Reprinted with the kind permission of Dr. Mercola.
Peppermint tea may be one of the most well-known and most widely consumed teas in the world, and not just because of its refreshing taste. Peppermint tea is loaded with various antioxidants and minerals, offering people a surplus of health benefits. Learn more about this tea, its history and benefits, and techniques on how you can brew your own cup.
What Is Peppermint Tea?
You’ve probably seen peppermint on the packages of toothpastes and gum, but this herb has actually been around for far longer than you might think, with the Romans using it to adorn their heads and dining tables for feasts and other festivities. Dried peppermint leaves were even found inside the pyramids, meaning Egyptians have put it to good use as well.1
Today, peppermint products are widely available in the market, with peppermint essential oils and peppermint tea being used to promote wellness. Peppermint tea is an infusion of the peppermint plant’s leaves (Mentha piperita), the hybrid of watermint and spearmint.2 This herb is often sold as loose leaf tea or in teabags, either of which can be used to brew your daily mug or two of peppermint tea.
Check Out These 3 Peppermint Tea Health Benefits
Peppermint may be famous for its ability to put a stop to bad breath, but its benefits don’t end there. Drinking peppermint tea may help regulate numerous body processes due to the surplus of active compounds it contains. Here are some health benefits you may get when you make peppermint tea part of your daily routine:
May protect you from harmful pathogens — Peppermint contains numerous metabolites with antifungal, antibacterial and antiviral properties, potentially working against numerous pathogens like Escherichia coli (E. coli), salmonella, Streptococcus thermophilus, Shigella dysenteriae and more. This means that peppermint tea may provide you with protection against infections and other problems caused by these microorganisms.3
May help relieve headaches — A 1994 study from the Cephalalgia journal found that peppermint oil, together with eucalyptus oil, has muscle-relaxing and mentally relaxing properties that may help alleviate headaches and other painful conditions.4
May assist in alleviating abdominal pain — The essential oils in peppermint have anesthetic and analgesic effects on gastrointestinal tissues. Its effect on your smooth muscles may help dampen pain caused by cramps, even for a short time.5
Nutrition Facts of Peppermint
The peppermint herb contains vitamins and minerals, such as magnesium, potassium, calcium and vitamins A and C. Some of these may be carried over to the tea when brewed, but only in trace amounts.6
A good bulk of peppermint tea’s health benefits are also attributed to its high content of menthol, menthone and menthyl acetate.7
Does Peppermint Tea Have Caffeine in It?
For people who are caffeine-sensitive, the good news is that peppermint tea does not contain any caffeine. If you usually have issues with falling asleep or staying asleep, drinking peppermint tea would be a good idea because it will not cause any side effects.8 Some people even drink peppermint tea before sleeping to help themselves relax.9
Here’s How You Can Brew Your Own Peppermint Tea
You can use loose dried tea leaves, teabags or even fresh mint leaves to make your own peppermint tea. To help you brew your first batch, here’s a recipe from the blog, Fearless Fresh.10
Peppermint Tea With Fresh Mint Leaves
1 handful of fresh mint
2 cups boiling water
Raw honey, to taste
- Wash and tear the fresh mint leaves.
- Put the leaves in a teapot. Pour the boiling water over the leaves.
- Steep for three to seven minutes, depending on the flavor strength you prefer.
- Add honey to taste. Serve.
Store Your Peppermint Correctly so You Can Benefit From It Longer
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Like other tea leaves, peppermint leaves need to be prepared and stored correctly to preserve its beneficial active compounds. If you’re lucky to have a peppermint plant in your garden, you can follow this guide to dry and properly store peppermint leaves:11
- Carefully wash the mint leaves in cold water without removing the stems.
- Using paper towels or other absorbent towels, dry the mint leaves.
- Remove the leaves from the stems once the leaves are dry.
- Place the leaves on a cookie sheet in a single layer. Warm them in the oven at 180 degrees Fahrenheit (80 degrees Celsius) for two hours. Once the timer’s up, check if the leaves are completely dry. If not, continue warming them in 15-minute intervals to avoid accidentally burning them.
- Store dried mint in glass airtight containers. Keep them away from direct sunlight and heat to prolong their shelf life.
Watch Out for These Peppermint Side Effects and Contraindications
While peppermint offers impressive health benefits, there are certain subpopulations who need to avoid this herb to protect themselves from the possible side effects that peppermint may trigger. If you fall under any of the following categories, it’s best that you steer clear of this tea as much as possible:
Pregnant women — Peppermint tea may contain emmenagogue properties,12 meaning they can stimulate menstrual flow even when the cycle is not yet due.13
People who suffer from acid reflux — Those with acid reflux may aggravate their symptoms by drinking peppermint tea due to its muscle relaxant properties. Peppermint may cause the esophageal sphincter to relax, letting bile and undigested food travel back up the esophagus.14
Sip on Peppermint Tea the Next Time You Get a Headache
There’s no question that peppermint tea is popular — the multiple peppermint tea products in the grocery stores can attest to that. But if you’re not fond of sipping tea, the health benefits of peppermint may just change your mind. It may even prove to be one of the best natural remedies for some of your most common daily healthy woes. The next time you get a headache or you start feeling nauseous, don’t reach for those painkillers. Just get a hot cup of peppermint tea.
|This article was brought to you by Dr. Mercola.|
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