The holidays are upon us, and with them, eyes full of glittering lights and stomachs full of delicious meals and sweets shared with loved ones. During this time, it can be helpful to call on our plant allies to aid our digestive system and keep us uplifted. One such herb is delightful, stomach soothing Peppermint.
Around the same time that we begin seeing holiday lights adorning folks' homes, we start to see peppermint-flavored foods and candies everywhere we turn, whether it be peppermint mochas at your local coffee shop, or the bright red-and-white canes hung from evergreen trees. Peppermint—the plant—is native to the Middle East and Europe. Indications of the medicinal use of peppermint oil as a "cure-all" dates back to ancient Egypt, Rome and Greece. Peppermint candy canes, responsible for the tight pairing of Peppermint with the holiday season, likely originated in Germany sometime in the 1600s. A local confectioner was asked to create a special hard candy, shaped like a cane, or shepherd's staff, for the kids to keep busy while they were watching the live Nativity. These "fancy canes" soon became a holiday custom and spread throughout Europe. The red stripes and peppermint flavoring were added around 1900.
In herbal medicine, Peppermint is known for its paradoxical energetics: it is cooling to the taste, but stimulating in action. It's revered for its soothing effect on the digestive system. It can help relieve gas, bloating, stomachaches, indigestion, and diarrhea.
Due to its effects on the circulatory system, Peppermint essential oil can be used topically to soothe muscle spasms and menstrual cramps. In aromatherapy, the essential oil is refreshing and stimulating, and can soothe the respiratory system, ease headaches and nausea, and break through mental fog and fatigue. Peppermint is also a traditional remedy for cold, flu, and fever; for this purpose, it is commonly brewed as a hot tea with Yarrow and Elderflower.
This holiday season, enjoy Peppermint in its many confectionary forms, and as an herbal ally for healthy digestion and keeping your spirits lifted.
Peppermint's uplifting goodness can be found in the following THS Blends: