Peppermint leaf is an aromatic herb commonly used in cuisine, medical products, drinks, topical creams, and essential oils. Once diluted, applying peppermint oil has been shown to soothe skin irritation due to its anti-inflammatory properties. You can drink peppermint tea, purchase peppermint oil solution, eat the leaves raw, or add it to dishes as a sweetener, saving you from excessive calories or sugar.
Like other superfoods, the herb is filled with nutrients purported to offer several health benefits. This article breaks down some of those nutrients and how they may support your health goals.
What Is Peppermint Leaf?
Peppermint leaf, also known as Mentha piperita L., belongs to the mint family and is native to Asia and Europe. This leaf has been widely used for its medicinal properties for thousands of years. Now, it is grown and put to use by many different cultures across the globe.
The aromatic herb derives from watermint and spearmint and has a distinct minty and sweet taste. The peppermint plant has dark green leaves that grow from its stalky stem, and the leaves are commonly dried or turned into concentrated oil. People commonly make peppermint tea as a natural remedy that can support one's health and wellness.
What Are the Possible Benefits of Peppermint Leaf?
Peppermint has several potential health benefits and is a great sweetener or additive to drinks and dishes. Some modern studies have supported peppermint's medicinal effects, but it is still in its early stages and requires further research. However, many people have reported positive results. Let's examine how peppermint leaves may support your health goals.
1. Supports Balanced Energy Levels
Components found in peppermint leaves may help balance energy levels and assist with fatigue. Although the research is still in its early stages, one human study found that after exposure to peppermint essential oils, participants claimed it helped them feel more alert and aided mental fatigue.
Specifically, the double-blind, placebo-controlled study found that peppermint oil with high levels of menthol/menthon, "...beneficially modulated performance on demanding cognitive tasks and attenuated the increase in mental fatigue associated with extended cognitive task performance in healthy adults."
However, further research is necessary to make a concrete connection as to whether peppermint leaf or essential oil extract may work as a suitable alternative to caffeine.
2. Can Support Weight Management
Many people use peppermint leaves as a natural sweetener because of the low calories and lack of sugar. Peppermint also has a unique sweet and minty taste, which makes it a great addition to teas, smoothies, or meals. For this reason, peppermint can offer a solution for those craving something sweet besides sugar.
One study found that peppermint oil may assist with intragastric pressure (IGP) or stomach pressure, which can aid in managing body composition. It's best to consult with a registered dietitian or health care provider to discuss weight loss programs and how peppermint leaves may help support healthy weight goals.
Although maintaining a healthy body weight typically starts with dieting and exercising, consider adding a superfood like peppermint to help support healthy metabolism.
3. May Help with Seasonal Allergies
Seasonal allergies affect millions of people. Peppermint may assist with runny or stuffy noses and itchy eyes. One animal study found that peppermint extract may be clinically effective in alleviating hay fever. Additional human testing is needed to solidify this theory, but there's plausible evidence that suggests peppermint may help with allergies.
Additionally, peppermint contains rosmarinic acid, a component found in rosemary and other types of mint that has been found to assist with seasonal allergies. Although this doesn't prove peppermint leaves will do the same, rosmarinic acid (found in peppermint) may help.
4. Can Assist with Migraines or Headaches
People who experience migraines or tension headaches for various reasons often use medication like acetaminophen for the pain. Peppermint oil extracts may offer a more natural approach to help with pain associated with tension-type headaches.
In a controlled human study, researchers found "no significant difference between the efficacy of 1,000 mg of acetaminophen and 10% peppermint oil in ethanol solution." In other words, peppermint oil may be a potential alternative to assist with some types of headaches or migraines, but more research is needed to determine whether the findings are conclusive.
5. Might Help With Menstrual Cramps
Components found in peppermint may help with the intensity of menstrual cramps. According to a human study, because of its anti-inflammatory and muscle-relaxing properties, peppermint may help soothe painful cramps.
The study concluded that while menstrual bleeding "did not significantly change, pain and its severity and all the clinical signs and symptoms decreased after taking peppermint extract."
Moreover, peppermint usually has little to no side effects and may work as a natural option to assist with menstrual cramps. Although the study used peppermint extract, alternatives like peppermint tea or leaves may provide similar effects.
6. Antibacterial Properties
Several studies have supported peppermint's antibacterial and antifungal properties. It's possible that peppermint may work as a natural antibacterial agent, but this has only been studied using peppermint oil.
