Medicinal Monday: Peppermint
Peppermint or Mentha peperita has a long history of use for stomach aches and digestion aid. For years it's been often used after meals in many cultures for such purposes.
The leaves contain menthol-rich volatile oils, tannins, and bitters--all of which help to counteract nausea, promote digestions, and ease the stomach. In an Italian research study conducted in 2007, 75% of patients with IBS had reduced symptoms while using peppermint oil.
As a mild anodyne, peppermint can anesthetize nerve endings and give a sensation of coolness. It's also said to boost mental alertness--possibly due to the refreshing scent and taste of the herb. To boost energy or improve your focus, try a peppermint bath or shower, or spray a peppermint room spray in the air around you.
Some herbalists even recommend peppermint to ease childbirth. Not to mention it also has antispasmodic and antimicrobial properties.
Peppermint is most often taken as a tea or tincture, but can be used in a variety of unique dishes like mint jelly or candies. When using fresh peppermint though, be sure to crush the leaves first.
As an oil, it can be applied to the skin to heal aches, pains, and bruises--just make sure the oil isn't too strong as it can have a burning sensation if used carelessly.
In magical lore, peppermint is a visionary herb that, when consumed before sleep, can affect your dreams. It's also said that when placed beneath your pillow it can help you have prophetic dreams.
It's used in magic for purification, sleep, love, healing, and unlocking your psychic powers.
Fresh leaves rubbed on the forehead are said to relieve headaches, and on your altar they call good spirits to aid your magic.
To purify a space, rub it on furniture, the walls, and the floorboards.
It can also be used in spells of prosperity--the easiest is putting peppermint leaves in your wallet or purse.