- Food and Cooking
Peppermint Tea: Health Benefits and Preparation Tips
Is Peppermint Tea Good for You?
The next time you feel the symptoms of a cold or flu coming on, harness the health benefits of drinking peppermint tea to clear your sinuses and relieve a scratchy, irritated throat. Teas brewed from peppermint (Mentha piperita) leaves contain menthol, which is the active ingredient in peppermint.
Studies have shown menthol oil to be both an effective expectorant and decongestant. Expectorants thin and loosen phlegm (mucus).
Decongestants relieve nasal congestion because they reduce the swelling of the membranes in the nose. Peppermint tea is an effective natural remedy for any type of illness that involves the respiratory system.
China is believed to be the birthplace of tea
Peppermint Tea Health Benefits
According to the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC), in addition to relieving stuffy nose, allergy or sinus symptoms, peppermint is an effective digestive aid, natural sedative and analgesic.
It may also help relieve symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome but more research needs to be done to substantiate or disprove this benefit.
Using peppermint tea to tame an upset stomach can be traced through anecdotal reports to ancient Rome and Greece. These ancient people would chew on the mint leaves to relieve their indigestion.
Don't like tea? No need to fret because you can still take advantage of the health benefits of peppermint without drinking peppermint tea.
Peppermint is an herb so you can use the peppermint tea leaves as you would any other herb for seasoning baked goods or preparing jams and jellies or even puddings. Here's some suggestions to get you started:
- Prepare nonfat dry milk powder as directed on the package.
- Heat two cups of the milk until hot but not boiling, and add three bags of peppermint tea.
- Let stand about five minutes and then remove the tea bags.
- Use the peppermint/milk mixture to infuse beverages like hot cocoa or desserts such as puddings or cakes a minty zing.
Use the tea from the tea bags you used to make your flavored milk to make chocolate mint pudding. Make the pudding as directed on the package and add the tea from the tea bags. The chocolate hides the tea leaves, and it won't hurt you to eat them (they are herbs, after all!)
This method allows you to reap all the health benefits of the tea whether you drink it or ingest it.
About Peppermint Teas
You can purchase commercially prepared peppermint tea or make your own. Properly speaking, however, herbal teas such as these are actually tisanes rather than true teas because they are not made from Camellia sinensis (tea plant).
A peppermint tisane is made from the plant’s leaves so your drink is naturally caffeine free and would be categorized as a leaf tisane.
An easy way to visualize the meaning of a tisane is to think of it as an infusion – the leaves are infused (steeped, not boiled) in water to become a beverage. Examples of other herbal tisanes are jasmine tea, chamomile tea, Echinacea tea, and so forth.
If you decide to grow your own peppermint for your tisanes, remember that while mint is easy to grow, it is an invasive plant so plant it in a confined area (think container or garden pot). Harvest the leaves and dry them in the sun or microwave.
Peppermint Tea: How to Make It Tasty
- Preheat your teapot with hot water before adding the tea leaves and hot water. Pour off this liquid.
- Bring six ounces of cold water almost to boiling over medium high heat.
- Add about one teaspoon of dried mint leaves using a tea ball or infuser to hold the leaves.
- You will need a tea strainer if you do not have a tea ball or infuser so you can remove the leaves after brewing your tea.
- Remove from heat, let the tisane steep for five minutes, and then sample it.
- If the taste is not to your liking, steep for about five more minutes.
- Strain and drink either hot or iced; add a natural sweetener such as organic raw honey if you prefer a sweeter tea.
- Tip: Peppermint tea is good with milk!
Note: avoid using aluminum teapots or pans to make your tisane as the peppermint could react with the aluminum with potential toxic results.
Precautions for Using Peppermint or Herbal Teas
According to UMMC, individuals with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or gallstones should not consume peppermint tea. If you are pregnant or think you may be pregnant, it is always wise to get the approval of your health care professional before using any medications.
The rewards of peppermint tea benefits are not worth the risk of an adverse reaction so it is a good idea to check with your personal healthcare provider first to reduce the risk of any problems.
Other Beneficial Herbal Teas
If you are just getting started with using herbal teas as natural remedies, you may want to investigate the health benefits of banaba tea. In addition to being useful for weight loss and helping regulate blood sugars, it is a tasty beverage for any occasion.
This information is meant for educational purposes only and is not intended to recommend or advise on health related issues. Individuals are encouraged to seek qualified medical advice before using any herbal remedies.
Undisclosed author, “Peppermint,” University of Maryland Medical Center
Weintraub, Judith, “Coffee Versus Tea: An Oolong, Please, and There’s No Rush,” Washington Post,