Peppermint—oh, so cool

Published 10:24 am Wednesday, July 19, 2017

He causeth the grass to grow for the cattle, and herbs for the service of man: that he may bring forth food out of the earth…Psalm 104:14

Greetings once again. In this article I’d like to tell my readers about the flavorful herb peppermint, since it has been so hot and all of us need a great way to quench thirst.

The mints are amongst the oldest and most reliable of herbal remedies, especially for issues relating to digestion. The essential oil, distilled from the fresh cut plant, has enjoyed a wide range of medicinal and culinary uses since the 18th century. A common flavoring found in tea, toothpaste, and other food items, peppermint is actually a crossbreed of water mint and spearmint. It is able to be cultivated most places, and is valued for its use as a digestive aid.

Peppermint generally thrives in moist, shaded locations, and expands quickly by underground stolons. It is often grown in containers to restrict rapid spreading. It grows best with a good supply of water and is often planted in areas with part sun to shade. The leaves and flowering tops are used; they are collected as soon as the flowers begin to open and then are carefully dried. The wild form of the plant is less suitable for this purpose, with cultivated plants having been selected for more and better oil content. Seeds sold at stores labeled peppermint generally will not germinate into true peppermint, but often produce a less intensely scented spearmint-like plant. The true peppermint rarely produces seeds and only by fertilization from a spearmint plant, which contributes only their own spearmint genes that dilutes down the scent and flavor.

Special considerations: excerpts from The How to Herb Book — Peppermint is a delicious mild tea. It is wonderful to use as a beverage — hot in the winter and cold in the summer. Dieters, it contains no calories. It is one of the oldest and most popular remedies for simple colic and minor bloat in children and adults; good for all digestive problems, it helps stomach pain caused by indigestion and is soothing to the stomach. Peppermint expels stomach and colon gas; is excellent for fevers, flu, diarrhea, ulcers and colitis; strengthens nerves and heart muscles; promotes relaxation.

Drinking a cup of peppermint tea before taking other herbs opens the circulation. It also helps make the disagreeable taste of many herbal formulas a little more palatable. It can be used to benefit anyone: men, women (including before, during or after pregnancy and nursing), children and animals. It can be used as often as you would like, and in any way you choose. As is the case with most herbs, peppermint should be stored in a dark, dry and cool place.

So, brew a cup of peppermint tea, pull up a chair in the shady outdoors and enjoy another God-given plant for mankind. Until next time.

Alice Russell, also known as “Me Me,” resides in the Randolph/Saxe area. She can be reached at

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