peppermint

Peppermint: a native of Europe, the medicinal variety is a hybrid - a naturally occurring combination of watermint and spearmint...

Common Names: Peppermint

Botanical Name: Mentha piperita

Family: Labiatae

Plant Type: Hardy creeping perennial

Parts Used: Leaves and flowers

Flowering: July to September

Native to Europe and Asia, peppermint is a hybrid perennial that is mostly cultivated, but also grows wild in moist, rich soil environments in temperate parts of Europe and in the eastern United States.

Description: Peppermint is a vigorous, aromatic plant that grows about two feet tall and spreads by runners just under the soil surface. It has highly branched square stems and small, lance-shaped, toothes leaves that are dark green but often tinted with purple. Tiny purple flowers bloom in whorls on terminal spikes in summer.

Cultivation: A perennial hardy to zone 5, mint likes rich, moist, well-drained soil in full sun to partial shade. It spreads aggressively by sending out runners.

Harvesting: Harvest leaves and stems any time. Use fresh or dry.

Culinary Uses: Mint has many different varieties and flavors, from the old stand-by peppermint to the more exotic pineapple and chocolate mints. Peppermint is excellent for flavoring sweets and candies. Spearmint is milder and is better for other cooking purposes, enhancing meat, fish, and vegetables. Use the specialty mints in salads, fruit dishes, teas, and as a garnish.

Peppermint Magick

Purification. Sleep. Love. Healing. Psychic Powers.

Gender: Masculine

Planet: Mercury

Element: Fire

Rub fresh peppermint leaves on your head to relieve headaches.

Use fresh peppermint on your altar to call upon good spirits to aid your magick.

Put some peppermint under your pillow to compel sleep and bring prophetic dreams.

Rub peppermint on furniture, walls, and floorboards to cleanse them of negative energies.

Use peppermint in travel spells and prosperity spells. Rub or place a few leaves in your wallet.

Herbal Healing with Peppermint

Cosmetic Uses: Use an infusion of mint to soothe chapped hands, or as a restorative foot soak. Mint is cleansing and makes a nice addition to facials and baths.

Documented Properties: alterative (mild), analgesic, anesthetic, antibacterial, anticonvulsive, antidepressant, antidiarrhoeic, antigalactagogue, anti-inflammatory, antineuralgic, antiphlogistic, antipruritic, antiseptic, antispasmodic (digestive system), antitoxic (gastrointestinal poisoning), antitussive, antiviral, aperitive, aphrodisiac, astringent, carminative, cephalic, cholagogue, cordial, decongestant, depurative, digestive, emmenagogue, expectorant, febrifuge, hepatic, insect repellent, invigorating, nervine, parasiticide, refreshing, refrigerant, restorative, stimulant (nervous system), stomachic, sudorific, tonic (heart), uplifting, vasoconstrictor, vermifuge

Medicinal Uses: Peppermint leaves are most notable in the treatment of digestive disorders, especially in cases where there has been overindulgence. It is used for irritable bowel syndrome, gastritis, and where there is excess wind and colic. It has diaphoretic properties which encourages sweating, so it can be used in treating colds and flu to cool down a fever. Peppermint can be taken to alleviate morning sickness, motion sickness and nausea. The oil in peppermint has a penetrating quality, helping to get mucus moving even in chronic sinusitis. Use it as an inhalant to treat stuffy noses and congestion.

Body Care with Peppermint

  • To reduce indigestion and flatulence, take 1 or 2 cups peppermint leaf infusion after a meal
  • To boost energy, add 4 cups peppermint leaf infusion to a warm bath and soak for 20 minutes.

Infusion: 1 teaspoon dried or 2 teaspoons fresh peppermint leaves in 1 cup just-boiled water.

Healing Combinations with Peppermint

  • For colds and influenza, use peppermint with yarrow (Achillea), elder (Sambucus) and echinacea (Echinacea)
  • For the treatment of congestion and colds, make an inhalation by combining peppermint essential oil with the oils of eucalyptus, thyme and pine, or use as a poultice.
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INFUSION

Steep the recommended quantity of leaves or flowers of the herb in one cup of just-boiled water for 10 minutes (this makes one dose). Strain before drinking, or leave the herbs as sprigs and simply remove them. Always cover infusions if you intend to store them, and use them within 24 hours. Drink hot or cold.


DECOCTION

Place the relevant quantity of herbs in 800ml cold water (makes three doses) in a pan. Boil, then simmer for 1 hour to reduce the liquid by a third. Strain through a fine sieve into a jug and store, in a cool place, for up to 24 hours. Drink hot or cold.


TINCTURE

Tinctures can be used to prepare roots or leaves. They include alcohol and water to extract the properties from the herbs which would not be available if a water preparation alone was used. It is possible to replace the alcohol with glycerol or vinegar.

A tincture will last for up to two years, which makes it a very convenient method if you intend long-term use of the herbs.


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