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  • Letitia Coker

Herb of the Week

Peppermint - Mentha piperita

Peppermint is a hybrid of watermint and spearmint, where they grew together in the wild.

This little aromatic plant has been used for many years in Herbal Medicine because of its volatile oils which give its distinctive fragrance.

It can be used in cooking to enhance the flavour of food, both sweet and savoury dishes. It can be infused in cool water to give a refreshing drink, but also as a refreshing facial spray on a hot summer's day.

Peppermint infusions can be used to repel insects and household rodents. Mice and rats dislike the aroma of peppermint, it was strewn throughout the home to chase rodents away.

Peppermint has a local paradoxical cooling effect on the skin but energetically it is hot, drying, and stimulating.

Peppermint tea made from fresh leaves aid in digestion calms an upset stomach and reduces crampy colicky pain.

It is known to manage fevers by dilating the peripheral blood vessels causing the body to sweat, which cools a fever.

Peppermint can be used in inhalers or chest rubs to relieve decongestion and a blocked nose from colds and flu

So next time you have an upset stomach, fever, or cold, try some peppermint leaves made into a tea, fresh from your garden


History

Peppermint has been used for thousands of years. Found in the Egyptian, Greek, and Roman civilizations as a medicinal plant, to enhance food, as a plant that was thrown on the floor to keep insects away, to clean homes, and used in baths as a disinfectant.


The Plant habitat

Peppermint is found throughout the world but is indigenous to Europe and Asia.

It likes well-drained rich soil, partial or full sun, and water.

It is a perennial creeping plant that can be propagated using tip cutting or the division of health runners. Seeds can be collected but are small and need light to grow. They should be surface sown





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