Additionally, peppermint oil may support the body’s natural defenses, making it a potential antibacterial additive for certain drinks.
The primary compound in peppermint, menthol, has several medicinal properties that may contribute to peppermint's antibacterial effects and help maintain healthy body function.
7. Promotes Digestive Balance
Many people experience digestive issues or stomach pains, and peppermint may help. More comprehensive research is needed to prove peppermint's full effects, but some studies reported that peppermint oil might help relieve stomach pains in children.
According to this study, peppermint oil was found to help with "decreasing duration, frequency, and severity of pain in children suffering from undifferentiated functional abdominal pain." While the study used nearly 2,000 participants, researchers are still advocating for further testing.
Moreover, in another study that evaluated over 700 patients, researchers found that peppermint oil affected digestion positively and assisted with abdominal pain. While most patients in this study reported positive results, some did experience heartburn, which was the most common side effect.
8. Can Help to Freshen Bad Breath
It's no secret that mint can freshen bad breath. Peppermint is commonly found in toothpaste, mouthwash, gum, and breath mints. Peppermint may also help with oral pathogens and germs because of its antibacterial properties.
Peppermint can help support oral hygiene by assisting with bacteria and germs, which can affect one's breath. While studies previously done focus on peppermint essential oils or extracts, leaves or peppermint tea may have similar effects on bad breath.
9. Can Support Healthy Skin
Components found in peppermint may help protect the skin from certain harmful chemicals. Peppermint can have soothing and relieving properties in essential oil form. It's possible it can assist the skin by working as a topical ointment in small concentrations. If applied in high amounts, it may be harmful to the skin depending on one's sensitivity to topical products and any allergies they may have.
For the most part, elements found in peppermint leaves containing antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals may help with redness and inflammation, soothe irritation, and support healthier skin.
10. Can Support Focus and Concentration
In addition to potentially balancing energy levels, peppermint may help support focus and concentration. Although more extensive research is needed, one study claims that peppermint’s aroma may have positive psychological effects and support cognitive function.
The research suggests peppermint essential oil can "...produce significant and idiosyncratic effects on both subjective and objective assessments of aspects of human behavior." Participants in the study claimed that the scent of peppermint helped support and maintain their concentration levels throughout the day.
Because of peppermint's invigorating abilities, it may help push off mid-day fatigue and get us through the day.
11. May Help with Nausea and Vomiting
As an essential oil, the aroma of peppermint has been studied and shown that it may help with nausea and vomiting for individuals participating in this test. They discovered that when combined with controlled breathing, peppermint aromatherapy may assist with nausea. While more testing is needed, some believe the smell of peppermint can relieve the body’s urge to vomit.
On the other hand, peppermint may also cause nausea as a side effect, depending on the person. Peppermint can react with stomach acid and cause abdominal pains or nausea if consumed on an empty stomach or if there are preexisting intolerances or allergies. It is best to speak with a doctor or nutritionist to understand your personal health needs before trying peppermint.
12. Aids in Immune System Health
Many people use aromatic herbs like peppermint leaves for their medicinal properties to assist with colds and infections. Peppermint has several antibacterial and antifungal properties, which can support the body’s natural defenses.
Additionally, further research shows that peppermint may assist with respiratory disruption, congestion, and nasal inflammation.
Menthol, a major component found in peppermint, can act as a decongestant, which can help open nasal airways, thin mucus, and break up any phlegm disrupting your respiratory function.
Warm vapors from teas containing peppermint may assist with soothing sore throats and dry coughs. The next time you are feeling under the weather, try peppermint if you are looking for a natural alternative to help promote a more balanced immune response.
13. Can Help Stress and Anxiety
Everyone experiences some stress and anxiety. Peppermint may provide a calming effect due to its natural properties. For example, its pleasant aroma has been found to help feelings of mental fatigue. Research suggests the scent of peppermint can impact the brain’s theta waves that govern subconscious fears and memory, which can help support your mood and relaxation.
Similar to aromatherapy, peppermint may help you experience a natural feeling of relief and tranquility. To access the potential benefits, enjoy a cup of peppermint tea, diffuse peppermint essential oil in your living space, or apply diluted peppermint oil to your temples and wrists. You can also try combining peppermint with other soothing scents, like lavender or chamomile, to create a more relaxing and stress-relieving environment.
