Peppermint Herb Nutrition Facts & Health Benefits
Peppermint is a hybrid species of mint, a cross between watermint and spearmint. It is a native of Europe and Asia and was naturalized in North America. Peppermint is recognized as a plant source of menthol and menthone and is among the oldest herbs used for both culinary and medicinal products.
Peppermint has a fresh, pungent, cooling flavor. Its antiviral properties make it beneficial for preventing illness. Peppermint has the added benefit of being a natural breath freshener. Peppermint is used for flavoring ice cream, candy, fruit preserves, alcoholic beverages, mouthwashes, chewing gum, toothpaste, and some shampoos, soaps, and skin care products.
Peppermint has anti-parasitic, antiseptic, and antiviral properties. As an inhalant, peppermint's essential oil treats nausea, indigestion, and shock and is said to improve concentration. Peppermint leaves are also rich in vitamin A, foliates, riboflavin, and vitamin K.
Nutritional Value of Fresh Peppermint Leaves
Peppermint leaf contains luteolin, hesperidin, and rutin; caffeic, chlorogenic, and rosmarinic acids, and related tannins; choline; a- and b-carotenes; gum; minerals; resin; a- and g-tocopherols; a-amyrin; and squalene triterpenes.
Peppermint is a powerful antioxidant that contains many vitamins and minerals. This fresh herb is rich in vitamins A, C, and B12, thiamine, folic acid, and riboflavin, as well as the minerals manganese, copper, potassium, iron, calcium, zinc, phosphorus, fluoride, and selenium.
Two tablespoons of fresh spearmint provide 4.9 calories, 0.9 g of carbohydrate, 0.4 g of protein, 0.1 g of fat, 0.8 g of dietary fiber, 456 IU of vitamin A, 11.8 mcg of folic acid, 7.1 mg of magnesium, 6.8 mg of phosphorus, 51.5 mg of potassium, and 3.4 mg of sodium.
Fresh Peppermint Nutrition Facts Label
Health Benefits of Peppermint
Peppermint’s chief therapeutic value lies in its ability to relieve gas, flatulence, bloating, and colic, though it has many other applications. Peppermint improves digestion and calms the digestive system, reducing wind, griping pains, colic, and nausea. It is a key ingredient in many remedies for indigestion and irritable bowel syndrome. It acts as a sedative in the stomach and strengthens the bowels.
Peppermint is claimed to be useful for problems of the digestive system such as wind, indigestion, gastroenteritis, and irritable bowel syndrome. Peppermint has been used for centuries to aid digestion and relieve indigestion. Peppermint tea is one of the most popular of all herb teas and is typically used for digestive disorders and discomfort. Peppermint has a relaxing effect on the muscles of the digestive system, reducing symptoms of gas, reflux, and spasms.
Peppermint helps induce relaxation of the gut wall by blocking calcium channel-dependent processes in the stomach, small intestine, and colon. It has also been found to stimulate bile flow. Bile acids are key to digestion. After we eat a meal, our gall bladder releases bile acids into the small intestine to help digest fats. After this process occurs, 95 percent of the bile acids get recycled and go back to the liver so that the next time we need to break down fat, they get released again.
Peppermint oil is the most extensively used of all the volatile oils, both medicinally and commercially. The characteristic anti-spasmodic action of the volatile oil is more marked in this than in any other oil, which greatly adds to its power of relieving pains arising in the alimentary canal. Due to its stimulating, stomachic, and carminative properties, it is valuable in certain forms of dyspepsia, being mostly used for flatulence and colic. It may also be employed for other sudden pains and cramps in the abdomen. It is also widely used for cholera and diarrhea.
It is generally combined with other medicines when its stomachic effects are required, and it is also employed with purgatives to prevent griping. The oil of peppermint allays sickness and nausea and is much used to disguise the taste of unpalatable drugs, as it imparts its aromatic characteristics to whatever prescription it enters into. It is used as an infant's cordial. The oil itself is often given on sugar and added to pills; there is also a spirit made from the oil, but the preparation in most general use is peppermint water, which is the oil and water distilled together. Peppermint water and the spirit of peppermint are official preparations of the British Pharmacopoeia. In flatulent colic, the spirit of peppermint in hot water is a good household remedy, as is the oil given in doses of one or two drops on sugar.
Peppermint is used as an inhalant and chest rub for respiratory infections. It may be applied to the skin to relieve pain, headaches, and migraines. Another benefit of peppermint is attributed to its menthol content and the effect it has on the respiratory tract. While menthol has not demonstrated benefit in nasal congestion, it was found to improve nasal airflow sensation due to its ability to stimulate the palatine nerve in the nasal mucosa.
The chemical compound menthol, derived from peppermint oil, is well known for its therapeutic effect on the chest and respiratory system. It has also shown potential to inhibit the formation of cancerous cells and the growth of bacteria and fungus.
In the United States, peppermint leaf is used singly and as a main component of a wide range of digestive, common cold, and decongestant dietary supplements and OTC drug products, in fluid and solid dosage forms. Peppermint leaf and peppermint oil are official in the U.S. National Formulary. Peppermint is good for assisting in the raising of internal heat and inducing perspiration, although its strength is soon exhausted. In mild colds or early indications of disease, a free use of peppermint tea will, in most cases, effect a cure; an infusion of one ounce of the dried herb to a pint of boiling water is employed, taken in wineglassful doses. It is also mild enough to give to children as needed for chills and colds.
Peppermint tea has a number of other benefits, including curing nausea, relieving menstrual cramps and other muscle spasms, soothing skin rashes, boosting alertness, and even controlling herpes simplex. Applied to the skin, peppermint relieves pain and reduces sensitivity. It also relieves headaches and migraines linked to digestive weakness.
Peppermint oil is rich in the monoterpene perillyl alcohol, which has shown potential against pancreatic, mammary, and liver tumors in animals.
In German pediatric medicine, peppermint leaf (67%) is combined with chamomile flower (33%) as an herbal tea to treat gastric upset in children. It is also used as a component of various ‘kidney and bladder’ teas for children. Peppermint oil is used as a component of Inhalatio composita (45% eucalyptus oil, 45% pumilio pine oil, 10% peppermint oil), specifically indicated for coryza and nasal catarrh in children.
Peppermint oil is used in the United States as a carminative in antacids, a counter-irritant in topical analgesics, an antipruritic in sunburn creams, a decongestant in inhalants and lozenges, and as an antiseptic or flavoring agent in mouthwashes, gums, and toothpastes.
Peppermint oil is considered to be generally non-toxic and non-irritant in low concentrations; however, sensitization may be a problem due to the menthol content. It may cause irritation to the skin and mucous membranes and should be kept well away from the eyes. It should be avoided during pregnancy and not used on children. There is evidence that menthol can enhance the penetration of other agents.
Formulators are cautioned that this enhanced penetration can affect the use of other ingredients whose safety assessment is based on their lack of absorption. With the limitation that the concentration of pulegone in these ingredients should not exceed 1%, it was concluded that M. piperita (peppermint) oil and related preparations are safe as used in cosmetic formulations.
Symptoms of peppermint oil overdose are slow or rapid breathing, abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, blood in urine, no urine production, convulsions, depression, dizziness, twitching, unconsciousness, uncoordinated movement, and flushing.