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Saturday, December 8, 2012

Peppermint: An Essential Herb



If there is one herb that gains world wide attention at this time of the year it would have to be the ever refreshing herb peppermint.  Its name alone is plastered on tons of products from candy canes to Peppermint Lattes.  But most of us don't envision the nice green plant on your screen but rather a red and white candy stick.  No problem.  Peppermint is only too happy to share it's intensely rich menthol oil in candies, breath mints and ice cream.  But don't relegate this valuable herb to the dessert table only; it's health benefits are numerous and make this a valuable plant for the garden.


Let's go over some ways that peppermint is great for you.  "Peppermint oil comprises vitamins A and C, omega-3 fatty acids, and minerals including potassium, manganese, iron, magnesium, calcium, and copper. The numerous health benefits of peppermint oil include its ability to treat several health problems. "(source)
What this translates to is that peppermint is said to cure indigestion as well as a few other conditions.  For indigestion, a good old cup of peppermint tea after dinner will help with this.  If you don't have tea, then a few drops of oil in some water will do this too.  Peppermint is also able to dispel gas, help with stomach spasms and great overall for general stomach upsets.  It's also being studied for its effects on Irritable Bowel Syndrome.  Hmmm, wonder if this is why most stomach aids have a peppermint flavor?


Peppermint also helps the respiratory system.  It acts as an expectorant to help clear the respiratory tract.  It can also help with sinusitis, asthma and bronchitis.  A good strong cup of English Breakfast tea with peppermint leaves would be a huge help with opening up the lung passages for easier breathing.  In our family, my husband Todd would use this to help with any congestion he may have due to colds or asthma.  The caffeine in the black tea (or coffee) is a bronchodilator.
Just the aroma of a hot cup of peppermint tea can help relieve stress, headaches and help with colds.  That's one amazing cup of tea!  So how do you grow this worthy garden plant? 
Well, mints are generally unfussy plants to grow.  They can handle part shade and mine actually prefer to be in filtered sun or sheltered during late afternoon heat.  I also find that they like the ground fairly moist.  Mint does spread so I have my drinking peppermints in pots.  Peppermint is not nearly as invasive as some of the other mint varieties, but it's hard to remove once it's established.  Besides my potted mints, I have peppermint in the garden that I've been growing for over a decade.  I don't use it for anything except for the bees.  They love mint and I don't let my potted mint flower.  If it does, it tends to send forth seed that is mixed with other mints and it loses it's pure flavor. To keep the flavor pure, trim off any flowers so the plants can't set seed.  They will continue to propagate underground via their root system.  I've been growing an intensely flavored peppermint as well as chocolate mint and they have held onto their delicious oils using this method.

Dried peppermint leaves

Mints can also handle being indoors on a window sill.  As long as they have some sunlight, you'll be able to get some delicious fresh leaves to use as tea or to add to some desserts.  You can always transplant them in the spring (after frost) outside.  
Thinking about buying a plant next year?  First see if you have a friend who may grow it.  I didn't buy either of my plants.  I got one from my sister-in-law who lives four hours away.  Once I smelled the plant, I knew I wanted one too.  So, I cut some branches and wrapped them in damp paper towel and put them in a baggie.  When we got home, I put the cuttings in some water until they rooted and then planted them.  You can see the results in the first three peppermint pictures above.  The chocolate mint came from a friend's herb garden from their tea house.  Lovely...

Vanilla Mint Medley Blend

Since it's the holiday season, here's a delicious tea blend that everyone will enjoyIt's so simple and if you package up some and put it in a vintage tin; it'll be a great stocking stuffer.
I made a blend of Vanilla Black Tea, Pure Peppermint, and Chocolate Mint.  Simply use 2 parts of black tea to 1 part of mint. (1 part means 1 tsp or 1 cup. It's only a ratio to measure your tea with...one teaspoon of peppermint to 2 tsp of vanilla tea.) This way the mint won't be too overpowering for the tea.  Not only is the peppermint good for your body, the black tea has its own health benefits as well.  After all, I drink tea not only as medicine, but because it tastes so good.  This tastes pretty close to a peppermint patty in a cup, so  you, your friends and family will love it!


