Do It Your self Herbal Medicine

PART 2. THE HERBS

PEPPERMINT

MENTHE PIPERITA

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When you think of peppermint, it’s likely that gum, candy, or chocolate comes to mind. But this brilliant herb does more than soothe a sweet tooth. This easy-to-grow plant is excellent to keep on hand not just for its ability to soothe an upset stomach, but also for its usefulness in relieving sinus, nasal, and chest congestion during cold and flu season. When applied externally, say in a poultice, compress, or herbal bath, it’s fabulous for soothing sore or tired post-workout muscles and relieving pain from minor sprains and strains. Buy it in everything from seed to tea to essential oil.

Did You Know?

Ancient Romans were onto this herb long before modern medicine. They nibbled on peppermint to boost their smarts, smelled the herb to keep tempers quelled, and royals even stashed it in their pockets for on-the-go healing and energizing. Turns out, even the Romans were late to the game. Peppermint has been found in Egyptian tombs circa 1000 B.C. and before that, recorded in Chinese medicine.

Why It’s Essential

Consider this multipurpose wonder an amazing pick-me-up for brains, emotions, moods, and spirit. It’s energizing, restorative, rejuvenating, and cognitively stimulating. Experts say it boosts memory, cognition, and productivity. Unlike a midday shot of coffee, peppermint is naturally revitalizing so you don’t have the post-sip crash. What’s its secret? The herb is chock-full of flavonoids, phenolic acid, triterpines, calcium, magnesium, potassium, menthol, and menthone.

Herbal Power

MEDICINAL: Treats bee stings, headaches, toothaches, digestive distress, indigestion, burns, bites; disinfects wounds; used as mental stimulant, energizer.

COSMETIC: Use for cooling, deodorizing, disinfecting, and energizing skin, feet, mouth, and hair.

Application Methods

•Apply as a salve, tincture, compress, or poultice

•Drink as a tea

•Use in a bath

•Use in a room spray

Precautions

None documented; it’s completely nontoxic

Other Names

Corn Mint

Lamb Mint

Locating & Growing

If you’re looking at the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map, peppermint thrives in Zones 5 through 9. That said, it’s wild at heart with survival instincts so it can grow almost anywhere. Think full to partial sun and rich, moist soil if possible.

A CLOSER LOOK

PEPPERMINT IS A NATURAL DEODORANT

Add a few drops of peppermint essential oil to your body splash or foot scrub to leave skin with a fresh scent that lasts for hours. Or add a touch to your room spray or household cleaner so it disinfects and deodorizes while it stimulates your senses.