As we are experiencing in the Pacific Northwest, cold wet weather has finally begun to arrive. Fresh, brisk air greets us in the morning, the leaves are turning rich gold and red. However, something else has come to greet many of us at this rainy and cold time of the season, the pesky common cold.
Enter our herbal friend, peppermint. Peppermint, is a cross between Spearmint and Watermint. You might recognize the oval, toothed leaves similar to Lemon Balm. Small, violet flowers sprinkle the plant from July to September. Leaves and flowers give off a very aromatic fragrance.
Peppermint is used for the common cold, cough, inflammation of the mouth and throat, sinus infections, and respiratory infections. It is also used for digestive problems including heartburn, nausea, vomiting, morning sickness, and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Peppermint oil has been used for hives, poison ivy, and poison oak. Oil applications can also be used form muscle pain relief, toothache, and even repelling mosquitoes. If you are pregnant, peppermint tea might be a good option for calming morning sickness. Some women also choose to use peppermint for menstrual cramps.
Peppermint is not restricted to medicinal use, in foods and beverages, peppermint is a common flavoring agent. At the end of a delicious meal at your favorite restaurant, a check and peppermints find you at your table. Peppermint oil is also used in fragrances and soaps. Enjoy the refreshing aroma of peppermint, just as you enjoy the changes this season brings.