Peppermint plants, which reach a height of 2 feet or more, have stems with a purplish cast; long, serrated leaves; and a familiar minty aroma. This pleasant-tasting herb has been used as a remedy for indigestion since the era of ancient Egypt. Menthol, the principal active ingredient of peppermint, stimulates the stomach lining, thereby reducing the amount of time food spends in the stomach. It also relaxes the muscles of the digestive system. Peppermint can be grown easily from root cuttings; but if it is not confined, it tends to spread rapidly.
Over the counter:
Peppermint is available as commercial tea, tinctures and fresh or dried leaves and flowers.
Tea: Commercial brands consumed, or 1 to 2 heaping tsp. dried herb per cup of boiling water steeped for 10 minutes.
Bath: A cloth bag filled with several handfuls of dried or fresh herb and hot water run over it.
Combinations: For colds and flu, peppermint may be used as a tea or tincture with boneset, elder flower and yarrow.