To me peppermint candy canes are the utimate symbol of winter holidays. And it turns out that peppermint is an entire medica chest in a single package. Peppermint for health and beauty is made from the leaves of the peppermint plant that grows widely in Europe and North America. The oil is extracted from the leaves and is helpful in four main areas:
For Your Tummy:
Peppermint oil is an antispasmodic that relaxes muscles in the colon to relieve cramps. Canadian styudies have shown that this tea can very helpful for IBS ( irritable bowel syndrome)
For Colds and Allergies
The menthol found in peppermint is a standard and effective treatment for congestion due to either respiratory infections or allergies. Menthol actually increases production of watery mucus that washes out clogged airways. In addition, menthol has been shown to shrinks swollen tissue in the repiratory system, promting easier breathing. Inhaling menthol fumes loosens mucus in the lungs and helps clam coughing.
For Pain Relieving Pain
The warming sensation of menthol on the skin can relieve a wide range of body aches. Menthol rubs are a time honored remedy for sore muscles and aching joints. The generated warmth blocks sensation from pain nerves. Pure peppermint oil dabbed on the temples can also interrupt a hedache.
As a Beauty Aid
Peppermint has been shown to be anti-bacterial and is an excellent ingredient in toothpste and mouth wash. In a skin freshener, it provides a refreshing cool sensation and may temporarily shrink pores. In a face mask, it stimulates circulation giving the skin a healthy rosy glow
A Note of Caution
As an ingredient that is so effective, peppermint can pose a problem for some people. If you have GERD or heartburn, it can make you feel worse. If you have rosacea or very sensitive skin, peppermint is something you probably want to avoid.
DIY Peppermint Treatments
Peppermint enriched products ( eg body rubs, teas, and toothpaste) are widely available and affordable. But if you are a diehard DIY enthusiast, you can make an entire medicine chest of products. You can buy fresh or dried mint or even grow your own. A cup of mint tea can be the foundation of remedies for your stomach, skin and lungs. I like to break off a pice of a candy cane and melt it into a cup of hot tea. Its my favorite holiday tradition that can be shared by the entire family.