Keep cool with Peppermint
As the temperatures start to creep up into the 100s and people begin to hibernate in air-conditioned buildings, the question “what to do to keep cool” arises. I was sitting in my garden while pondering this and happened to glance in the direction of my peppermint plant. This suddenly made sense and I thought to share the many uses of peppermint.
Peppermint is wonderful in warm weather as it is refreshing and energizing. As you know, this popular flavor is added to commercial products giving a sensation of coolness and crispness. When you bite into a peppermint patty or chew peppermint gum you can’t help but feel a little more reinvigorated. Peppermint can be added to drinks, salads, entrees, or as a garnish. Even chewing on fresh peppermint leaves can be soothing.
Aside from keeping you cool during the scorching Arizona summer months, it can also be used for a variety of other ailments. Randomized controlled trials have shown the ability of peppermint oil to alleviate gastrointestinal symptoms. It is a tasty way to ease gas, nausea, stomach pain due to irritable bowel, intestinal colic or indigestion.
Topically, peppermint is an analgesic and can be used for cooling and soothing pain, itching, burning and inflammation. It is also an antispasmodic and can temporarily relieve cramping muscles or muscular spasms.
Peppermint can help relieve headaches and is often used in shampoos for the treatment of dandruff. As an essential oil, peppermint has antimicrobial properties that may halt the growth of Helicobacter pylori, Salmonella enteritidis, Escherichia coli O157:H7, and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Pretty amazing stuff!
Peppermint has the phytochemical compound rosmarinic acid, which modulates the inflammatory response by blocking pro-inflammatory chemicals such as leukotrienes. Additionally, rosmarinic acid acts as an antioxidant neutralizing free radicals and helping to reduce asthma symptoms. It does this by promoting the production of prostacyclins, which help to keep airways open.
As you can see, peppermint is a truly remarkable herb with so many beneficial uses. If you are interested in incorporating peppermint into your dietary regimen this summer, try out some of the recipes in the links posted. You will find yourself feeling refreshed!