Is Peppermint Tea an Effective Solution to Stomach Ailments?
Peppermint is a sweet-smelling herb derived from a combination of water mint and spearmint. It's widely used in a number of products like breath fresheners, toothpaste, cosmetics, and food items. People enjoy peppermint tea as a refreshing and flavorful caffeine-free beverage.
However, not many know that peppermint tea has a lot of medicinal uses. Regular consumption of peppermint tea is believed to be extremely beneficial in the treatment of digestive issues, irritable bowel syndrome, and certain skin problems. Essential oil made from peppermint leaves is considered as an effective remedy for headache, cold and nausea relief. Keep reading on to know more about this popular herb.
Benefits and Risks of Peppermint Tea to Your Stomach
The good news for health-conscious individuals is that tea made from fresh or dried leaves of the peppermint plant is practically free of calories and caffeine. Besides, peppermint is proved to be effective at battling some specific digestive problems.
1. Who may benefit from drinking peppermint tea?
The powerful natural compounds found in peppermint leaves are thought to provide relief from many medical ailments, including indigestion, IBS, flatulence, menstrual pains, diarrhea, and nausea.
Digestive problems - If your digestive system is not functioning properly, you could experience a number of medical problems such as gas, bloating, and indigestion. So how exactly does mint settle an upset stomach? According to one study, the various oils present in peppermint leaves stimulate the secretion and flow of bile from the gallbladder to the stomach. Drinking a few cups of peppermint tea can aid in better digestion.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) - Several studies have shown that peppermint is beneficial in the treatment of IBS. Being a rich source of antioxidants and fiber, peppermint inhibits the contraction of the muscles in your gut and soothes the liver. The active compounds present in peppermint are believed to trigger an anti-pain channel known as TRPM8 in the colon. This helps to minimize the pain, reduce the spasms, and involuntary movement usually experienced by people with IBS.
Abdominal pain - You could experience a stomach ache for a number of reasons, for example, vigorous physical activity, IBS, or just before your menstrual cycle. The anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties of peppermint make it an effective remedy to treat abdominal pain. Drinking a few cups of peppermint tea reduces menstrual cramps. The menthol present in peppermint leaves prevents the constriction of the muscles in the uterine walls.
Nausea and vomiting - Nausea and vomiting are two symptoms accompanying a number of medical conditions, including pregnancy and cancer. Research has shown that ingesting peppermint can help to ease nausea experienced during pregnancy. However, it's advisable to seek the advice of your gynecologist before you start taking peppermint in any form. Peppermint tea is seen to lessen the severity and frequency of nausea and vomiting that results from chemotherapy in cancer patients.
2. Who should refrain from drinking peppermint tea?
Though many people use peppermint for stomach problems as a natural and safe remedy, it may not be a good idea for individuals with certain ailments. The essential oils, antioxidants, and minerals found in peppermint leaves relax the muscles of the gastrointestinal tract, including the cardiac sphincter. Hence, there's a possibility of stomach acid going back up the esophagus. People who suffer from heartburn or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) should stay away from peppermint as this could exacerbate the symptoms.
Medicinal Uses of Peppermint Oil
You may be aware that peppermint is consumed in the form of teas, herbs in the food, chewing gums, and topically in the form of peppermint oil. Peppermint oil is obtained from the leaves, stems, flowers, and bark of the plant through the process of steam distillation. You can try using peppermint oil the next time you face these medical problems.
Fever - Applying peppermint oil on the forehead, temples, back of the neck, back, and soles of the feet help to lower the body temperature. You can either use the oil directly or dilute it with a carrier oil such as almond or olive oil.
Nasal congestion - Put 2-3 drops of peppermint oil in a tub of hot water. Keep your face a few inches above the water. Place a warm and moist towel over your head in a way that it covers the tub. Breathe in this steam for a few minutes and you'll experience immediate relief from the sinus blockage.
Blocked airways - Congestion in your chest can cause a lot of pain and distress. Gently massaging a few drops of peppermint oil alone or mixed with almond or olive oil on your chest can open up your respiratory tract.
Nausea and vomiting - Sniffing peppermint oil for 1-2 seconds or diffusing the odor of the oil in your home may help to overcome the feeling of nausea, vomiting, or motion sickness.
Skin problems - Peppermint oil is believed to have antiseptic, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory properties which can improve your skin tone and texture. Regular application can decrease blackheads, chicken pox marks, dermatitis, inflammation, ringworm, and scabies while soothing itchy and sunburnt skin. Combine equal amounts of peppermint oil and lavender oil, tap this mixture on your acne, and you'll see visible results in a few days.
The Bottom Line
Peppermint leaves contain several essential oils such as menthol, menthone, and limonene. Using peppermint leaves in the form of peppermint tea or as peppermint oil may boost your general health and relax your mind alongside the body. Research has shown a positive outcome of using peppermint to treat indigestion, IBS, and other problems. However, most studies aren't conclusive. Always talk to your doctor before you add peppermint to your daily diet.