Peppermint (mentha piperita), with its invigorating aroma and refreshing taste, is a herb that offers a myriad of health benefits. Stronger and more pungent than its cousin 'mint' (Mentha spicata), peppermint is known for its cooling and soothing properties. In the culinary realm, peppermint is less used than regular mint although its extractions are often used in candies and icings.
"Free from caffeine, a peppermint tea can help clear the sinuses, aid digestion and relaxation."
Peppermint is rich in menthol, a compound responsible for delivering a cooling sensation. Menthol has been used traditionally for its soothing effects on the digestive system, potentially aiding in relieving indigestion and other gastrointestinal discomforts.
Peppermint has also been studied for its potential benefits on respiratory health. The menthol in peppermint can help open up airways and ease breathing, making it a popular remedy for respiratory congestion and sinus issues.
Peppermint contains key polyphenols that contribute to its potential health benefits. Key bioactive compounds also include: limonene, eriodictyol, hesperitin, apigenin and luteolin.
"Consider using peppermint in refreshing salads, combined with fruit dishes or even in a pesto, but use with caution as it has a much stronger flavour than regular mint."
As part of a nutritionally rich, whole health lifestyle, at The Whole Health Practice we advocate enjoying herbs (and spices) as a regular part of one’s diet. While some herbs have shown positive results for specific health outcomes, nutrition science and the interaction of polyphenols from different plant sources is incredibly complex. Enjoy a healthy eating pattern with a variety of herbs, spices and whole foods that work in synergy to promote maximum health. Think fruits, berries, beans, vegetables, and whole grains; add colour to your dishes wherever possible.
So, embrace the flavours and benefits of peppermint and let this aromatic herb invigorate your senses, your palate and your health.
If you want to learn about the health benefits of the Mediterranean diet, read here.
More than just taste, herbs can bring health and joy to our lives. Read on for our complete collection of articles, recipes and more...
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Brown, N., John, J.A. & Shahidi, F. Polyphenol composition and antioxidant potential of mint leaves. Food Prod Process and Nutr 1, 1 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1186/s43014-019-0001-8
McKay DL, Blumberg JB. A review of the bioactivity and potential health benefits of peppermint tea (Mentha piperita L.). Phytother Res. 2006 Aug;20(8):619-33. doi: 10.1002/ptr.1936. PMID: 16767798.