The Health Benefits of Peppermint Leaf


peppermint

Peppermint, or mentha piperita, is an herb with many uses and therapeutic applications. Its sharp menthol odor, refreshing flavor, and cooling sensation have found it a home in many products including bath preparations, mouthwashes, toothpastes, and ointments. Although peppermint oil is frequently cited as the source of peppermint’s benefits, compounds within the leaf have also proven to be beneficial.

Peppermint Leaf and Harmful Organisms

Peppermint is toxic to certain harmful organisms and has demonstrated potent defensive activity when researched. [1] The British Embassy in Reykjavik Iceland discovered that a mixture containing peppermint essential oil was found to be effective for addressing head lice infestation. [2] Research shows that methanol extracts of peppermint are substantially resistant to fungus and are effective at halting fungal spores. [3] Perhaps most interesting was a study by Brazil’s Universidade Federal da Bahi in which peppermint leaf extract was used on a type of larvae typically found in the intestines of goats. Researchers noted that peppermint leaf extract produced a reduction of infective larvae by over 95%. [4]

What are Other Benefits of Peppermint Leaf?

Peppermint tea, brewed from the plant’s leaves, is one of the most widely consumed herbal teas. The leaves have a high flavonoid content and one bag can provide a substantial amount of antioxidants. [5]

Peppermint has traditional folk medicine use as a pain reliever and research has substantiated the assertion. [6]

In animals, peppermint leaves have been observed to protect the liver against certain toxins. [7]

Peppermint may play a role in relieving symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. Furthermore, vecause peppermint has a relaxing effect on smooth muscle tissue (usually cited to provide sore throat relief), it has even been reported effective when administered via enema to patients experiencing colonic spasms during barium enemas. [8]

Some studies even suggest peppermint may have anticarcinogenic effects. [9]

Peppermint and the Liver

Peppermint supports liver function by improving the flow of bile from the liver to the gallbladder. By increasing the amount of bile flow, peppermint leaf positively supports digestion by helping to break down fats and reduce bad cholesterol. Decreased cholesterol levels reduce the work load required from the liver. If your liver is sluggish, peppermint may provide a boost.

Using Peppermint Leaf

Peppermint leaf can be used as a flavoring in beverages or when you’re cooking. Mint leaf is a fantastic and refreshing addition to salads and some culinary styles readily include peppermint leaf in recipes. It’s no wonder, in addition to providing great flavor, peppermint contains vitamin A and C, iron, potassium, and fiber, and it’s a low calorie additive. Although many people enjoy peppermint tea, peppermint leaves can add flavor to drinks or even give purified water a little extra zest. Some people even chew peppermint leaves as a means to naturally freshen their breath. Regardless of where you find use for peppermint in your life, rest assured it’ll be an addition you enjoy.

Does peppermint leaf play an important role in your life? Leave a comment and let us know your thoughts!

- Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, ND, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM

References:

  1. Keskin D, Toroglu S. Studies on antimicrobial activities of solvent extracts of different spices. J Environ Biol. 2011 Mar;32(2):251-6.
  2. Veal L. The potential effectiveness of essential oils as a treatment for headlice, Pediculus humanus capitis. Complement Ther Nurs Midwifery. 1996 Aug;2(4):97-101.
  3. Zaker M, Mosallanejad H. Antifungal activity of some plant extracts on Alternaria alternata, the causal agent of alternaria leaf spot of potato. Pak J Biol Sci. 2010 Nov 1;13(21):1023-9.
  4. De Almeida MA, Domingues LF, Almeida GN, Simas MM, Botura MB, Da Cruz AC, Da Silva AV, Menezes TP, Batatinha MJ. [Effects of aqueous extracts of Mentha piperita L. and Chenopodium ambrosioides L. leaves in infective larvae cultures of gastrointestinal nematodes of goats]. Rev Bras Parasitol Vet. 2007 Jan-Mar;16(1):57-9. Portuguese.
  5. Fecka I, Turek S. Determination of water-soluble polyphenolic compounds in commercial herbal teas from Lamiaceae: peppermint, melissa, and sage. J Agric Food Chem. 2007 Dec 26;55(26):10908-17. Epub 2007 Dec 4.
  6. Taher YA. Antinociceptive activity of Mentha piperita leaf aqueous extract in mice. Libyan J Med. 2012;7. doi: 10.3402/ljm.v7i0.16205. Epub 2012 Mar 27.
  7. Sharma A, Sharma MK, Kumar M. Protective effect of Mentha piperita against arsenic-induced toxicity in liver of Swiss albino mice. Basic Clin Pharmacol Toxicol. 2007 Apr;100(4):249-57.
  8. Kligler B, Chaudhary S. Peppermint oil. Am Fam Physician. 2007 Apr 1;75(7):1027-30. Review.
  9. Jain D, Pathak N, Khan S, Raghuram GV, Bhargava A, Samarth R, Mishra PK. Evaluation of cytotoxicity and anticarcinogenic potential of Mentha leaf extracts. Int J Toxicol. 2011 Mar;30(2):225-36. doi: 10.1177/1091581810390527. Epub 2011 Feb 7.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/MsMollimizz Jacki Hileman

    I use peppermint in a Yucca liniment I make,
    one to aide the Yucca in pain killing and two;
    to help the smell of the liniment.

  • Richard

    In the second paragraph it says Methanol. Isn’t it suppose to be Menthol? Thanks for the article.

  • ghc_health

    The referenced study describes using methanol as a solvent to extract active components from peppermint. Thank you for raising the question though and allowing for the clarification.

  • Natalie

    I bought some mints today from a farmer market; they said it’s Chinese mints. I put some in my spaghetti and it completely destroyed the whole dish because of its strong smell and weird taste. I know it’s not spearmints, but wondering if it’s peppermint.

  • Jeremy

    I get the Xanadu organic peppermint leaf and enjoy a cup every evening sweetened with a generous tbsp of raw local honey. I find that 8 – 10 minutes is generally a good steeping time, although, I did forget one time and it steeped for over an hour…it was quite good. Freshly steeped loose leaf peppermint tea is an indelible part of my evening routine…my wife and eldest daughter also enjoy it as well.

  • Richard Mohorovich

    would be so much easier consume if you had this article in video format! As it’s really late at night..

  • ghc_health

    Good suggestion, Richard. We’ll add that to our production queue.

  • Patrick Collins

    Would you include this as part of an all in one digestive detox mix? I mean is it a worthwhile inclusion? I have had huge success personally with milk thistle , yellow dock and dandelion and was thinking of combining that mix with a parasite cleanse of black walnut hull, clove, wormwood and red clover ….what do you think ? For an all in one digestive detox is something like that practical ?

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