Well, sit back and enjoy a cup of peppermint tea or the Vanilla Mint Medley.  It not only tastes wonderful, it's great for you too.

If you don't have your own peppermint, you can find it at Mountain Rose Herbs. Or you can buy a high quality peppermint oil and put a few drops in any tea or water to get the same healing properties.
 

Information gathered from these sources: 5 Health Benefits of Peppermint 

Want to know more about bulk tea?  Check out these posts...Bulk Loose Tea: Three Reasons Why to Buy and Reviewing My Favorite Tea Steepers

What do you use peppermint for?  Blessings!! 

Linked to these amazing blog parties! Clever Chicks Blog Hop
                                                                              

16 comments:

  1. Nancy, thank you for your visit. I grow chocolate peppermint also, I didn't know that it had all those great features though, thank you. I'm really enjoying your blog, you have a wonderful week:)

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    1. Thanks so much! You have a great week too and enjoy that chocolate peppermint!:)

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  2. Very interesting! My earliest memory of peppermint was visiting my grandma and she proudly showed me her peppermint and had me take a taste :) I was so amazed! I didn't know it had so many health benefits, especially with digestion. That is good to know. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. That's really neat your grandma showed you her peppermint plants. I love how the generations pass on such valuable information to one another in a fun way too. Our boys pretty much know the most common herbs in the garden. I used to send them out to get some for cooking. Hoping this will stay with them when they have families! Glad you enjoyed the post, peppermint is pretty awesome stuff...blessings!

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  3. I love peppermint tea! Hubby and I have it pretty much every night after dinner :) As you said, it's relaxing, but also good for digesting dinner ;) I like your blend, it looks lovely.

    Thanks so much for sharing this on today's Waste Not Want Not Wednesday!

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    1. It is a great tasting tea and having it after dinner is perfect! Thanks for hosting the blog hop!

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  4. Nancy I love peppermint and although it does its best to invade my garden every year, it's one herb I just can't do without. We love to drink it in tea and we also add it to yogurt when eating an Indian curry! Rebecca x

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    1. The curry sounds delicious! I agree...it's invasive, but welcomed! Thanks for reading. :)

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  5. What an interesting and tasty post. I just shared on my Facebook page and will share on my blog hop tomorrow. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Thanks so much Gretchen. I appreciate you sharing it and I'm glad you enjoyed it. I had a pot of the vanilla and peppermint tea today actually as I am fighting a bit of a cold! Thanks much!

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  6. I am a huge mint fan! I know you've been by before, but please come share this recipe at my Farm Girl Blog Fest: http://fresh-eggs-daily.blogspot.com/2012/12/farm-girl-blog-fest-13.html

    Happy Holidays!
    Lisa
    Fresh Eggs Daily

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    1. I'll be sure to visit! Thanks for the invite... :)

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  7. You have captured my interest in growing mint again. I planted some spearmint several years ago. We have since moved (a few times) but remember how much I loved it. Peppermint would be a better option as hubby dislikes the smell of spearmint- it gives him a headache. My oldest son is a huge hot tea fan and I am positive he would love the tea recipe. I guess I had better start thinking about planting some in the spring! Do you know, is it hard to start from seed?

    I am co-host of a blog hop each week called Healthy Tuesdays Blog Hop. Posts such as this would be a great addition. We would love to have you join. Here is this week's link so you can check it out: http://www.countrylivingonahill.com/2013/01/healthy-tuesday-blog-hop.html

    Hope to see you soon!
    Kerry from Country Living On A Hill

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    1. Hi Kerry, thanks for the invite...will definitely check it out! All mints are much better to start from a plant. They are tremendously easy to start this way. You can purchase one or find one one from a friend...hope it works out for you, you would love it!

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  8. I'm going to pin this! Thanks for sharing at A Humble Bumble. :)

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    1. Thanks! Thanks for visiting too... :)

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