The Forager's Path - School of Botanical Studies

Plant Profile – Peppermint Leaf

This Profile is for the herbal preparation and is not meant for peppermint essential oil use. 

Botany
Mentha x piperita (Laminaceae)
X  means this plant is a hybrid, a cross between two plants. Although there is some controversy over which two, it is generally accepted that spearmint (Mentha spicata) and water mint (Mentha aquatica) brought about peppermint.

Parts Used:
Leaves

Common Names:

Peppermint

Southwest Habitat:
While not native, it can be found in moist areas – it likes to keep its feet wet. It can be found actually growing in the water of a flowing stream. I have encountered it naturalized between 2,000’ and 7,000’ in the SW. As long as it stays wet, temps above 100F do not bother it.

If cultivation is desired, look for the wettest pace in your garden – under a rain gutter spout or near a leaky outside faucet.

Energy & Tastes:
Spicy, warming, “peppery”

Chemistry:
Menthol

Preferred Method of Preparation:

Cold water infusion is best. For therapeutic strength, add one ounce of dried leaves to one quart of cold or room temp water. Let sit for an hour or two, then drink as needed.

Herbal Actions:
Carminative, diffusive, diaphoretic, diuretic, anti-emetic, anti-spasmodic, aromatic decongestant for sinus and lungs

It can be used as a stimulating nervine. While it lacks the caffeinated kick of coffee, its spiciness and blood moving qualities make it a possible java substitiute for those folks wanting to reduce their intake.

Therapeutic Uses:

Can be added to many other tea blends to improve palatability.

While the tastes of herbs can be foreign (and cause some resistance), the familiarity of peppermint often makes herbal usage easier.

Many types of digestive issues – stagnant food after a big meal, bloating, gas, nausea

Herbal Combos:

Use with elder flowers and yarrow for the fever of influenza
Use with mallow for excess stomach hyperacidity

Safety Issues & Contraindications:

Peppermint infusion is considered a very safe drink.

The Plant Profiles are brief materia medica summaries of plants encountered during plant walks or introduced during class on our longer programs. They are presented here to help students organize plant info on an ongoing basis. Although the Profiles are not meant to be comprehensive, they are offered here to the public in the hope that others find these pages useful.

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