Peppermint tea is a naturally sweet drink that is made from peppermint, an aromatic herb in the mint family that is a hybrid mix of watermint and spearmint. It is a plant that is native to Asia and Europe. Free of caffeine and calories, it has been used as an ingredient in mint candies, breath mints and other food products such as vegetable salads, pestos, sauces, marinades and salsas.
Peppermint Tea Health Benefits
Peppermint tea health benefits are aplenty, as this mint tea has also been used for thousands of years for different health benefits in Chinese TCM, and in recent years, Western research has also shown the many potential health benefits of peppermint tea when used for medicinal purposes.
Allergic Reactions, Colds, Flus, Headaches and Fevers
In particular, in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), peppermint, or its blends, is recognised for its ability to expel wind and heat from the body and help blood circulation. Hence, it is good for flu and cold symptoms, headaches and migraines, chills, fever and digestive issues.
In Western research, peppermint contains rosmarinic acid, which is found in rosemary and some plants in the mint family. Rosmarinic has been found to reduce the symptoms of allergic reactions such as colds, itchy eyes, runny nose, sneezing and asthma. But till now, concrete evidence on the effectiveness of peppermint tea is still limited.
Sinuses and Respiratory Problems
In TCM, sinusitis is said to be caused by a wind pathogen that has entered the head. Herbal medications that are effective for its treatment include peppermint, or peppermint tea, among other herbs like angelica root and magnolia flower.
Scientific evidence in clinical trials found that vapours from peppermint oil have antibacterial properties and may help alleviate some types of upper respiratory infections. Some people also find that vapours from fresh peppermint tea, which contains menthol, is useful to sooth respiratory problems including sinuses. It loosens the airflow in your nasal cavity, helping you to breathe easier.
Stress and Anxiety
In Chinese traditional medicine, peppermint is treated as ‘yin‘, which is the cold, damp and passive nature of ‘Qi’ energy. (‘Yang’ refers to the restorative energy that allows the body and mind to slow down and relax.) Hence, in TCM, peppermint tea is supposed to be cooling and with its refreshing taste, it will calm the body and soul.
In Western research, peppermint tea, or peppermint is also considered to be good for anxiety and stress. Research have shown that it reduces fatigue, frustration and enhance your sleep.
Fresh peppermint tea may relieve digestive symptoms and problems, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), gastroesophageal reflux disease, bloating and gas in the stomach and indigestion. In TCM, chronic bloating in the stomach is caused by an imbalance of ‘Qi’ in the stomach, spleen and liver, leading to a deficiency in the body. In this case, peppermint tea can be consumed as it has a cooling effect on the body and helps to disperse ‘Qi’ stagnation.
In clinical studies, this tea with a pleasant smell has been proven to be effective for abdominal pain and functional dyspepsia, a kind of chronic indigestion, which is an upset stomach with a feeling of fullness or bloating during and after food.
Other additional peppermint tea health benefits includes removal of bad breath symptoms and allergic symptoms, boosting your energy levels, and as a common pain reliever for menstrual pain.
How Should You Consume Peppermint Tea?
Peppermint tea is most commonly available as loose-leaf tea or peppermint tea bags, although it is possible to grow your own in the garden. There are also some peppermint extracts that you can purchase online. Here is a simple recipe for you to make this tea on your own.
(1) Add one tea bag, and/or a handful of the fresh leaves of peppermint to a cup or mug.
(2) Add boiling or hot water to the cup or mug.
(3) Add in a small spoonful of honey, or according to your taste.
(4) You can also squeeze in a pinch of lemon if you do not like its minty taste.
(5) Cover the cup or mug, with steep time between 5 – 9 minutes.
(6) Enjoy this cup of peppermint tea after your meal or before bed time.
How Much Peppermint Tea Should You Drink?
It is safe to drink a cup of peppermint tea every day, and during any time of day, especially from fresh peppermint leaves. However, there is not a fixed amount of peppermint tea you should drink daily, but in general, we recommend drinking 1 to 2 cups for general wellbeing, especially during the mid-day break. Besides the dosage, you should note that the efficacy of peppermint tea also depend on the individual and his or her medical conditions too.
If you do not want to drink tea, there are also peppermint oil capsules in bottles that you can buy and consume easily.
Are There Any Side Effects?
Although it is generally safe to consume frequently, some people may still experience some adverse reactions. Side effects of peppermint tea include heartburn, acid reflux, diarrhoea or some forms of stomach issues. In these cases, you can try to drink it after meals.
Peppermint tea may also interact with medications such as cyclosporine, a drug prescribed for organ transplant patients. The tea has also been shown to lower blood sugar and blood pressure too, so if you have diabetes or blood pressure issues, you should not take peppermint tea.
In general, if you have a health condition, it is good practice to speak to your doctor about a change in diet or the consumption of peppermint tea before you start, especially if you are pregnant or taking other medications too.