in dried form or as fresh mint leaves. When choosing what to use, it is recommended to purchase fresh mint since the flavor is superior. There are a few things to pay attention to when buying fresh mint in the store. Make sure that the leaves of the plant look vibrant and have a rich and deep green color. Also, they should be free from any dark spots and the leaves should not start to turn yellow. If this is the case, then the plant will most likely go bad in a couple of days. Similar to buying other fresh and dried herbs, try and select the ones which have been grown organically. When buying organic products, you will be assured that the plant will not have been exposed to pesticides or has been irradiated. When storing mint leaves, wrap them in a damp paper towel. Then place it in a closed plastic bag. In this way you will be able to keep them for a couple of days. Make sure to store the plastic bag with the mint leaves in the refrigerator. Dried mint, on the other hand, should be kept in a sealed glass container. This should be stored in a dry and cool place. Dried mint will last up to twelve months, when stored properly.





                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

Article written by: SarahAjaoud
Times read: 1713x
Added: 23-12-2016 21:35
Last modified: 23-01-2017 22:52

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