“Get to Know” Peppermint Leaf

Peppermint leaf, fennel, ginger root, and catnip contain volatile oils and other constituents that absorb intestinal gas, calm an upset stomach, inhibit diarrhea as well as constipation, aid digestion, eliminate heartburn, and prevent and remedy childhood colic. The properties are integral to the folk medicine of North and South America, all of Europe and Asia, Africa, Australia, the Pacific Islands-is there anybody left? In tea or capsule form, with cream or milk, in small or large quantities, these herbs have served their intended purpose for centuries.

Peppermint is probably the best-known remedy for stomach problems. Its use can be traced back almost as far as the beginnings of recorded history. It is used for both chronic and acute indigestion, gastritis, and enteritis, acting in two distinct ways to remedy these problems. First, its essential oils enhance digestive activity by stimulating contractile activity in the gallbladder and by encouraging the secretion of bile. Secondly, peppermint leaf oils normalize gastrointestinal activity, removing flaccidity and reducing cramps. Other research has found anti-ulcer, anti-inflammatory, and choleretic principles in this herb.

Of no small importance is the ability of peppermint to inhibit and kill many kinds of microorganisms that, among other things, might create severe digestive problems. A few of these bugs need special mention: Influenza A viruses, the cause of much Asian flu; Herpes simplex, the source of cold sores; Mumps virus; Streptococcus pyogenes, the cause of sore throat; scarlet fever, rheumatic fever, ottitis media, cytitis, cellulitis, etc; Staphlococcus aureus, from which we acquire pneumonia, sinusitis, impetigo, and endocarditis, etc; Pseudomonas acruginosa, which produces a great variety of suppurative and other infections; and Candida albicans, the cause of vaginal yeast infection. Altogether, more than thirty pathogenic microorganisms have yielded to the influence of peppermint.

Reference: The Scientific Validation of Herbal Medicine by Daniel B. Mowrey, Ph. D.

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