Peppermint: A multipurpose and valuable medicinal plant

By: Nutrition expert- Vidula Kozarekar, Mumbai.

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Peppermint or mint (Mentha piperita L.), a perennial aromatic herb belonging to the Lamiaceae (Labiatae) family, is a natural hybrid between spearmint (Mentha spicata L.) and water mint (Mentha aquatic L.). Although it is a native genus of the Mediterranean regions, it cultivated all over the world for its use in flavor, fragrance, medicinal, and pharmaceutical applications (1), (2), (3).

Peppermint is one of the oldest and most highly regarded herbs for appeasing digestion and may also restore digestive efficiency. In addition, peppermint has been known as disorders improving including: analgesic, ulcer, anti-spasmodic, anti-bloat, irritable bowel syndrome or gastrointestinal motility, and immune system stimulant and etc. (4).

This benefit of medicinal plant is due the presence of phytochemicals active components including vitamins, flavonoids, terpenoids, carotenoids, cumarins, curcumins, lignin, saponin, plant sterol and etc.

Medicinal uses:

  • Anti-spasmodic effect

Peppermint is well known as anti-spasmodic. Although the mechanism the association are not understood; but it’s believed peppermint relaxes gastrointestinal smooth muscle by reducing calcium influx in both large intestine and jejunum (5), (6).

  • Anti-bloat effect

There is evidence showing effectiveness peppermint in decreasing intestine gas. A study showed the pills produced of peppermint decreased intestine gas pressure (7).

  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

Marzio (2007) showed improvements in patients with irritable bowel syndrome were treated with peppermint oil for 4 weeks (6).

  • Immunomodulation

Nickels (1996) mentioned that peppermint oil protect the structural integrity of immune cells due to its strong antioxidant action which protects cell membrane from free radical oxidants, thereby resulted as an improving immune response. According to Mekay and Blumberg (2006), peppermint oil has a significant antimicrobial, antitumor, antiviral, immune-modulating and chemo preventive potential (8), (9).

  • Improves cough, cold and respiratory function

It’s well known that peppermint extraction has anti-cough and nasal decongestant effects which are causes to reduce in surface tension of synthetic surfactant that can reduce pulmonary surface tension. Peppermint essential oil application resulted in destruction of airways discharges. On other hand utilization of peppermint essential oils resulted in decreasing of mucosal hypertrophy, losses of goblet cell and mucosal accumulations in trachea and minimizing the neutrophils infiltration (10).

  • Anti-headache activity

Consumption of peppermint and derivatives is the best target for headache therapy. Gobel et al. showed some benefit from peppermint and eucalyptus oil in combination in relieving patients’ headache pain (11).

Try these wonderful mint recipes: (12), (13), (14), (15), (16)

  • Mint And Turmeric Chutney
  • Pudina Rice
  • Lemongrass-Mint Iced Tea
  • Basil mint pesto
  • Mint-yogurt dip


  5. Pizzorno, J.E., 1999. Textbook of natural medicine. Vol 1: Churchill living stone, 827-830.
  7. Mills, S., Bone, K., 2000. Principles and practice of phytotherapy. Churchill livigstone, 507-514
  8. Nickels, C.H.F., 1996. Antioxidants improve cattle immunity following stress. Anim. Feed. Sci. Technol. 62, 59-68.

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