Peppermint (Mentha piperita) is an exceptional component in a natural tool chest. As to its botanical lineage, there are about 25 different species of mint: Peppermint is actually a naturally occurring hybrid between water mint and spearmint. Indigenous to Europe, peppermint is now spread throughout the world, to the point that it is considered invasive in Australia, the Galapagos Islands, New Zealand, and parts of the US. It typically grows in moist habitats like alongside streams and in drainage ditches.
Long associated with winter (candy canes and peppermints), this medicinal herb has a host of healing properties and has been used that way since ancient times. Dried peppermint leaves have even been found in several Egyptian pyramids—carbon dating places them around 1000 BC. If it worked for Pharaoh, you may want to give it a try too.
What’s it good for?
Peppermint helps alleviate many stomach and bowel problems, tuberculosis, hay fever, shingles pain (topical application), memory problems (aroma), and nausea. It protects against radiation exposure, treats herpes, helps prevent cavities and bad breath, and is a decongestant. Added to a bath it can also help reduce muscle pain. Apply it to your skin and scalp: Its antiseptic and antibacterial properties will cool your skin and kill dandruff and lice.
How do I take it?