Herb Spotlight: Peppermint

Ready for a great tasting, easy to grow herb for your garden?

Peppermint is part of a huge family of herbs. It is actually a hybrid between two other types of mint, water mint and spearmint. Like all mints, Peppermint grows well in most locations. It prefers moist soil and will spread easily. In fact, the trick is to keep it from spreading everywhere! All mints have the square stems with opposite leaves. Peppermint has a purple stem. Out of the mint family, Peppermint is considered the herb with the most health benefits. It’s cooling, calming, and aromatic. Peppermint leaves make a great tea. You can find it in my Lavender Mint Dream tisane.

This herb is most used for cramping and upset in the digestive tract along with menstrual cramps, headaches, congestion, insomnia, nausea, and colds and flu. The menthol present in the herb is often extracted and used in a variety of products. It is this constituent that helps to soothe the smooth muscles of the digestive tract and uterus.

Mint has had a varied and useful past which is really fascinating to me. Early references to mint encapsulated all the varieties as there were no differentiation.  In ancient Palestine mint was an acceptable form of tax payment. In Greek mythology Pluto fell in love with a nymph named Minthe and Persephone in a fit of jealousy turned the nymph into the plant mint. Greeks also used mint to prevent milk spoilage. It has long been used as a way to mask distasteful flavors and to enhance flavors when cooking.

Some things to keep in mind with mint is some do not recommend it in large doses for pregnant or breast feeding women. Most cautions are about peppermint oil, which is highly concentrated and can be lethal in too large of quantities. The leaf is a much safe form. It is recommended for morning sicknes as a tea. The best thing is to consult your doctor or wellness professionals to determine its safety for you. It is possible to develop symptoms of an allergic reaction as well.



  • Castleman, Michael. The New Healing Herbs. Revised and Updated. Bantam Books. 2002. p.465-471
  • Gladstar, Rosemary. Rosemary Gladstar’s Medicinal Herbs A Beginner’s Guide. Storey Publishing. 2012. p.184-187
  • Peppermint. University of Maryland Medical Center. Retrieved on June 6, 2016. Retrieved from            http://www.umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/peppermint
  • Peppermint. Mountain Rose Herbs. Retrieved on June 6, 2016. Retrieved from  https://www.mountainroseherbs.com/products/peppermint-leaf/profile
  • Peppermint Oil. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health https://nccih.nih.gov/health/peppermintoil


Behind the Scenes: Herbal Oils

Herbs are beautiful. I love blending them for my teas and tisanes. This winter I have been using them in oils. It is the easiest thing to make herbed oils. I wrote about how to make oils and what to use in a guest post recently. You can read it here.

My herbal oils are a way for me to play. Many of the herbs we enjoy in teas make great skin healing herbs as well. Lavender, chamomile, and calendula are the three I discuss in my guest post. I am also using Rose Buds and Lemon Balm.

It is so easy to get started! Purchase canning jars, the organic dried herbs of your choice, and oil. I use cold-pressed olive oil but many other oils are great to use too. How I prepare my oils: the dried herbs go into a canning jar with the oil and are sealed to sit on my sunny southern-facing windowsill to blend together. They set for anywhere from 4-8 weeks. This makes it easy as it takes five minutes to put it all together and then you do not have to do anything until it is time to strain the herbs from the oil.

I generally try to start my oils on either a new moon or a full moon. New moons are great times for going inward and resting. Full moons are a time of activity and bringing things to fruition. I base what benefits I want and the herbs themselves to determine if I start on a new or a full moon. Lavender, Chamomile, and Rose are great relaxing and rejuvenating herbs and I generally start my oils on the new moon when I use them.

Once I have my oils ready, I will use them as they are or turn them into lotions and salves. Oils make a great touch for after a hot shower or bath. You will want to use a small amount and really work it into your skin so you do not stain your clothes or slip as you walk.

Making lotions and salves are easy too and require a little extra time. The one I have pictured is calendula and lavender infused olive oils with shea butter and beeswax. It’s a gentle lotion I use on both my face and body to combat the winter dryness.

What are your favorite herbal oils to make? What do you enjoy about using herbal oils?