Peppermint

Botanical Name: Mentha Piperita Family: Labiatae

Common name(s): Peppermint

GROWING

  • Perennial; herbaceous | Zone 5-9 | 2 feet tall | Spikes of purple flowers in mid- to late summer
  • Full sun to shade| Adaptable to different soil types | Likes water | Propagate via root divisions (plants from seeds are inferior)

HARVESTING

Harvest the aerial parts anytime. Can be used fresh or dried.

PREPARATION / DOSAGE

Infusion: Steep 1 rounded teaspoon of dried mint (double if fresh) in 1 cup boiled water for 10 minutes. Drink as often as desired.

Tincture: 1-2ml 3x/day

Food: Use in smoothies and salads, etc.

External: The essential oil can be added to toothpaste, mouthwash, and cleaning products (for a fresh scent and disinfectant). Make a paste with honey and a couple of drops of the essential oil for burns. Make a lotion using a peppermint infusion to apply to irritated skin. Apply diluted (to 2%) essential oil to temples to relieve a headache.

MEDICAL

Constituents: Essential oil (menthol & menthone), flavonoids, phenolic acid, triterpines, tannins, bitter principle, calcium, magnesium, potassium

Actions: Analgesic, Antiseptic, antispasmodic, carminative, digestive, stimulant.

Uses: Ailments throughout the digestive system, pain relief, respiratory infections, treating fevers

Cautions: Do not give to children under 5 or give the essential oil to children under 12. Do not take the essential oil internally except under professional supervision. Can suppress milk production, so best not to use while nursing.

SOURCES 

  • Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine, Andrew Chevallier
  • Homegrown Herbs, Tammi Hartung
  • Holistic Herbal, David Hoffmann
  • Medicinal Herbs, Rosemary Gladstar
  • photo credit: anna_gregory peppermint via photopin (license)

Peppermint will spread! I just learned from Rosemary Gladstar’s book that you should keep your different types of mint separate because they will intermingle and you will wind up with all kinds of mutt mints and they won’t be as medicinal. I have a mint bed with multiple mints. I’ll be changing that up this year!

You can grow peppermint in pots to keep it from spreading, but I’ve found that in my zone 5 climate, it doesn’t always come back the next year when grown in a pot.

One of my favorite things to do in the summer is put a sprig of peppermint – bruising the leaves by twisting them – into a pitcher of water in the refrigerator. So refreshing! 

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