PeppermintMentha x piperita
As one of the most commonly known herbs, peppermint is like a breath of fresh air with its refreshing aroma and soothing health benefit in aiding digestion.*
Pep up digestive fire with peppermint.*
What are the Benefits of Peppermint?
Peppermint (Mentha x piperita) is a cooling and uplifting herb, with an unmistakably invigorating aroma that can be credited to its high essential oil content. In fact, one of peppermint’s active compounds is menthol, the source of its telltale frosty tingle. Menthol is classified by herbalists as a carminative, a volatile compound that helps to slow smooth muscle contractions. As we ingest menthol, the muscles of the digestive tract relax, quelling nausea, relieving bloating and easing occasional indigestion.* With its pleasant flavor and knack for supporting the digestive tract, it is an excellent choice for everyday enjoyment.* It's no wonder peppermint has found its way into after-meal treats, in the form of peppermint candy and digestif liqueurs worldwide.
Folklore & Historical Use of Peppermint
Dried mint leaves have been found in ancient Egyptian pyramids, and mint was so greatly valued in Biblical times that it is referenced in the New Testament as a payment for taxes. In Greek mythology, the water nymph Minthe was turned into a mint plant after a tryst with the god Pluto (an explanation for many mint varietals’ preference for moist soils).
In the first century AD, the Roman naturalist Pliny noted that the Greeks and Romans used mint to flavor sauces and wine, and it is referenced in a west Nordic pharmacopoeia fragment of the 13th century. But it wasn’t until the 1700s that the peppermint we know today began to be commercially cultivated as a medicinal plant. It quickly spread from England to Western Europe and around the world, noted for its fresh flavor and its ability to calm cranky digestive systems.*
Today, it’s a common sight throughout grocery store shelves from the produce section to the dental hygiene aisle. As herbalists, we love it as an invigorating herbal tea or in an herbal alcohol-based tincture to support bellies.
Botanical Description & Habitat
A hybrid of spearmint (Mentha spicata) and watermint (Mentha aquatica), peppermint grows well in moist well-drained soil and can be identified by its square-shaped stems, dark green toothed leaves, and pinkish flowers. It loves to spread its roots and can quickly take over garden space, making it challenging to keep contained. While it does spread voraciously, peppermint needs a little help in the reproduction department. Peppermint flowers are mostly sterile, so new plants are typically created through cuttings or division.
When To Use Peppermint
With meals or to relieve cranky indigestion and cramping.
The Business of Sustainable Plants
Our business is rooted in plants, and for us, it’s a business imperative that we care for the ecosystems where these plants live and thrive. We believe that everything is interconnected, which means supporting ecosystems and the farmers and collectors who harvest and gather our herbs. Finding opportunities to reduce or eliminate emissions at the source, we support organic and regenerative farming practices as well as voluntary certifications like Organic and FairWild. These ensure the absence of pesticides, herbicides, as well as the ongoing sustainability of wild collection, and the health and livelihoods of the collectors who forage. Josef Brinckmann, Traditional Medicinals’ Research Fellow, Medicinal Plants and Botanical Supply, asserts, “Everyone has a role to play in preserving biological diversity. One way of doing that is by equitably supporting the local people to serve as stewards of the land.”
It Starts with Organic
We choose to source organic because we believe in the positive impacts it has on environmental sustainability, biodiversity, and overall ecosystem health. Organic helps us increase transparency while prioritizing consumer well-being and farmer success, which is key to producing the high-quality herbs we source. In 2021, we procured 2.73 million pounds of certified organic herbs, over 99.7% of our total botanical herbs purchased. Volumes were down slightly from FY20 due to timing of inventories received.
The impact from organic farming creates a vital ecosystem through improved soil health, water quality, pollinator habitats, and biodiversity. Organic farms also have increased carbon sequestration potential through long-term carbon storage in the soil, helping to mitigate climate change.
One of the benefits of organic that we most value is farmer health. We care deeply about the people who produce our herbs, ensuring that they are not exposed to synthetic chemicals found in conventional agriculture.
We believe that everyone deserves a fair wage for hard work. That’s one of the reasons why we’re committed to fair trade. Traditional Medicinals® is a registered Fair Trade “brand holder”, “licensee” and “manufacturer,” and our products are certified by Fair Trade USA, an independent third-party certifier. We were an early adopter of Fair Trade, having launched our first fair trade tea product in 1998, just one year after Fairtrade International (FLO) was established. We continue to work closely with our network of producers to help them to implement fair trade standards and get certified.
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Consult your healthcare practitioner before use if you have gallstones, hiatal hernia or acid reflux, or if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
The information and other content in this article are designed to provide a general overview of the botany, cultural history, and traditional uses of this herb. It is not intended and should not be construed as health advice. Every person is unique and you should consult with your health care provider before using any herbal product or supplement.