The Shepherd's Purse

Please Note:  Personal health matters should be discussed with an appropriate health care practitioner. The sole responsibility for the application of the information contained herein remains with the reader and user of this information.

     


Peppermint     Mentha piperata    

See Cautions below in RED

Parts used:   Flowering tops and leaves

Nutrients:  Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B3

Contains:  Menthol, tannins, flavonoids, tocopherols, choline, bitter principle

Actions:    Antispasmodic, digestive tonic, prevents vomiting, relieves gas, relaxes peripheral blood vessels, promotes sweating in fevers and influenza - - - but also cooling internally, promotes bile flow, analgesic

Forms:  Capsules, spirits, tea, topical preparation, essential oil

Capsule:  1-2 capsules (0.2 milliliter per capsule) taken orally three times daily for irritable bowel syndrome.

As spirits (10% oil and 1% leaf extract), 1 milliliter (20 drops) with water

As a tea:  1 to 1.5 grams )1 tablespoon) of leaves in 160 millilters of boiling water.  Drink two or three times daily.

As a topical preparation, apply externally three or four times daily.

Compress:  Soak  a pad in the tea infusion to cool inflamed joints or for rheumatism or neuralgia.

Inhalation:  Put a few fresh leaves in boiling water, and inhale to ease nasal congestion and hardendd mucous.

Essential Oil:   Peppermint oil contains large amounts of menthol.  It is analgesic and calming.  See Cautions below:  It is also cooling, so is good for skin complaints, fevers, or headaches and migraines linked to overheating.  Antibacterial, it can help combat infections.  Used as an inhalant, it clears nasal congestion.
                     For a wash, use 3-4 drops of oil in 10 ml water for skin irritations, itching,                       burns, inflammations, scabies and ringworm, or to repel mosquitos.

                      Inhalation:  2-3 rops of oil in a saucer of water left in the room at night will
                      reduce nasal congeston.

                      Massage Oil. Dilute 4-10 drops peppermint oil in 25 ml almond or
                      sunflower oil for headaches, fever, or menstrual pain, or to relieve milk
                      congestion when breastfeeding.

Important Information

Peppermint contains, in its healing volatile oil, the powerful therapeutic ingredient menthol,

Menthol, the main component in peppermint oil, is an ingredient in several pain relief lotions, anesthetics, and itch relief preparations.  It also comes as a cough suppressant ointment, losenge, and throat spray.

Placing a mixture of peppermint oil, eucalyptus oil and ethanol (ethyl alcohol) on the forehead and temples to reduce headache pain. Drinking peppermint tea offers a soothing option to capsules or tinctures.

Sinusus:  Peppermint has the distinct property which eliminates hardening mucus from alimentary and bronchial tubes.

Treat irritable bowel syndrome. Peppermint's antispasmodic effect can provide significant relief for the abdominal pain, bloating, alternating periods of constipation and diarrhea, and general abdominal discomfort associated with this intestinal condition.

Ease nausea and vomiting. Nausea and motion sickness can subside with the use of peppermint tea or peppermint oil capsules, which both work to moderately anesthetize the stomach's sensitive mucous lining.

Control flatulence and diverticular disorders. Peppermint can be helpful for people who have digestive symptoms such as gas and intestinal cramps from time to time. It can also offer relief for those with such chronic gas-causing conditions as diverticulosis; the tea may prove especially effective in such cases. Among its other attributes, peppermint relaxes digestive spasms.

Improve digestion and reduce heartburn. The menthol in peppermint increases the beneficial flow of all digestive juices, including bile. It also calms digestive spasms.

Dissolve gallstones. A number of studies indicate that peppermint oil may aid in reducing the size of gallstones and thus help some people avoid surgery. Consult your doctor before using peppermint oil for this purpose.

Fight bad breath. Two drops of peppermint oil applied to the tongue can freshen the breath. Drinking peppermint tea may help by killing bacteria and keeping the mouth moist.

Control muscle aches and chronic pain. When massaged into the skin, peppermint oil plays an innocuous trick on the nerves: It stimulates those that produce a cool, soothing sensation and desensitizes those that pick up pain messages.

Clear congestion and cough related to colds and allergies. By reducing inflammation in the nasal passages, peppermint can help to relieve the congestion so commonly associated with colds and seasonal allergies. Drinking peppermint tea--and inhaling the menthol--may also ease breathing. Peppermint oil and menthol appear in numerous commercial cough remedies, topical ointments, nasal decongestants, inhalants and other formulations.

Control mild asthma. Peppermint tea may offer some relief for mild asthma attacks, lessening bronchial constriction and making it easier to breathe. Peppermint oil capsules are sometimes combined with other herbs for asthma relief.

Fight stress. The aroma of peppermint oil when added to bath water may help release tension and dissipate fatigue.

Cautions:  Can interfere with iron absorption

Generally, peppermint in recommended doses causes no side effects, even over long periods of time.

In rare occations enteric-coated peppermint oil capsules may cause heartburn or a skin rash; the latter problem may occur with topically applied pepper- mint oil as well, especially if it's used in combination with heat.

Large amounts of peppermint oil (more than two drops) placed on the tongue can actually cause heartburn and digestive upset, so avoid using more than the recommended amount.

Never ingest pure menthol which can be fatal in a dose as small as 1 teaspoonful (2 grams). Menthol is a major ingredient in peppermint oil.

Don't apply peppermint oil to the chest or nostrils of a child under age five; a choking feeling can result.

Don't use peppermint oil if you have a hiatal hernia. The oil's muscle-relaxing effect will intensify its symptoms.

See your health care practictioner before using peppermint if you have gallstones.

Avoid large doses of peppermint oil if you're pregnant, because it can relax the uterus before it's time to go into labor.

Avoid prolonged use of the essential oil as an inhalant.

Mint can irritate the mucous membranes and should not be given to children for more than a week without a break.  Do not give any form of mint directly to young babies.

Peppermint can reduce milk flow, so take internally with caution if breastfeeding.

Additional Information:

Peppermint contains menthol, as well as menthone, menthyl acetate and some 40 other compounds. The oil is made by steam-distilling the plant's aromatic leaves and stems, which are gathered just before its light-purple flowers appear in the summer.

Peppermint oil acts as a muscle relaxant, particularly in the digestive tract, and it can also reduce the inflammation of nasal passages and relieve muscle pains. It's added to dozens of commercial antacid preparations (and, not surprisingly, can be found in countless toothpastes and breath fresheners for its distinctively minty taste).

Other Healthful Benefits:

Nervine - built up emotional tension   Can be used with Chamomile

Fainting and dizzy spells

Breath Freshner Tea:           Sip throughout the day.  Combine with anise, carawy, and
                                           cinnamon

Peppermint Skin Toner        After shave   cooling menthol    Write for recipe

Ringworm:                           Combine with thyme, tea tree oil, myrrh powder or golden

                                           seal powder

Swelling Breasts:                  Warm poultice of the pulp of the leaves

Indigestion:                           with a pinch of bicarbonate of soda

Menstral Cramps, Joint Pain, Colic

Infant constipation or convulsions


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