Peppermint has a long history of use. It’s thought this natural plant was once used by the ancient Egyptians, the ancient Greeks, and Romans to aid indigestion.1 Today, we use peppermint for a range of different things, from flavouring toothpaste to refreshing herbal teas.
We often enjoy peppermint for its invigorating menthol taste, as well as the cooling effect it leaves in the mouth.2 However, this fantastic herb is thought to have plenty of other health benefits too. If you’re wondering whether it’s worth adding peppermint into your wellness routine, we’ve got everything you need to know below.
Different ways to use peppermint
Before we go into the potential benefits of peppermint, it’s useful to think about all the different ways this herb can be used and prepared. Of course, the easiest way to use peppermint is by including the fresh leaves in your cooking, baking, or beverages.
However, peppermint is also available in a range of other forms. These include:
- Peppermint essential oil
- Peppermint capsules
- Dried peppermint3
- Pre-prepared peppermint tea
Peppermint can be consumed and also used on the skin in tinctures, rubs, and creams. Some people like to inhale peppermint oil vapour as well.4 Of course, peppermint extract is also added to cosmetic products, sweets, chewing gum, toothpaste, and more of our everyday products too.
Benefits of peppermint
There is a wide range of reported benefits to using peppermint. Some have been researched, while others are anecdotal. If you’re worried about your health, it’s best to visit your doctor before trying to treat your symptoms at home. While peppermint might be a beneficial addition to your wellness routine, it may not help in the long run.5
Some peppermint benefits could include:
- Digestive problems6,7
- Headache support9
- Fresh breath10
- Congestion support11
- Improved energy12
- Improved sleep13
- Weight loss14
- Cognitive support15
It’s worth bearing in mind that while there is some research to support the benefits of peppermint, some of this is quite limited. That means that adding peppermint to your wellness routine might have no effect. If you are experiencing severe symptoms or you’re seriously worried about your health, always visit your doctor.
When to avoid peppermint
Peppermint is a natural herb that we often use in cooking, cosmetics, and skincare. With this in mind, it’s generally deemed safe for use. Peppermint tea, in particular, is thought to be safe for us. However, there haven’t been any studies on the potential side-effects associated with long-term use.16
However, it’s worth bearing in mind that peppermint oil can cause some side effects when consumed. These may include:
- Dry mouth
- Abdominal pain
- Allergic reactions
People may experience skin irritation when applying peppermint oil on the skin too.17
Peppermint oil should always be used in line with the manufacturer’s guidelines and mixed with a carrier oil as required.
Last updated: 30 March 2021