Peppermint tea is prepared from dried leaves of the plant and is widely available commercially.The leaves and stems, which contain menthol (a volatile oil), are used medicinally, as a flavoring in food, and in cosmetics (for fragrance).
Medicinal Claims / Health Benefits
Peppermint tea benefits are many. Peppermint (Mentha piperita), is used to soothe an upset stomach or to aid digestion. It has a calming and numbing effect, and is often used to treat headaches, skin irritation, nausea, diarrhea, menstrual cramps, flatulence, and anxiety associated with depression. It is also an ingredient in chest rubs used to treat symptoms of the common cold. In test tubes, peppermint kills some types of bacteria, fungi, and viruses, suggesting it may have antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties. Menthol and methyl salicylate, the main ingredients in peppermint, have antispasmodic effects, with calming effects on the gastrointestinal tract. Several studies support the use of peppermint for indigestion and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Possible Side Effects / Allergies etc.
Do not take peppermint or drink peppermint tea if you have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD -- a condition where stomach acids back up into the esophagus), or hiatal hernia.
The amount of peppermint normally found in food is likely to be safe during pregnancy, but not enough is known about the effects of larger supplemental amounts. Some experts even recommend modest amounts of peppermint tea to help alleviate nausea during pregnancy. Speak with your health care provider before using peppermint or any other herbal products during pregnancy.
Yamamoto N, Nakai Y, Sasahira N, Hirano K, Tsujino T, Isayama H, et al. Efficacy of peppermint oil as an antispasmodic during endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography. J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2006;21:1394-8.