Peppermint Tea: What It's Used For, Contraindications and Preparation
Peppermint tea is a drink made from the leaves of Mentha spicata, one of the different types of mint. In traditional medicine, it’s a well-known digestive remedy, as its intake is associated with the relief of nausea, indigestion, heartburn, and abdominal swelling. In addition to this, other interesting benefits are attributed to it.
As stated in a review shared in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology, the plant and its extracts have antimicrobial, hepatoprotective, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory potential. In particular, this is associated with its content of phenolic acids, flavonoids and lignans. Want to know more about it?
What is peppermint tea used for?
In traditional medicine, peppermint tea has been used since ancient times as a supplement to promote physical and mental well-being. And, even though it isn’t a first-choice treatment against diseases, its intake is useful when it comes to soothe some symptoms. Let’s have a look at its main uses in detail.
As we have mentioned, one of the main uses of peppermint tea has to do with digestive health. To be more precise, the drink helps to improve digestion and reduce symptoms such as nausea, vomiting and gas.
One of its main compounds, R(-)-carvone, has been linked to these effects. According to a study shared in Fitoterapia, this substance inhibits the muscular contractions of the digestive tract and, as a result, exerts an antispasmodic effect.
However, other research shows that the plant has antiparasitic, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory qualities, which also contribute to the prevention of gastrointestinal disorders.
Another very useful article for you: Peppermint Oil Against Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Source of antioxidants
The consumption of antioxidants plays a relevant role in the prevention of cell damage caused by free radicals. In turn, this is related to the prevention of chronic diseases and premature aging. Did you know that peppermint tea is a source of antioxidants?
As detailed in an article in the journal Molecules, it contains rosmarinic acid, flavones, and flavanones (limonene and menthol). In fact, it’s an excellent source of vitamin C, as each 11-gram serving provides about 2% of the recommended daily intake of this nutrient.
While hormonal disorders should be addressed by a doctor or gynecologist, the consumption of peppermint tea can be a good complement. A study published in Phytotherapy Research associates the intake of this drink with anti-androgenic effects.
In addition, everything points to the fact that it stimulates the release of luteinizing hormones (LH), follicle-stimulating hormones (FSH), and estradiol, necessary for the ovulation process. Similar results were found in another piece of research, which associated the intake of this tea with benefits in patients with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
Substances contained in peppermint tea, such as carnosic acid or rosmarinic acid, are linked to beneficial effects on learning and memory. This is detailed in a study shared in Physiology & Behavior, which also found that these antioxidants protect the brain against oxidative stress.
It’s common to find oral care products containing peppermint. The reason? Not only does it freshen breath, but it has antibacterial properties that promote healthy teeth and gums. However, the tea is often used as a rinse to complement oral cleaning habits.
On the other hand, it’s used to disinfect food, as evidence indicates that it helps fight bacteria that cause food poisoning, such as E. coli and Listeria.
Controlling glucose levels
Peppermint tea is a drink that’s suitable for people with diabetes. Although more studies are needed on its properties, for now the evidence suggests that it helps control high blood sugar levels.
Drinking peppermint tea may induce relaxation during stressful times. In animal research, peppermint extracts exhibited positive effects in reducing anxiety and sleep problems.
Its menthol content is believed to interact with GABA receptors in the brain, reducing nervous activity.
The analgesic properties of peppermint tea are used as an adjuvant to reduce pain caused by arthritis. In this regard, a study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food reported that drinking peppermint twice a day reduced stiffness, physical disability, and pain in patients with knee arthritis.
The (-)-carvone present in peppermint has been linked to lowering high blood pressure. It’s even said to have more ability to reduce blood vessel contractions than the drug verapamil. For now, more evidence is needed.
Contraindications and possible side effects of peppermint tea
Peppermint tea is generally well tolerated by most healthy adults. However, its consumption should be moderate and punctual.
However, there are some cases in which its intake is contraindicated:
- Pregnancy and lactation
- Renal diseases
- Hepatic pathologies
- Children under 5 years old
- Patients with a history of allergy to mint
- People undergoing treatment with liver medications or sedative drugs
How to prepare peppermint tea?
The preparation of this tea is quite simple. It can be made with prepared bags, or with the loose leaves.
In general, it’s fine to consume 2 or 3 cups a day.
- 500 milliliters of water
- 30 grams (1.2 oz) of peppermint leaves
- To begin, bring the water to a boil. Once it comes to a boil, remove from the heat and add the peppermint leaves.
- Cover the drink and let it steep for about 10 minutes.
- Then strain it through a strainer and consume it.
Discover more here: A Milk and Mint Remedy to Fight Intestinal Parasites
What should you remember about peppermint tea?
Tea prepared with peppermint leaves can be used to supplement food. It’s a low-calorie drink that promotes digestion and relief of certain ailments.
However, it shouldn’t be a first choice when treating illnesses. In case of any health problems, you should first consult with your doctor.It might interest you...