Peppermint is sometimes regarded as 'the world's oldest medicine', with
archaeological evidence placing its use at least as far back as ten
thousand years ago. Peppermint oil contains menthone and menthyl esters. It is the oldest and
most popular flavour of mint-flavored treats. Peppermint is also
used in some shampoos and soaps, which give the hair a minty scent and
produce a cooling sensation on the skin.
Like many spices and herbs, peppermint is believed to have medicinal
properties when consumed. It is said that it helps against upset stomachs
and can help soothe and relax muscles when inhaled or applied to the skin.
Peppermint oil is also used by commercial pesticide applicators, in the
EcoSmart Technologies line of products, as a natural insecticide.
In 2007, Italian investigators reported that 75% of the patients in their
study who took peppermint oil capsules for four weeks had a major
reduction in irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) symptoms, compared with just
38% of those who took a placebo pill.
Peppermint generally thrives in shade and expands quickly by underground
rhizomes. If you choose to grow peppermint, it is advisable to plant it in
a container, otherwise it can rapidly take over a whole garden. It needs a
good water supply, and is ideal for planting in part-sun to shade areas.
The leaves and flowering tops are the usable portion of the plant. 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 labelled peppermint generally will not germinate into
true peppermint, but into a particularly poor-scented spearmint plant. The
true peppermint might rarely produce seeds, but only by fertilisation from
a spearmint plant, and contribute only their own spearmint genes.
Peppermint Bar Soap
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