14. May Assist with Pain
Menthol, one of the primary components found in peppermint, has analgesic properties that may help with pain, including muscle, joint, and nerve discomfort. Peppermint has been shown to possibly assist with pain and support oxygen supply to the brains of young athletes.
While more research is needed, the early studies of peppermint’s effects on pain are encouraging. To use peppermint for pain, try making a cup of tea or massaging oil on the affected areas.
15. Antioxidant Properties
Antioxidants are crucial components that can offer your body assistance from oxidative stress and free radical cell damage. Compounds found in peppermint, like rosmarinic acid and flavonoids, are rich in antioxidants that can contribute to healthier body functions.
The versatility of peppermint makes it an easy and delicious way to support your body’s natural defenses. Additionally, combining peppermint with other antioxidant-rich foods, like dandelion or ginger, may further assist its nutritional elements. By including ample antioxidants in your diet, you can assist your body with toxins and support your overall health.
16. Support Hair Growth
Over time, our bodies naturally slow hair production, but peppermint may have the elements needed to help with hair growth. Studies have shown that peppermint oil can stimulate circullation to the scalp and increase follicle depth, which are essential for hair growth.
Peppermint oil has also been found to have antifungal and antibacterial properties, making it a helpful ingredient for addressing certain scalp issues. While it can’t magically make hair grow, studies have shown that peppermint oil can act as a “practical agent for hair growth.”
Whether used as an ingredient in your shampoo or applied as a topical treatment, peppermint’s nourishing effects make it a natural alternative to support healthy hair.
How to Add Peppermint to Your Diet
One of the greatest potential benefits of peppermint is that it's easy to use and versatile. Whether you prefer fresh leaves or essential oil, you can incorporate peppermint into numerous recipes for flavor and added nutrients.
Simply add fresh peppermint leaves to salads, smoothies, or desserts, or use a few drops of essential oil to elevate your favorite dishes or add a pleasant aroma to your living space. You can also create a peppermint-infused beverage, such as water or lemonade, to stay hydrated and refreshed while supporting your health with this powerful herb.
Consider Trying Live it Up Super Greens
One easy way to add peppermint to your diet is with a supplement like Live it Up Super Greens. Super Greens contains peppermint and over 20 superfoods with essential nutrients. Just add a scoop to water, juice, or your favorite milk to unlock peppermint's nutrition and possible health benefits.
At Live it Up, we believe in making healthy living a more straightforward reality. We offer an everyday greens powder that contains superfoods, vitamins, minerals, probiotics, enzymes, and more to help support your health and nutritional intake. All ingredients are naturally sourced, and we make our products in the USA. We back our products with a 30-day money-back guarantee and strive to deliver the best experience for our customers.
Even if you dislike the taste of vegetables, our greens powder has a minty taste to help mask the bitterness. Combined with a healthy diet and exercise, Super Greens may help you with several health goals, such as weight management, maintaining immune resilience, aiding digestion, and balancing energy levels. Your body deserves to function at its best, and we want to help make accessing nutrition as easy as possible.
Frequently Asked Questions on Peppermint Leaf
What does peppermint leaf do?
Peppermint has several potential health benefits and is a great sweetener or additive to drinks and dishes because of its minty flavor. Peppermint has antibacterial properties and may aid in maintaining the body’s natural defenses. Some also use it for its soothing abilities.
What is peppermint leaf used for?
People use peppermint leaves as herbal medicines to help with specific ailments or add them to consumables for their minty flavor. Moreover, some people use peppermint for its concentration and energy effects.
Is peppermint leaf good for you?
For most people, peppermint leaves may potentially provide several nutritional and health benefits. They're generally considered safe to consume by the FDA, contain vital nutrients, and don't have excessive calories or sugar.
Some people may experience side effects after consuming peppermint, so it's not suitable for everyone. For example, giving peppermint oil to infants or small children may affect their breathing, so it's best to consult your doctor to ensure it's used properly and safely.
What are the side effects of peppermint leaf?
Most people can safely consume peppermint leaf extract or fresh peppermint. However, some people may experience side effects with peppermint. If you have any allergies, are taking prescription medication, or are curious about adding this superfood into your daily regime, be sure to speak with your doctor or a qualified specialist before consuming peppermint.
How much peppermint leaf should you take per day?
The recommended peppermint leaf dosage will vary from person to person. Most people take up to 1,200 mg of peppermint oil capsules per day. However, peppermint leaf dosage research is limited, so it's best to consult a doctor or registered dietitian to determine the proper intake.