16 Nov Herb of the Month; Mentha piperita
The November magickal moon herb goes to.. Mentha piperita, better known as Peppermint.
Species: Mentha x piperita
Native to: Middle East & Europe
Peppermint is a age old herb, known for its distinct flavour & aroma. It’s actually a natural cross between the water mint (Mentha aquatica) and the spearmint (Mentha spicata). Rich in essential oils, this potent little plant can calm gut spasms, ease nausea, and soothe inflammation in the mouth, throat, and lungs. The implications of this make peppermint a great choice for colic, bloating, travel sickness, or tummy upset, and it’s very child friendly. Peppermint is loved globally for its medicinal properties, plus it blends well with chocolate! Here’a cute little tale about peppermint.
“The written record of mint dates back to an ancient Greek myth in which the Greek god Pluto was said to have affections for a beautiful nymph named Minthe. His jealous wife Persephone cast a spell on the nymph, transforming her into a plant. When Pluto could not reverse the spell, he gave her a sweet scent that would emanate throughout the garden.”
Peppermint in action:
Carminative: Peppermint is able to relax smooth muscles in the digestive tract through its volatile oils & flavonoids, making it an antispasmodic. By relaxing the oesophageal sphincter, this allows trapped air to be released. So next time your gut is cramping or you’re feeling bloated, you can try some peppermint tea for a soothe-down.
Decongestant: Menthol inhibits mucous production temporarily, so is useful whenever there is excess mucous in the lungs. Combined with its antimicrobial actions, peppermint suddenly makes a lot of sense for lung congestion, phlegm, or infection.
Coolant: Energetically, peppermint is cooling, which can mean calming in over-heated circumstances. This makes it useful for toning down heat in the body, but makes it inappropriate for cold & damp states. Peppermint would be putting out the fire, when fuel is needed! It has a cooling effect on the nervous system, by mediating smooth muscle calcium channels, this may be why it feels cool to the mouth. Peppermint is also interestingly stimulating, a cool refreshing breeze, that can increase mental alertness through a dopaminergic effect of menthol.
Just to name a few…
Other Medicinal Actions: antispasmodic, anti-emetic, aromatic, diaphoretic, nervine, anti-allergic, anti-septic, analgesic, anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory, anti-tussive, peripheral vasodilator, choleretic, cholagogue, emmenagogue, anti-pruritic, stimulant, anti-oxidant
Constituents: volatile oil 2% (menthol 7-18%, menthone 20-46%, methyl acetate 3-10%, menthofuran 1-17%, and 1,8-cinelo 3-6%, jasmone), terpenoids (limonene, pulegone, caryophyllene, pinene), phenolic acids (rosmarinic, chlorogenic, caffeic), flavonoids (hesperidin, rutin, luteolin), tannins, bitter principle, gum, resins, nutrients (carotenes, choline, vitamin E, minerals).
Caution: can be an irritant topically