Peppermint: Uses, herbal medicine, Synonyms, Effects, and Side Effects

Peppermint: Uses, herbal medicine, Synonyms, Effects, and Side Effects

Peppermint was not initially found in the wild, and the plant is a hybrid of different mint species. Today, peppermint is mainly found in North America and Europe. The drug is obtained exclusively from vegetatively propagated cultures, mainly from the USA, Spain, Bulgaria, Thuringia and Bavaria.

Peppermint: Use in herbal medicine

In herbal medicine, fresh or dried peppermint leaves (Menthae piperitae folium) are used, as well as the essential oil (Menthae piperitae aetheroleum) obtained from the flowering parts above ground by steam distillation.


Characteristics of Peppermint

Peppermint, which is widespread today, is a cross between different types of mint. The typically hairless plant can grow up to 90 cm high. The stems are often reddish to purple, and the pale red to lilac flowers are in elongated terminal inflorescences.

If you rub the decussate leaves between your fingers, they smell like menthol. One type of mint, lemon mint, is widely used as a flavouring in the perfume industry.

leaves as medicine

The drug consists of thin, brittle ovate leaves between 3 and 9 cm long. The leaf veins are pinnate and often tinged with purple. Under the magnifying glass, you can also see the glandular scales as yellow dots.


It smells and tastes like peppermint.

Peppermint exudes a very intense and characteristic menthol scent. The taste of peppermint leaves is spicy and very aromatic. The leaves have a cooling effect on mucous membranes and skin.

 Because of its intense smell and taste, peppermint is a popular plant in the food industry, which uses it to flavour chewing gum or candy, for example.

Peppermint – application

Due to its antispasmodic properties, peppermint leaves are suitable for treating spasmodic symptoms and flatulence in the gastrointestinal tract. In addition, spasms of the gallbladder and bile ducts can also be treated with peppermint.

Traditional uses include aiding digestion and clearing mucus in the upper respiratory tract. 

Uses of peppermint oil

Peppermint oil is used for colds, fever, infections, inflammations of the upper respiratory tract, and inflammation of the mucous membranes in the mouth and throat. For these types of complaints, using the oil as an inhalant is often advisable.

Like the leaves, the oil can also be taken internally for spasmodic complaints in the gastrointestinal area and the bile ducts. Because of the cooling effect of the oil, it can also be applied externally to treat headaches and muscle and nerve pain.


Application in folk medicine

In folk medicine, peppermint leaves are used for nausea and mild nausea. In addition, peppermint is also classically used to treat indigestion, as a stomach remedy, against flatulence and, together with other tea drugs, as a calming agent.

Peppermint in homeopathy

In homoeopathy, peppermint is used, among other things, to treat colds.


Ingredients of peppermint

The most crucial active ingredient in peppermint leaves is menthol, which is contained in a high proportion (35-40%) of the essential oil of the leaves. Other components include flavonoids, glycosides, tannins and triterpenes.

Peppermint: indication

The following cases are suitable for medical treatment with peppermint:

  • Cramps, cramp-like symptoms
  • Digestive problems, flatulence
  • Gallenleiden
  • Cold, fever, runny nose, inflammation of the mucous membranes
  • Inflammation, infection
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches
  • Nerve pain

Peppermint – dosage

Peppermint leaves are available in tea and as an extract in numerous herbal medicines. The tea is also available in filter bags; Peppermint is often a component of tea blends (e.g. stomach tea, nerve tea, liver-bile tea). Peppermint leaves are often added to teas as a flavour enhancer.

External use of peppermint

For external use, peppermint is also contained in cold ointments, inhalants and bath additives. To make your inhalant, add 3-4 drops of peppermint oil to hot water and then inhale the steam.


The right dose

Unless otherwise prescribed, the average daily dose is 3-6 g of peppermint leaves or 5-15 g of the tincture. If you have gastrointestinal problems, 6-12 drops of peppermint oil can be taken daily.

Peppermint tea does not show harmful side effects even when used continuously (but not excessively).

The drug should be stored dry and protected from light.

Make your peppermint tea.

To prepare peppermint tea, pour hot water over 1.5 g of the leaves (1 tablespoon equals 1.5 g) and strain through a tea strainer after 5-10 minutes. After 10 minutes, 20-25% of the essential oil is found in the tea infusion.

One cup of tea prepared this way can be drunk 3-4 times daily.


Contraindications: When not to use peppermint

  • Peppermint leaves should not be taken if the bile ducts are blocked, gallbladder inflammation (cholecystitis) and severe liver damage.
  • If you suffer from gallstones, consult a doctor before taking them.
  • If you have asthma, taking peppermint preparations may worsen the disease.
  • Peppermint oil should neither be applied to the facial region of small children nor taken internally for upper respiratory tract infections, as this can lead to severe spasms of the respiratory tract muscles and even respiratory arrest.

Peppermint – Synonyms

German plant name: peppermint

German synonyms of the plant: Peppermint, natural peppermint, vein mint, mint, precious mint, English mint, tea mint, garden mint, peppermint, cat’s herb, balm, peppermint, tasty

Latin plant name: Mentha piperita

Latin synonyms of the plant: Mentha x piperita L., Mentha aquatica x Mentha spicata, Mentha piperidine

German drug name: Pfefferminzblätter

peppermint oil

German synonyms of the drug: peppermint

Latin drug name: Peppermint leaf

Peppermint ether

Latin synonyms of the drug: Peppermint Leaves

Peppermint Ether Oil, Peppermint Oil

English words: Peppermint, Balm Mint, Brandy Mint, Curled Mint, Mint

Plant family Latin: Lamiaceae

Plant family German: Mint family, labiate family


Peppermint – effect

Animal experiments and clinical studies have shown that peppermint leaves stimulate bile production and have a flatulence-relieving and antispasmodic effect on the smooth muscles of the digestive system.

Effects of peppermint oil

Peppermint oil also has antispasmodic and flatulence-relieving properties and antibacterial effects. The cooling effect of peppermint oil is based on the menthol content, which influences the cold receptors and can even have a pain-relieving effect.


Peppermint: Side Effects

In sporadic cases, taking peppermint supplements can cause mild stomach discomfort.

Interactions with other agents are currently not known.

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