Unlike a lot of foods and spices that have been used for health reasons, the knowledge of peppermint only goes back a couple of hundred years instead of thousands of years. Since being found, peppermint has been used mainly for seasoning purposes, whether it be for other foods or even everyday household products. You always know peppermint when it’s around because it has a very strong, yet pleasant, smell.
Peppermint has become increasingly popular in the health world, as many new benefits have been found. You normally wouldn’t think of something so small or as rarely used as peppermint to actually have health benefits, but it’s true. Let’s take a look at some of those great health benefits that you can get from this mint that you probably already know can help you clear up your sinuses.
Though it’s unlikely that you are going to eat an entire ounce of peppermint, there is a lot of nutrition to be found. Right off the bat, you are getting a small amount of protein, as well as nine percent of your daily recommendation in dietary fiber. Of all the vitamins in peppermint, vitamin A is the most abundant with nearly a quarter of your recommended intake. Other vitamins include vitamin C (15 percent), folate, riboflavin and more.
There’s also no sugar in natural peppermint, and some great minerals inside with manganese being the most abundant at 16 percent of your recommended value. You can also find significant sources of iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium and copper. You probably don’t think of peppermint having much nutritional value, but it’s pretty impressive just how many vitamins and minerals are in each serving.
All of the helpful vitamins and minerals found in peppermint can help you look better, for starters. Peppermint is very beneficial for your mouth, as it helps make teeth stronger by killing germs in the mouth. This will allow your teeth to look whiter, feel stronger and even kill bad breath. Of course, having minty fresh breath is something that a lot of us want, though you might have thought it was just for toothpaste flavoring before.
Peppermint will also help your skin, hair and nails. Peppermint oil is used in many beauty products to help moisturize, giving you a more glowing texture without looking greasy. Your scalp will get a cooling effect from peppermint, stimulating hair growth and strength while avoiding problems such as dandruff and psoriasis. Finally, for your hair and fingernails, peppermint is frequently used to help get rid of fungal infections. These nasty infections can leave your nails looking unattractive, and you can even prevent infections with peppermint.
One of the more interesting benefits that you probably wouldn’t have guessed comes from peppermint is digestive health. Placing a couple of drops of peppermint oil into your drink helps prevent you from building up too much gas during eating, allowing you to experience less discomfort. Many studies have shown that peppermint oil helps those with irritable bowel syndrome and heartburn.
Interestingly enough, inhaling diffused peppermint oil will help to stimulate your appetite, which can be helpful if you are recovering from an illness. Those that are easily prone to motion sickness can also use peppermint oil to calm their stomach down. Overall, the effects of peppermint on the digestive system have been very surprising, and in a pleasant way.
When you smell peppermint, it immediately gives you a rush that you can feel in your nose, throat, sinus and perhaps even your whole body. Smelling peppermint almost instantly releases histamines, which can help you overcome hay fever. It will also help you decongest if you have been having problems with a stuffy nose, and can soothe your throat to make coughing less frequent.
Those that suffer from asthma, constant headaches or stress will also get a benefit from inhaling peppermint more often. Peppermint will reduce inflammation that is associated with asthma attacks, making breathing much easier. The cooling effects will help alleviate the stress that you’re feeling, and in turn, helps reduce headaches. You might have spotted those that are about to exercise inhale peppermint, as it makes it easier to breath during a workout.
Headaches aren’t the only type of pain that peppermint can help you overcome. Peppermint has been found to help ease muscle pain and even spasms. To get the effect, you just rub essential peppermint oil onto the affected area, mixing it with water. You have probably used BenGay or a similar muscle pain reliever and noticed it has a peppermint type of smell.
That’s because peppermint has a cooling effect that dulls the pain, which helps to reduce swelling and inflammation. Those aches and pains that you get from being sick can be reduced from peppermint, as well. You don’t need to take a bath in pure peppermint oil, as just mixing it in with a regular bath will work wonders.
There are several problems that you can have around the home that can be taken care of by using more peppermint. Peppermint oil can help you sleep better at night by opening up your airways, and also help you concentrate during the day if you need to focus. If you find yourself with any kind of itch on your skin, dabbing some peppermint oil on there can soothe that itch. Perhaps the itch was from a bug bite. You can mix in peppermint with water as a spray for a natural repellant to keep pests away.
Summing it Up
You might have noticed that eating peppermint does bring some benefits, but most of the benefits come from the oil form. While this is true, there is nothing wrong with adding more peppermint to your foods because of the nutrition and benefits that you get for your digestive system and overall health.
It’s handy to have both peppermint oil and leaves around in your home, as you never know when you’ll need them. There aren’t too many side effects when it comes to peppermint, either, which is a bonus. Even women that are pregnant or breast-feeding are safe to use peppermint oil, only a small amount of people are allergic altogether. With that said, you can feel free to use peppermint oil in your everyday life and start seeing the great benefits.