peppermint site


(Mentha Piperita)

Originally used by the ancient Greeks, mint was brought to Britain in Roman times, when it was used for a variety of purposes including keeping rodents away from cheeses. It is now grown throughout the world, preferring temperature zones.

Mint contains a volatile oil, the most important constituent of which is menthol. Menthol is a monocyclic monohydric alcohol occurring as solid crystals in its isolated form. It is a powerful antiseptic and anti-parasitic and can be used to treat ringworm and other fungal infections of the skin. It also has a slight local anaesthetic action.

Whole mint appears to be more beneficial than menthol alone, when it is ingested, suggesting that the other constituents also have a role to play. These include pulegone, menthalone piperitone, cineole, menthodone and limonene as well as tannins and flavonoids. Mint has an anti-spasmodic effect on the gut and a settling effect on gastric mucosa, especially in the colon. This has a carminative effect and can relieve biliary colic.

Mint is also a cholagouge, promoting the flow of bile into the intestine, with the effect of cleansing the liver and treating infections or inflammation of the gall bladder. Its overall relaxant effect can also help with nervous tension.

Summary of Actions

Increases bile production
Powerful antiseptic and antifungal agent