It’s seems fitting to close the year with a post about peppermint tea benefits. Although this distinctive herb flourishes in the summer months and it is available year round, many associate peppermint with the holidays. Think of gingerbread houses with peppermint candies adorning them. Or imagine steaming mugs of hot chocolate with a stick of peppermint as a stirrer.
For the more health conscious, avoiding sugar, peppermint leaves make a flavorful hot tea that pairs well with healthy treats. The herb does so much more than contribute flavor, however. It offers healing benefits as well.
Spearmint and peppermint are members of the mentha family. Peppermint has a higher level of menthol than spearmint, which has a sweeter flavor. The plant originated in Asia and the Mediterranean and has been used for thousands of years medicinally and in teas and cooking.
Nutritionally peppermint offers vitamins A, B and C, iron, manganese, calcium, folate, protein and fiber. It also contains small amounts of phosphorus, potassium, zinc and copper.
Mint is extremely easy to grow in gardens and containers. In fact, the plant is considered invasive. I grow peppermint and spearmint in my herb garden, off by itself where I can limit the spread of the plants.
Peppermint Tea Benefits
Add peppermint into the diet for the following health benefits:
• Aids digestion. Improves hydrochloric acid levels in the stomach and soothes intestinal spasms. Peppermint calms and cleanses a spasmodic liver, reducing liver heat brought on by toxins. It also helps the liver rebuild its glucose and glycogen storage reserves. (From Liver Rescue by Anthony William)
• Soothes an upset stomach, easing nausea and indigestion, and calms the entire digestive system. Peppermint is especially beneficial for those experiencing irritable bowel syndrome, a condition that causes abdominal pain, constipation, diarrhea, nausea, bloating and cramps.
• The menthol in peppermint relieves congestion and eases the symptoms of colds and flus.
• Powerful anti-microbial properties freshen the breath and kills off bacteria in the mouth.
• Just inhaling the aroma of peppermint enhances brain function and memory and increases alertness.
• Balances hormone levels in women, easing a condition known as polycystic ovary syndrome.
How to Make Peppermint Tea
Peppermint is available as an essential oil or a tincture. Dried peppermint leaves are available in bulk form for tea or it is easily found packaged in teabags. Use 2 – 3 teaspoons of dried peppermint leaves in a cup of hot water. Cover and steep for 15 minutes. Use teabags in hot water and steep for the same amount of time. Sweeten with raw honey if desired.
My favorite way to enjoy peppermint tea is to pick a few sprigs of the herb from my garden. After lightly rinsing the leaves I add them to very hot water, cover and steep for 15 minutes. Peppermint leaves can be combined with a variety of other fresh herbs for a hot drink that not only blends flavors but boosts health benefits.
Tonight I walked into the herb garden, with a flashlight. The garden sleeps in the cold, crisp air. In late fall I cut back the mint plants however, hope spurred me on this evening as I peered closely at the ground. I found them…tiny peppermint leaves pushing upward out of the rich soil.
Those tiny fresh leaves created one perfect cup of hot peppermint tea. I am savoring it.
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