Looking for a natural way to soothe some common ailments? Consider peppermint. The dried leaves of the peppermint plant offer more than a pleasing aroma and flavor, they have medicinal applications as well. Peppermint can be used:
- As a chest rub to ease breathing with the common cold
- For relief of indigestion and nausea
- As a treatment for gastrointestinal ailments such as irritable bowel syndrome and diverticular disease
Be aware that peppermint tea can worsen the heartburn experienced with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and may also promote flow of bile from the gall bladder and complicate gallstones - consult your doctor if you have these conditions. Also, don’t give peppermint tea to babies or young children: the menthol it contains can cause a choking sensation in youngsters of this age.
When choosing peppermint, look for oil containing at least 44% free menthol or teas with 100% pure peppermint leaves. You can buy pure peppermint leaf tea in most supermarkets. Brew it in a covered container to avoid loss of volatile components, and drink as much of it as you like, hot or iced.