Peppermint (Mentha x piperita)
The peppermint, a labiophyte, is a bastard of the spearmint, which arose abruptly in England in the 17th century. Peppermint, which is very popular today as a medicinal and spice plant due to its high menthol content, does not originally occur in the wild. In contrast, other mints and their uses are described in the literature of antiquity and the Middle Ages.
Today, the fresh aromatic herb grows in many gardens in our country and is cultivated on a large scale in fields due to its popularity and wide medicinal use.
The peppermint herb contains up to 4 % essential oils, including a high proportion of menthol, plus cineol and limonene. Flavonoids and tannins are also found in the medicinal plant.
The ingredients have a digestive, appetising, antispasmodic, choleretic, germicidal, anti-inflammatory, locally analgesic and generally invigorating effect.
Internally, the medicinal herbs and their essential oil are mainly used for diseases of the gastrointestinal tract, nausea and colds. Externally, peppermint is used for muscle, joint and nerve pain, local itching (e.g. mosquito bites) and headaches. Clinical studies have shown that applying peppermint oil to the forehead and temples is as effective against tension headaches as two tablets of paracetamol due to the cold stimulus.
Peppermint preparations are also very popular for colds as inhalations to widen the airways and make it easier to cough up.