Scientific Name/Common Name: Mentha piperita / Peppermint
Part(s) Used: Leaf
Constituents/Active Ingredients: 0.5-4% essential oil containing several monoterpenes including menthol, menthone, menthofuran, azulene, alpha-pinene, beta-pinene, (R)-(+)-limonene, menthyl acetate, and caryophyllene. Phenolic acids: caffeic, chlorogenic, and rosmarinic. There are also many tannins, flavonoids, sesquiterpenes, triterpenes, and other bitter substances in the leaves.
Overview: Peppermint is a popular culinary and medicinal herb used around the world, often taken after a meal for its ability to reduce indigestion and colonic spasms by reducing what is called the gastrocolic reflex. Peppermint tea was also traditionally used in Europe as a medicine to treat colds, fevers, headaches, nervous tension, insomnia, and to alleviate digestive disorders including colic, flatulence, and dyspepsia. The German Commission E also recognizes peppermint for treating gall bladder disorders and bile deficiency. In European folk tradition, peppermint leaf tea was also used as an antispasmodic for treating menstrual cramps and as a sedative. Peppermint oil has strong antimicrobial properties and can be used both internally and externally. Menthol, the principal constituent of peppermint oil, is an anodyne (a pain-relieving medicine, milder than analgesic) used topically to treat neuralgia and inflammation of the mucous membranes of the nose.
Traditional Use/Benefits/Body Systems: Traditionally used in Herbal Medicine to aid digestion (stomachic) and to help relieve flatulent dyspepsia (carminative). Antispasmodic for colic/digestive cramps; antimicrobial.
Clinical Studies/Scientific Research/References:
Blumenthal M, Goldberg A, Brinckmann J, editors. Herbal Medicine: Expanded Commission E Monographs. Boston (MA): Integrative Medicine Communications; 2000.
Hoffmann D. 2003. Medical Herbalism: The Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine. Rochester (VT): Healing Arts Press.
Disclaimer: This information in our Herbal Encyclopedia is intended only as a general reference for educational purposes. It is not a replacement for medical advice. This content does not provide dosage information, cautions/contraindications, or possible interactions with prescription drugs. Please consult any relevant product labels for detailed information on use and with a medical practitioner for individual health advice.