Scientific Name: Mentha x piperita
Peppermint is a perennial groundcover that can grow in both partial shade or in full sun.
As mint is an invasive plant, you need to contain it in the bed within a plastic edging to prevent it from spreading, or you can plant it in a large tub.
Peppermint will grow well in a container if it is planted in well composted soil and fed regularly with foliar food and a good organic fertiliser — and it will need regular pruning to prevent the stems from getting straggly and woody.
Peppermint is a very heavy feeder and enjoys the application of a layer of manure once a year, and dressing of organic fertiliser twice a year.
The leaves and flowers are used fresh, or dried. (out of the sun).
The dried leaves keep their flavour well, if stored in an airtight container — preferably a glass jar with a tight fitting lid.
- Add a sprig of mint to peas or carrots (at the end of cooking time).
- It tastes good in puddings — add chopped or whole fresh mint to fruit salads, jellies.
- Serve iced drinks with chopped or whole Peppermint leaves.
- Fresh or dried sprigs make a refreshing tea. Once made remove the herb from the water, and drink, or, cool it off and put it in the fridge and serve it as an iced tea. When diluting pure fruit juice with water, add a sprig of Peppermint and put to chill — it gives a delightful undertaste.
Peppermint has been used medicinally for thousands of years.
These days the essential oil of Peppermint, is used in toothpaste, indigestion tablets, chocolates and confectionaries, as well as cigarettes!
Peppermint has the highest medicinal value of the many mint herbs that we know, with great cooling properties due to its high menthol content. Menthol is the key ingredient in remedies for gastric and digestive disorders, irritable bowel syndrome and nervous complaints such as tension and insomnia.
Peppermint leaf infusions are taken for
- Relaxing the muscles of the digestive tract and to stimulate bile flow — which relieves indigestion, flatulence, heartburn and colic.
- Peppermint reduces nausea and can be helpful for travel sickness.
- Peppermint promotes sweating in fevers and influenza. It is a decongestant for colds, cough and sinus problems.
- Peppermint is sometimes used for head aches and migraines.
- During Exam time — Peppermint helps clear thinking and concentration — to stay alert, keep the mind clear, to retain facts and to calm exam time nerves.
- Use Peppermint tea as a gargle and mouthwash to clear mouth and gum infections.
- Cooled Peppermint tea is an excellent eye wash to removes dust and grit.
- During Menopause — Peppermint tea will relief hot flushes, and help rapid beating heart.
- A cooled Peppermint tea "splash" will tone up circulation and makes a good treatment for tired/ swollen feet.
- A wash with Peppermint tea will take out the sting or itch of insect bites.
- Chew a sprig of Peppermint to sweeten your breath.
- Chewing a Peppermint leaf will also ease flatulence and heartburn.
Hot Compress: these can be applied to reduce pain and swelling in inflamed joints, rheumatism and neuralgia.
I would like to recommend the following method to apply a compress as written by Margie Frayne in her book "Help yourself to health. A guide for home health using healing herbs and good nutrition." 2005:
Method: Dip a cloth or bandage or a pad of cotton wool in the herbal infusion (1 tsp, of dried Peppermint / or 3 tsp. fresh herb infused in 250ml boiling water for 5-15 minutes).Squeeze out until not dripping. Place on the body for a few minutes. Refresh by dipping in the herbal infusion and placing on the body again. Repeat this for about 15 minutes, twice daily.